Break The Silence: The Movie » Does Bone Broth Break a Fast? Everything You Need to Know

Does Bone Broth Break a Fast? Everything You Need to Know

When you’re fasting, dieting, or detoxing, liquid calories can sneak up on you. Soups, juices, and teas go down so quickly that they don’t feel like food, so they seem safe to consume. But does bone broth break a fast? Yes, it does! It’s full of nutrients, fats, and proteins, so it will activate your digestive system and interrupt the fasting process. Let’s take a closer look.

Does Bone Broth Break a Fast?

What is Bone Broth?

Bone broth is a type of light-colored soup. You make it by boiling the bones, joints, chunks, or leftover bits of a cow, goat, chicken, or any type of meat. It’s typically boiled overnight, and the longer it cooks, the stronger the flavor and the better the taste. You sometimes see bone broth referred to as stock, and it can be seasoned with salt, herbs, and various spices.

Some people drink bone broth on its own, but most people use it to thicken sauces, stews, or gravies. It’s also a popular weaning tool in many indigenous communities, and the elderly drink it a lot as well. It can be quite filling, and it sometimes has medicinal properties. The fatty chicken soup that’s often recommended for colds and flu is a common bone broth.

Bone broth doesn’t have a lot of calories. It mostly draws marrow and fats from the bones, and it has a little glycine, which helps you relax and sleep better. But as long as you don’t add starchy vegetables to the stock, the calorie count stays low. It does have certain minerals like calcium, potassium, and iron. One cup of beef broth has about 30 calories, with 5g of protein.

The cup may also contain about half a gram of sugar, 3g of fat, and 1.7g of carbs. The proteins and carbs can trigger the release of insulin, which essentially breaks your fast. So while the fat content is good for maintaining ketosis, the other food groups could disrupt the process, and in that sense, drinking bone broth will break your fast. Let’s discuss why this matters.

Intermittent Fasting and Diabetes

In the past, fasting was mainly a religious thing. Muslims fast during Ramadan, Catholics fast during Lent, Buddhists fast for meditation, and Protestants fast whenever the spirit moves them. These faith fasts have different rules. When Muslims fast, nothing is allowed to pass their lips during daylight hours, so no water, no gum, and definitely no bone broth.

Christian fasts tend to be less strict, so you might drink water, juice, or even bone broth. And when monks fast, they often stop speaking as well, so they won’t even open their mouths let alone drink any soup. But these days, fasting is more of a health practice. Some diabetics fast to manage their blood sugar, and it’s a lifesaving practice that’s just part of their daily life now.

Then there’s the intermittent fasting group that’s focused on fat burning, autophagy, and weight loss. In both cases (diabetics and fat burners), the goal is to keep the blood sugar low. In diabetics, this helps with insulin sensitivity. In weight watchers, this trains their bodies to draw energy from protein and/or fat stores instead of rushing to use any available glucose.

The body prefers glucose because it’s easier to digest and use, but any excess glucose gets stored first as glycogen and later as fat. So when you want to look slim and trim, your target is to make your body burn protein and fat by consuming less glucose, or none at all. It’s why these eating patterns (e.g keto, paleo) are high in fats or proteins and low in carbohydrates.

Intermittent Fasting is more effective for insulin-resistant diabetes (type 2) than the insulin-dependent kind (type 1). It works best when combined with a low-carb, high-protein, or high-fat diet like keto or paleo. This is because fats and proteins are digested slower than carbs, so it’s easier to manage blood sugar levels if you’re keeping your carb count down.

Insulin, Glucagon, and Ketosis

does bone broth break a fast

Intermittent fasting means you stay without food for a prolonged period (e.g. 16 hours) then arrange your meals within your ‘fed’ period, typically from noon to 8 pm, or 11 am to 7 pm. The idea is to have your last meal for the day at 7 or 8 pm then not eat again until 11 am or noon the following day. You can then spread your meals for the day between noon and 8 pm.

During your ‘fed’ period, your body will digest the carbs you eat, breaking them down into glucose. If your body can’t find carbs (e.g. if you’re on a no-carb diet), your body will burn protein. And if it can’t find that either, it will go into your fat stores and break that down into ketones. The goal of most diets is to trigger ketosis (fat-store-burning) so you look slimmer.

