Fasting, a dietary practice involving refraining from consuming food and beverages for a specific duration, is gaining so much popularity due to its potential health benefits. Simultaneously, probiotics have gained recognition for their ability to support gut health and overall wellness.
As a healthcare professional, I’ve observed an increase in inquiries from patients about whether they can incorporate probiotics into their fasting routine or if taking probiotics would break the fasting process.
So let’s dive in.
Will Probiotics Break A Fast?
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that support a healthy balance of gut bacteria in your digestive system. They do not contain calories. Thus, probiotics themselves won’t interfere with fasting.
However, there are exceptions.
Not all probiotic supplements are calories-free
Probiotic supplements that come in the form of gummies or powders may contain some calories and could therefore potentially break a fast.
So, it’s very important to check the label and make sure you’re choosing a probiotic supplement that is free from any added sugars or unnecessary additives.
Can Probiotic-Containing Foods Break A Fast?
While these foods are a great source of probiotics, they also contain calories. So, taking these probiotic foods will break your fast.
So, Can You Take Probiotics While Fasting?
A rule of thumb to remember while fasting is to consume no or negligible calories.
Most probiotic supplements can still be taken during fasting because they contain minimal to no calories. However, if your supplement does have some caloric content, it should not be consumed while fasting. If you are getting your probiotics from probiotic-rich foods, make sure to eat them during your non-fasting window of time.
Benefits Of Consuming Probiotics During A Fast
Probiotic supplementation can support your fasting journey and enhance the benefits of fasting.
🔎 A healthy gut microbiome
Studies have found that intermittent fasting promotes a positive change in your gut bacteria. Beneficial bacteria such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium were found to be significantly increased during fasting.
In this case, adding probiotics to your fasting routine will do an excellent job of adopting a healthy gut microbiome and boost overall gut health.
🔎 Weight loss
For individuals who try intermittent fasting to lose weight, good news is that probiotics can support your weight loss journey. Probiotics can boost fat burning, and help suppress appetite by increasing appetite-reducing hormones like glucagon-like peptide (GLP-1) and peptide YY.
Analysis of clinical trials also showed that probiotics led to a significant reduction in body weight and fat percentage compared to placebos.
🔎 Improved Mood
During your fasting period, the presence of beneficial gut bacteria, also known as probiotics, can contribute to increased serotonin levels. Serotonin is a happy hormone which regulates mood and induces a sense of focus, happiness, and tranquility.
This is highly advantageous for sustaining a positive mood and minimizing the tendency to engage in stress-induced eating. As a result, it becomes easier to adhere to your fasting routine for an extended duration.
When Should I Take Probiotics While on Fasting?
For the timing, read the label for the manufacturer’s specific instructions.
Most probiotics are recommended to take on an empty stomach but some are recommended to take with meals. Certain strains of probiotics such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium had a greater chance of survival when taken 30 minutes before a meal.
If your probiotic is one of those that need to be taken on an empty stomach, take it 30 mins before your first meal of the day.
Final line up
In summary, probiotics do not break a fast. In fact, they can be beneficial during the fasting period by supporting a healthy gut, maintaining a good mood and facilitating weight loss progress.
Just make sure to choose probiotic sources that do not contain any added calories or sweeteners. As always, it’s best to consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian before making any changes to your diet or fasting routine.