Does Herbal Tea Break A Fast?

For the most part, herbal tea will not break your fast. This, however, depends heavily on how you plan on drinking the tea, as well as the actual type of tea you are drinking. Let’s investigate all that we know.

How Many Calories Do Herbal Teas Have?

Some of the most popular herbal teas out there are such as chamomile, echinacea, and peppermint all pass the litmus test for fasting since they contains virtually no calories (with some accounts putting chamomile at 2 cal) per cup.

Chamomile tea nutritional information

Other kinds such as ginger tea are not so forgiving. The average cup of ginger tea yields at least 5 calories, which, while insignificant, will still break a  fast. 

Other types such as echinacea and peppermint also fall very low in the calorie spectrum and can be consumed while fasting.

How Do You Drink Your Tea?

Of course, it should go without saying that the only way to drink herbal tea while fasting is to forgo any sweeteners, such as honey or sugar. All in all, this shouldn’t be too difficult since most people who fast do so for health reasons and are already used to avoiding sugary drinks.

The other way that herbal tea could potentially break your fast is if you add milk to it. Milk, even though it is a dairy product, actually contains quite a bit of fat, carbs, and protein (Calories: 161, Fat: 8.8 g, Carbs: 11.8 g, Protein: 8.8 g per 240ml). So if you’re going to drink herbal tea while fasting, make sure that it’s plain and without milk and sweeteners.

See Also: Does Almond Milk Break A Fast?

Do Herbal Teas Cause Insulin To Raise?

Some varieties of herbal teas may cause your insulin levels to rise, which in turn will break your fast. This is because some of these teas, such as ginger, contain a modest amount of carbohydrates which the body will break down and use for energy.

Carbohydrates lead to increased blood glucose levels, in turn triggering insulin release.

Other teas, such as chamomile, do not contain any carbohydrates at all and thus will not cause your insulin levels to rise, and therefore will keep your fast in tact.

Do Herbal Teas Affect Autophagy?

Virtually anything besides water that has any nutritional value will negatively affect autophagy. This goes for all the herbal teas, which may contain as little as a single calorie.

While some teas have more nutrients than others, they all have the potential to shut down autophagy.

So while herbal tea is technically allowed during fasting, it’s best to avoid it if possible depending on the reason for your fast as they will stop autophagy.

Can I Have Herbal Teas On Fasting Days?

You can absolutely have herbal tea on your fasting days as many tend to possess health benefits, but as we’ve seen, there are a few caveats.

Woman drinking herbal tea

First and foremost, avoid any that contain milk or sweeteners as these will break your fast. Second, be aware that some teas may have more calories than others, which could also break your fast. And finally, remember that anything besides water will reduce the benefits of autophagy.

Therefore, anytime outside your fasting window is a good time to have the tea. If you are desirous of having it during the actual fast, tea only, and sticking to the recommended types is a necessity.

Related: Does Sugar Free Creamer Break A Fast?

Final Words

Herbal tea can be a great way to stay hydrated during a fast, but it’s important to be mindful of the type of tea and how you’re drinking it. Otherwise, you run the risk of breaking your fast and negating all the benefits that come with it.

Chamomile, echinacea, and peppermint are all great choices that are virtually calorie-free. And as long as you avoid adding milk or sweeteners, you should be in the clear.

Finally, remember that herbal teas can still affect autophagy, so it’s best to consume them outside of your fasting window if possible.

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Mike Julom, ACE CPT

Mike is an ACE Certified PT and a CrossFit Level 1 Trainer. He is an avid lover of all sports. Basketball, tennis, athletics, volleyball, soccer, squash, golf, table tennis, even darts, you name it! He's a very active CrossFit athlete and has been WOD'ing for over 7 years. With such an intense fitness regime, Mike has learned to take care of his body physically, nutritionally, and spiritually. Mike founded ThisIsWhyImFit as a way to share his vast knowledge of exercises, diets, and general fitness advice.

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