Bone broth is gaining popularity in general, but especially with health-conscious consumers, many of whom may follow a paleo or keto lifestyle or practice various health-focused dietary practices such as intermittent fasting. While bone broth does contain calories and therefore to drink bone broth technically does break a fasted state, the properties of bone broth allow you to maintain some of the important benefits of fasting while still consuming nutrients.

What is Intermittent Fasting

Those unfamiliar with intermittent fasting may think of it as just another “fad diet,” but the truth is that intermittent fasting focuses more on when you eat than what you eat, and the purpose behind it is to allow your body the downtime that it needs to focus on recovery and repair, rather than digesting. While it’s true that some weight loss may occur when you begin intermittent fasting, and some do try the diet for that reason, the real benefit you get from intermittent fasting is that it allows your body adequate time to focus on body systems other than digestion.

The purported benefits of intermittent fasting include:

  • reduction in insulin resistance – insulin resistance occurs when your body’s cells don’t respond as they should to the presence of insulin in your bloodstream, causing a buildup of glucose in your blood, since it can’t easily enter your cells to be used as energy. 
  • cellular repair – intermittent fasting increases the body’s autophagy activity, which, simply put, is the body’s detoxification process – the time when toxic cells are destroyed. This usually occurs during periods of rest, when glucose and insulin levels are at their lowest – when the body practices intermittent fasting, it lengthens this cellular recycling process, allowing the body to efficiently remove waste.
  • increased metabolism – the increase in metabolism on an intermittent fasting diet are thought to be from the increased production of the hormone norepinephrine, which stimulates fat loss
  • inflammation reduction – this is thought to be tied to the increased autophagy that occurs during intermittent fasting, which rids the body of inflammation-causing debris.
  • weight loss – when you’re fasting, your body is using the fat stored in cells for energy, so the fat is being burned instead of stored, leading to weight loss. 

There are several ways to follow an intermittent fasting diet, and they range from fasting overnight and eating for an eight hour period during the day, to fasting for days. Here’s a brief explanation of some of the popular intermittent fasting approaches:

  1. Time-restricted eating: this is the practice of confining the hours that you consume food to certain times of the day. One of the most popular time frames is the 16/8 method, where you fast for 16 hours and eat for 8, such as between 11am and 7pm or 12pm and 8pm. This method can be the easiest for intermittent fasting beginners, as you’re still eating every day, just changing the time period during which you take your meals. 
  2. 24 hour fasting: if you follow this method of intermittent fasting, it’s best to restrict your fasting days to once or twice per week. During your non-fasting days, you eat a normal, healthy diet and eat during regular hours. 
  3. Twice per week fasting: this involves restricting your caloric intake to 500 calories for 2 days out of the week, and following a normal diet the remaining 5 days. If you choose this method, separate your fasting days with a non-fasting day, and make sure that your low calorie meals are high in fiber and protein to keep you satiated. 

You’re likely to consume less calories when intermittent fasting, and it also tends to bring your dietary habits into sharp focus. When your body has gone several hours without eating, your senses are much more aware of how food makes your body feel once you break your fast. If you break your intermittent fasting with a mega-burrito and a soft drink, you’re really going to feel it. If you choose to follow an intermittent fasting diet, use it as a reset for your mind as well as your body – choose to pay attention to the relationship between the food you eat and the effect it has on your body, and make the necessary dietary changes to help your body operate at its best. 

Does Bone Broth Break a Fast?

Experts are divided on whether drinking bone broth technically breaks a fast. They are all on the same page, however, when it comes to the health benefits of bone broth, and bone broth comes highly recommended for intermittent fasters, and those following a paleo or keto diet. According to dietdoctor.com, a website staffed by doctors and dietitians, and geared towards the low-carb diet and keto lifestyle, not only does bone broth not break a fast, but it is recommended for fasters due to its nutrient and protein content, and the fact that bone broth can be seasoned with sea salt, which supplies necessary electrolytes that can become quickly depleted during a fast. 

Other experts insist that while bone broth contains calories, which will technically break your fast, the calories in bone broth are largely from protein rather than carbohydrates, so the calories you consume from bone broth will allow your body to remain in ketosis and it won’t interrupt autophagy, so your body maintains the benefits of the fast even if you’ve consumed more calories than are technically “allowed.” 

Why Not Try a Bone Broth Fast?

Whether you’re familiar with fasting or not, a bone broth fast can be an excellent way to give your body a reset, and consuming bone broth while fasting keeps your body nourished and satiated while still allowing the benefits of a fast.  You can choose to try it along with one of the methods of intermittent fasting listed above, or try a bone broth fast on its own. 

With a bone broth fast, not only do you achieve the benefits of intermittent fasting, but you also experience the gut-healing, inflammation-reducing, nourishing benefits of bone broth. Your digestive system will get a break, but the consumption of wholesome bone broth throughout the day will supply your body with essential minerals and nutrients. And high-fat, protein rich bone broth will keep you feeling satisfied even as your body experiences the benefits of fasting. 

If you do decide to break your intermittent fasting with bone broth, or embark on a bone broth fast, make sure that your bone broth is made from the highest quality, pasture raised and grass fed animals. There are lots of recipes online for wholesome, nourishing bone broth. If you don’t have the time or inclination for making bone broth, The Osso Good Co. has a wide selection of premade bone broth made from organic and pasture-raised animals. 

It’s important to remember that when intermittent fasting, you can generally follow a normal active lifestyle, including vigorous exercise if you’re so inclined. But when you embark on a multi-day fast or cleanse, your body will be entering that restful detox stage for a longer period of time, and it’s important to allow your body the necessary time for rest and rejuvenation. Once you decide to break your fast and incorporate regular food back into your diet, you should start with easily-digestible foods and try to continue to follow a cleansing whole food diet. 

Benefits of Fasting

Many people use fasting as an opportunity to reboot their overall health. It’s a great way to reset your eating habits and redefine your relationship with food and how it affects your health. A cleanse, especially a bone broth cleanse, can do wonders for your gut health. When you participate in a bone broth cleanse, not only are you giving your digestive system a rest and allowing your body to reset, but you’re continuously supplying your body with nutrient-dense, wholesome, and easily-digestible broth that will allow your gut to heal and your digestive system to work more effectively when you do reintroduce regular food. Also, because bone broth is full of vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes, it helps you to feel satiated and sustained even while fasting. 

Whether you choose intermittent fasting on a regular basis, or integrate the occasional 7-day bone broth cleanse into your regular diet to reboot your system, your body will appreciate the reset, and you’ll likely notice many of the benefits we discussed above, like increased metabolism, reduced inflammation, and weight loss, in addition to an overall feeling of better health. 

If you think your body could benefit from a bone broth cleanse, you can even order a pre-built 7-day bone broth cleanse from The Osso Good Co., or customize your cleanse depending on how long you would like it to last, and which types of broth you would like to incorporate. Combined with healthy fats like nut butters, ghee, avocados and coconut oil, organic fruits and veggies, and pasture raised proteins, a premade bone broth cleanse from The Osso Good Co. is an amazing and easy way to reboot your body and maximize your health.