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Can You Still Drink Alcohol While Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting has become one of the most popular diet choices in recent years. The simplicity of watching the clock rather than counting calories or other nutritional data makes it ideal for people who like to keep things uncomplicated. But is this plan ideal for someone who likes to enjoy an after work cocktail or a wine with dinner?

Before we dive in, let’s start with a quick recap of what IF is all about. There are several different versions of the diet, but they all depend on periods of fasting after a period of eating. For example, most people go with an eight hour window where they can eat, followed 16 hours of fasting, whether once a week or every day. 

Now back to the booze: The first thing to consider is whether you have a drink or two during your eating or fasting window. Even though it’s not technically food, drinking alcohol will break your fast if you do so outside of your eating time slots — even if it’s a low-calorie option. 

But what about drinking alcohol when you’re not in the fasting window? Like most things in life, moderation is key. If you need help reminding yourself to not overindulge during your non-fasting period, you might want to think about how alcohol might affect your diet results — and we aren’t just talking about the calories. A study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that alcohol with a meal could lead to “greatly suppressed fat oxidation.” In other words, the alcohol hindered the participants’ ability to burn fat, which is exactly what you’re trying to kick start with intermittent fasting. 

Don’t worry we aren’t trying to tell you to go full teetotaler while on an intermittent fasting diet. In fact, there can be benefits to sipping a glass of wine at the end of the day. Red wine in particular has a reputation for its potential heart-healthy benefits. More of a white wine fan? A study from Harvard showed women who have one glass of wine a day, red or white, were more likely to have less body fat over all — especially belly fat. 

Bottom line: Drinking while intermittent fasting is fine in moderation as long as you do so during your non-fasting period. Cheers!

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