Fasting

Is Dirty Fasting the Worst Route You Can Take to Lose Weight?

Life choices always have a good way and a bad way, and diets are not far behind.

In the case of intermittent fasting, you can choose the dirty way or the “clean” way.

Reading the word “dirty” could make you think it’s a bad way to fast. Today on Health Insider, you’re going to find out if this style of fasting works or not.

Let us give you a hint: dirty fasting is not the worst way you can choose. We want to show you how you can practice it so it doesn’t affect your weight loss goals.

What Is Dirty Fasting?

When you fast, the general recommendation is that during fasting windows, you only drink water, tea, and black coffee without sugar. That would be clean fasting.

In the case of dirty fasting, you can add a little more than that to your coffee, such as cream or flavorings. You can also consume artificially sweetened calorie-free beverages.

We can’t say that one type of intermittent fasting is better than another, as it all depends on what works for each individual. We think that dirty fasting might be a little more fun because you can have more variety.

But, there are many people who prefer simplicity and feel good about drinking nothing but water during fasting windows.

The secret is that you are able to be consistent with whatever method you choose and apply the rules as best as possible.

If coffee is an important part of your day, drinking it the way you enjoy it most can be a big help when dieting.

Never follow a diet plan that makes you feel irritable. Do what makes you happy, and your diet will be guaranteed to succeed.

Does Dirty Fasting Work?

We can’t say yes or no with absolute accuracy. We know that every human body is universal, and it is up to you to find out what fasting method is best for you.

What we found out is that dirty fasting is the easiest way because you can cheat. The rules of this method are a little more flexible, and that takes a little bit of tension off your shoulders.

Whether you’re fasting to lose weight or to detox, taking the easy way can help. Once you understand what it’s all about, you can decide whether to do intermittent fasting clean or dirty. This is entirely up to you as there is no evidence to suggest that one method is better than the other.

5 Tips for Dirty Fasting

#1 Add MCT oil to your coffee

While in clean fasting you cannot add anything to your black coffee, in dirty fasting, you can add some complements. MCT (medium-chain triglycerides) oil provides healthy fats and gives a little flavor to your coffee.

Plus, since it is good fat, it helps you stay satiated. It is an excellent ally in the keto diet to speed up the state of ketosis.

dirty-fasting

#2 Add butter to your coffee

Have you heard about bulletproof coffee? It’s a coffee loaded with good fats that provides energy and satiety when you’re on a keto diet. Consuming it during fasting windows provides some calories, and you can still enjoy the benefits of fasting.

dirty-fasting

#3 Sweeten your coffee and tea

While clean fasting recommends avoiding all artificial sweeteners, in dirty fasting, you can use stevia. You can also use monk fruit which is a natural sweetener without calories.

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#4 Drink diet soda

Although it is not a healthy drink because of its components, you can have one occasionally. Diet soda is calorie-free and will allow you to indulge in a treat to reduce cravings for caloric foods.

Do this at your own risk, as different studies say that artificially sweetened beverages can trigger cravings for sweets. This can make it difficult to keep your fasting.

dirty-fasting

#5 Make bone broth

You may have read before that broth is allowed when fasting. What you may not have known is that it is part of dirty fasting. This is because it provides a small number of calories from meat or chicken bones.

Broth prepared with meat bones can add a small amount of fat. When you prepare a broth with bones and vegetables, strain it and drink only the liquid. You will have a nutritious and tasty drink that will ease your fasting hours.

How Many Calories Break a Fast?t? 

From a technical perspective, even the smallest amount of calories break the fast. This is because intermittent fasting is the act of suspending food for a specific period of time. 

Many experts agree that coffee and tea, being very low in calories, do not affect fasting. A cup of coffee has no more than 5 calories, and that is insignificant.

In dirty fasting, you can add some low-calorie options and still enjoy the effects of fasting. There is no evidence that clarifies the number of calories capable of breaking the fast.

What we do know is that those calories should not come from carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates raise blood glucose and stimulate insulin. The central point of fasting is to avoid raising the blood glucose to maintain autophagy. Autophagy is the process that helps you lose weight during fasting.

By adding healthy fats to your beverages, since they do not cause an insulin response, you will not lose the benefits of fasting.

When you diet, it doesn’t seem to make sense to eat fat when you want to lose it. But the truth is that if you don’t eat for more than 10 hours, your body starts to burn its fat reserves. For this reason, if you add a few calories of fat while fasting, you will use those calories as energy.

Dirty Fast vs. Clean Fast

Are you dirty fasting or clean fasting? Don’t worry about the word dirty; even though it sounds like a bad thing, it’s not.

As you see, dirty fasting just involves adding a little more variety to the options you already knew to make the journey easier. It is an ideal way to start practicing intermittent fasting and, when you feel ready, you can practice the cleaner method.

During clean fasting, if you want to do it “super clean,” you should drink nothing but water. This ensures that you do not consume any calories. You could also add black coffee or unsweetened black tea, which only provides 3–5 calories per cup. That amount of calories is negligible and does not break your fast.

You can obtain health benefits by choosing either method. By using the dirty method, you can arrive at the eating window with less anxiety. You may even be able to complete more hours of fasting thanks to the complements you add to your coffee and other beverages.

One of the advantages of intermittent fasting is that it allows a significant caloric restriction. Caloric restriction supports weight loss.

Losing weight is a target that you can reach in many ways. You could practice dirty fasting, and even though you are adding a few calories, you would still have a caloric deficit.

That is, if you consume a few calories with dirty fasting but avoid an insulin response by choosing the right foods, you can still reap the benefits.

So what are the right choices? Healthy fats. By adding a little cream or butter to your coffee, you won’t interfere with weight loss.

A Word From Our RD

One of the best options with which you can combine intermittent fasting is the keto diet. Thanks to its richness in good fats, this diet allows you to activate a different metabolic pathway than insulin-glucose.

The metabolic pathway that is activated in the ketogenic diet is the fatty acid pathway. These are transformed into ketones and become the main source of energy.

To maintain the state of ketosis, you can supplement coffee with cream, MCT oil, or butter during the fasting window. Artificial sweeteners are also allowed to improve the taste of your beverages. These options provide healthy fats that support both ketosis and the autophagy that activates when fasting.

A Dirty Fast Can Clean Your Body

There is nothing wrong with spicing up your drinks. A dirty fast is adding some good fats to your beverages and still getting health benefits.

During fasting windows, you can add some complements to help you complete more hours of fasting.

The difference between clean and dirty fasting is the number of calories you consume during the non-eating hours. If you maintain a zero-calorie intake during fasting hours, you are doing clean fasting.

Some experts recommend an average of 40 calories during fasting hours, which would correspond to a small amount of butter in your coffee. It can also be a splash of vegetable milk in your green tea.

Both are healthy options that do not cause a change in your insulin levels. This way, you can keep burning fat while dirty fasting.

Edibel Quintero, MD
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel's goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
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