Drinking Alcohol While Doing Intermittent Fasting...Yes Or No?

If it seems like everyone and their mother is doing intermittent fasting (IF) , you're not wrong. It was the most-searched diet term of 2019, according to a trend report from Google . But before you start your own fasting plan, there's a few things for you to consider. For anyone who loves a good glass of wine or a beer, that includes the question: Can you drink alcohol while doing intermittent fasting?

Can You Drink Alcohol While Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting can be super restrictive and centers around eating and fasting periods where you can only eat during specific windows of time. Depending on the kind of plan you pick (think: 16:8 versus the 5:2 diet ), you might have to go hours without food all morning or start pushing lunch back to 4 p.m.

Not to mention, the whole fasting aspect brings up a lot of questions about what you can eat and when. Luckily, must-haves like water (and coffee !), for example, are fine to drink. But alcohol is a whole other animal when it comes to weight loss.

First, drinking on a fasting stomacha.k.a. an empty oneis *never* a good idea. And sipping your go-to cocktails too often can impede weight loss in general, disrupt your sleep cycle, and make it more difficult to stick to your overall fasting plan.

That all being said, though, there *are* RD-approved ways to fit in booze if you do IF. Here's everything you need to know about drinking alcohol while doing intermittent fasting.

The simple answer is yes. "You can drink if you want to drink," says Vanessa Rissetto, RD and co-founder of Culina Health. Let's say you're on the 16:8 diet and have fasted from 8 p.m. to noon the next day and want to have a glass of wine with dinnerdrinking during your eating window won't negatively impact your fasting state or anything, as long as you're drinking in moderation.

But drinking in general when youre trying to lose weight can sometimes hinder weight loss. And drinking while intermittent fasting can also present it's own set of challenges when it comes to losing weight, considering you have to factor in when you're eating and when you're not.

During your eating window, of course. Drinking alcohol during your fasting window A) would be unhealthy and unsafe with no food in your system and B) would break your fasting state. Make sure to drink during you're eating window, and stay hydrated.

In terms of when you should eat food and when you should imbibe? "You should eat first and then wait an hour or so for your body to digest the food, and then start drinking alcohol," Rissetto recommends. This way, what you eat doesn't get stored as fat when the body has to break down the alcohol to be filtered away from the bloodstream.

Another pro tip: Rissetto recommends drinking with at least three or fours hours before bed. Why? Because when you drink, your body doesn't go into REM, a deep stage of sleep, Rissetto says. Without it, you won't get the restful and restorative sleep you need. And again, your body won't be able to do its jobs properly. By allowing yourself time between drinking and sleeping hours, your body will have more time to metabolize the alcohol, and you'll still get in your beauty rest (and weight loss!).

The issue is mainly about metabolism. When you drink alcohol, your body sees it as a toxin and needs to break down the alcohol so that it can be filtered out of the bloodstream and your bod, Rissetto explains. But in doing so, what you eat gets stored as fat. "The body has to sacrifice all metabolic process in order to metabolize alcohol," Rissetto says.

Drinking during your eating window won\'t negatively impact your fasting state, as long as you\'re drinking in moderation.

Plus, you can't forget about the extra calories that alcohol brings to the table. The average beer is 153 calories, white wine has 125 calories, and a margarita has 168 calories, according to the National Institutes of Health . A great way to cut down on drinking cals: Choose your drinks wisely. Drinking spirits paired with zero- to no-calorie mixers is better than drinking wine, sugary mixed drinks, or beer.

But that's why many people choose to opt out of drinking altogether while intermittent fasting for weight-loss reasons (or following any diet plan)it can be hard to stick to your daily calorie intake and your healthy eating plan. Ultimately, moderation is key.

You can get away with two drinks or three week and still lose weight, according to Rissetto. But you'll want to avoid any more drinks than that, she says.

Why? Because the more people drink, the looser they tend to get with their fasting and weight-loss goals. "When you're drinking, you're eating whatever, things don't count, and it's harder to stick to [dietary] restrictions," Rissetto says.

The bottom line : It's generally okay to drink alcohol (in moderation) during eating hours if you do intermittent fasting. But know that drinking alcohol in general may make it harder to lose weight.

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