Now let’s talk hormones. When you eat carbs, your pancreas releases insulin to help your cells absorb the glucose molecules. If those carbs are unavailable, your pancreas releases glucagon. This breaks down the short-term glycogen stores in your liver and muscles into glucose. This happens while you’re asleep and during the early stages of any fasting period.

Once the glycogen is digested, insulin takes over to help the glucose get absorbed. Proteins are broken down to glucose too, but the process is slower. That means you’ll stay fuller for longer, the protein glucose will be absorbed gradually, and there’ll be less excess glucose to convert into glycogen or fats. It’s why protein diets are so popular. But fat digestion differs.

Dietary Fats vs Stored Fats

The effect of bone broth and other dietary fats (i.e. fats that you’ve just eaten as opposed to accumulated body fat) depends on your metabolism and other factors. But the goal of any fat-focused diet is to ensure consistent ketosis. Ketosis is the process where fats are broken down into ketones for energy. In comparison, carbs and proteins are digested into glucose.

It takes 3 or 4 days without carbs before ketosis begins. You can easily test your ketones and blood sugar using a glucose meter or ketone meter. Some devices can test both. If you eat any carbs, ketosis stops and glucose absorption resumes. So in that sense, bone broth will have triggered insulin release, essentially breaking your fast. But there’s one scenario you can try.

While bone broth does have protein and carbs, it has a decent fat palate, so it’s a good source of dietary fat, and that can be a useful dieting tip when your goal is ketosis. See, if your body can get glucose, it will use it. But if you force your body to use fats instead, you’ll be slimmer and healthier. When you eat fats, your digestive system will break them down into ketones.

But if you eat less fat and no sugar or carbs, your body digs into the fat stored under your skin and burns that for energy instead. If you’re working out as well, the muscle tone under your fat stores will be revealed, giving you that much-sought shredded look. Drink bone broth during your feeding hours to build up a habit and develop your body’s appetite for fat.

Bone Broth for Liquid Fasts

When you’re doing a liquid fast, you’re allowed fluids, as long as they don’t have any solid chunks of food. These can include water, juice, soup, or dairy, through smoothies are a stretch. For this type of diet, bone broth is acceptable. Its limited calorie count will trigger insulin, but since your total calorie count for the day is low, bone broth can prompt ketosis.

But bone broth can interfere with autophagy. It has a decent protein count, and by ingesting protein, you’ll distract your body from repairing the damaged ones that are already in your body. Instead, it’ll be easier to digest and absorb the newer, healthier proteins in your broth. In essence, this means bone broth can disrupt autophagy and ketosis. That’s breaking a fast.

On the other hand, if you’re on a liquid diet with bone broth, celery juice, leek water, etc., then the combined low-calorie count will encourage ketosis because your body isn’t getting sufficient calories and is forced to reach for fat stores. Also, because the broth has its own intrinsic protein, it won’t cause as much muscle wastage as a juice fast or water fast would.

Before you venture into bone broth, try some out first. It has a greasy mouthfeel that doesn’t appeal to everyone. Others describe it as bland because it’s seasoned with limited salt and pepper, though you can add garlic, ginger, chili, and spices to improve its palate. Some add potatoes and carrots to broth, but that’s just adding carbs and turning your broth into a stew.

Overall, bone broth is a useful weapon whether you’re controlling your blood sugar or trying to slim down. But yes, bone broth breaks your fast, so you’re better off consuming it during your feeding hours rather than your fasting hours. During the waking hours of your fast, stick with plain, unflavoured water, unsweetened lemon water, or diluted apple cider vinegar.

Burn Fat with Bone Broth

Does bone broth break a fast? Yes. It has minimal calories – typically 30 to 50 per cup. But it’s packed with proteins, fats, and even a few carbs, so it can prompt the release of insulin, and that will break your fast. However, if you’re only consuming bone broth, juices, water, and soup, then bone broth can be a useful aid for triggering ketosis and catalyzing fat burn.

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