What Happens To Your Body When You Break A Fast

Fasting is the practice of omitting food and sometimes liquids from your diet for a period of time. Some people fast for religious reasons and others for the potential health benefits. Technically, everyone fasts while they sleep, hence the name for the meal we use to break that fast: breakfast. Regardless of when or how you fast, research has shown that there are many potential health benefits of this practice.

According to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, fasting gives the body a break from digesting food and allows it to focus on removing toxins from cells. Fasting can also help control blood sugar, fight inflammation, improve blood pressure, and improve heart health (via Healthline). While there are many benefits to fasting, it is important to understand how to break a fast properly. Your body goes through several different stages while fasting. According to Healthline, your body enters an early fasting state about four hours after you stop eating. This state lasts until about 18 hours into a fast. During this time, your blood sugar levels drop. You may feel weak and tired from the low blood sugar and limited energy sources.

What you eat to break a fast matters

Most people are hungry when they choose to break a fast. Intense hunger can make it tempting to grab the closest thing in the pantry and wolf it down, but it is important to pick the right foods to break your fast. According to Women's Health, you should avoid eating a meal that is high in carbs and sugar. This can cause your low blood sugar to spike drastically, resulting in an upset stomach and inconsistent energy levels. "If you drop a big load of carbohydrates into your bloodstream on an empty stomach, you're going to feel uncomfortable," said Jessica Cording, MS, RD. "It could set you up for glycemic instability throughout the day, causing problems with energy levels and appetite control. It could work against you."

The ideal meal to eat after when you break a fast will be a small portion of something that contains healthy fats and protein. Eggs are a good option, as well as beans, legumes, berries, and avocado. These foods take longer to digest and won't spike your blood sugar. After breaking your fast with a small meal, try to give yourself a few hours of not eating before you snack on something again.