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Does Matcha Break Intermittent Fasting? Does Matcha Ruin a Water Fast? Matcha Calories

Nicholas Noble | July 16, 2020

What is fasting? For a practice with ancient roots, it’s a bit surprising (and exciting!) to see a modern revitalization which takes this powerful health strategy seriously.

Yet, like all things health there are a number of “camps” as to what fasting means, how it should be done, and what will break your fast (and what won’t). 

There’s no short answer, and most adaptations of fasting have their own unique merits, benefits, and even drawbacks. 

Intermittent Fasting | Matcha Green Fasting Tea

And our cue, many people are asking – “does matcha break a fast?” – we’ll answer according to a more simplified definition of fasting.  

At this point in time it’s easy to be confused. A simple search of “fasting” offers a variety of methods; “water fast”, “fruit fast,” “coffee fast.” Sure – anything can be a ‘fast’ if you consider the word to mean abstinence of a given food, drink, or behavior.

Reasons to Fast | Types of Fast | Benefits of Fasting?

While ubiquitous there are few golden rules, and different takes on fasting today mirror that most every culture has a unique traditional approach to it. Not to overgeneralize, but a ‘traditional fast’ would be to skip any caloric intake for a set period.

Even this isn’t so simple anymore, here’s two reasons why: 

First, it’s reported that artificial sweeteners may counteract a caloric fast, even if calorie free. [1] For an ancient practice that’s certainly a new problem, and highlights that it might not be as simple as calories anymore. 

Second, the contemporary notion that anything ingested will dilute the natural detoxification process of fasting. Often this is described as “taking you out of ketosis,” a term describing the body’s switch to fat instead of sugar for fuel.

These two points largely encompass the reason why the phrase “Does ______ break a fast.” is trending. The reality is likely somewhere in the middle between the question and the claim: 

  • “Is it only calories that count?” and
  • “Don’t ingest anything during a fast!”

No longer to cave and eat, to “break a fast” is now a colloquial of uncertainty between two opposites. It might not be just the calories anymore, but that doesn’t make it correct to say there’s absolutely nothing you can ingest during a fast.

If you’re wondering what some calorie free options which also don’t trigger a glucose response are, here we’ll look no further than matcha green tea.

Pique your Brain with Fasting Teas | Matcha during a Fast

When enjoyed plain (without additives!), the matcha calories are virtually zero. That doesn’t take away from the fact that matcha is uniquely packed with health boosting compounds, antioxidants, flavonoids, and metabolism and brain optimizing amino acids.

Depending more on the entourage of natural compounds, one must consider the net outcomes on metabolic expenditure from rare plant allies like matcha, especially as research mounts that most other non-caloric food/drink might impact fasting homeostasis.

It’s rarely black and white, but matcha truly is the perfect example of a happy middle, and a means to a healthier, most optimized fast.

Matcha and Fasting | Is it ok to drink green tea during a fast?

Not to mention taking the edge off hunger and stress when going without food, matcha green tea has profound ketogenic upregulating qualities! This is one of the biggest reasons why matcha is becoming a popular fasting beverage.

There’s a wide scope of research on weight loss and ketogenesis from matcha green tea. Special antioxidants increase fat oxidation, and activate a whole group of fat-burning pathways in the body. 

These benefits are suitable for those simply looking to balance their metabolism, and even more ideal for those looking to optimize key fasting health metrics.

Also, you can enjoy matcha tea later into the day than other fasting drinks, commonly coffee, due to green tea’s naturally high levels of L-theanine.

It’s also worth noting that other fasting drinks may be higher in caffeine, say that espresso shot, but some research points to excessive fluctuation on insulin and glucose metabolism from those levels. [2] 

Fortunately, if you need that kick of caffeine during a fast, the synergy from L-theanine in matcha creates a time-release and more controlled energy boost, and is therefore less likely to have that potential drawback like coffee.

Different Ways of Preparing Matcha for a Fast

Even though it’s most recommended to enjoy matcha plain for the most powerful health boost, whether regularly or during a fast, people are still curious if certain additives will negatively impact a matcha fast.

So here’s a couple common questions and quick answers:

Does Matcha with Stevia break a fast?

Matcha with stevia and other artificial sweeteners may not be as effective for a fasting regimen as drinking matcha alone. That’s because certain artificial sweeteners have been identified as impacting glucose and insulin pathways similar to actual sugar. [2] 

If you enjoy a sweeter matcha, it’s not to say you won’t get the fasting boost from matcha, but it might not be as powerful. Instead you might consider a ceremonial grade matcha, which is naturally sweet, without the additives.

Does Matcha with Collagen Powder break a Fast?

Most of the matcha collagen powder available is in the form of a protein-type supplement. These are special complexes of amino-acids and collagen co-factors which may be metabolically active. 

It’s likely that your body will digest a collagen matcha additive as a potential fuel source, and may reduce total ketogenesis. If you’re hopeful to optimize collagen synthesis, you might do it on your fasting-off-days.

Furthermore, it’s certainly worth noting that matcha has a robust complex of essential and helpful amino acids. It’s suggested that on its own, it may boost collagen synthesis in a natural way, without the worry of impacting your fast.

In Conclusion: Fasting with Matcha | Matcha Fast

The research most strongly recommends a premium grade of matcha tea, enjoyed plain and free of additives. That’s especially true if you seek the strongest potential benefits for key fasting metrics:

  • Ketogenesis
  • Improved long-term insulin sensitivity
  • Healthy weight management.

Remember, equally like the traditional practice of fasting, matcha too has been long-claimed as a longevity promoter, serving the very highest standard for your health.

It’s complete in and of itself, virtually free of calories, yet superbly rich in those fasting-friendly natural compounds. 

Also, as fasting is considered a detoxification process which produces free radicals, it’s assuring to remember that the potent antioxidants in matcha may help your body excrete those toxins, all while protecting from oxidative stress.

Take it Easy with Matcha

By the way, if you’re interested in fasting, but can’t seem to escape that lovely morning matcha latte, there’s still plenty to be said about the health boost.

No one is perfect, and matcha will always be a helpful ally in your health journey regardless of any strict diet or other decisions.

Enjoy!

-Team Matcha Kari

 

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References
[1] Pepino, M. Y., & Bourne, C. (2011). Nonnutritive sweeteners, energy balance and glucose homeostasis. Current opinion in clinical nutrition and metabolic care, 14(4), 391.
[2] Wachman, A. R. B. D., Hattner, R. S., George, B., & Bernstein, D. S. (1970). Effects of decaffeinated and nondecaffeinated coffee ingestion on blood glucose and plasma radioimmunoreactive insulin responses to rapid intravenous infusion of glucose in normal man. Metabolism, 19(7), 539-546.

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