Last updated on November 3rd, 2022 at 06:32 pm
You’re not the only one to wonder, “Can I Drink Hot Chocolate During Intermittent Fasting?”
You’re typically told to stick to just drinks during your fasting window when intermittent fasting.
This usually means only water, sparkling water, tea and coffee.
However, I know exactly how bland and boring this can become.
So, it’s not long before most of us are looking for alternatives while intermittent fasting.
But, is hot chocolate acceptable to consume during your fasting window?
Allow me to reveal all.
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Can I Drink Hot Chocolate During Intermittent Fasting?
Whether you can drink hot chocolate during intermittent fasting largely depends on the type of fasting diet you are following. As an example, the 5:2 intermittent fasting diet simply severely restricts calories for 2 days a week. So, you could consume hot chocolate as part of your calorie intake on those 2 days. However, as hot chocolate contains calories, carbs, and sugar it should never be consumed during your fasting window of a 16:8, 20:4, or 24-hour Intermittent fasting diet.
What Intermittent Fasting Diet Are You Following?
I’m sure you’re aware that there are various intermittent fasting diets.
So, what might be acceptable on one diet must be avoided on another.
Realistically, you should never drink hot chocolate during your fasting window, as it will immediately break your fast, and for more reasons than you may imagine.
I’ll get to this point in a moment, and reveal that it isn’t just calories that break intermittent fasting.
However, for now let’s look at when you can drink hot chocolate during intermittent fasting.
Now, one of the most popular intermittent fasting diets is the 5:2 philosophy.
But, just to confuse matters, there is actually more than one 5:2 intermittent fasting diet.
I guess this has to do with people wanting to create their own diets based on what they have found works for them.
That being said, there does seem to be one format of the 5:2 intermittent fasting diet that is more well-known than all the overs.
This typically involves you eating what you want for 5 days of the week, while limiting your calories on the other two days.
So, as an example, for the two days that you are fasting you would generally limit your calorie intake to around 500-600 calories a day.
How Much Time is Considered a Fast?
Now, in order for a diet to be considered intermittent fasting you’ll need to consume absolutely no calories for a specified period of time.
To be honest, this “period of time” will differ from person-to-person, although 12 hours is usually considered the minimum time for a fast.
So, you could actually do the 5:2 intermittent fasting diet without ever actually going 12 hours straight without consuming any food.
Okay, I’ll admit that you obviously won’t be eating much, especially if you’re trying to keep your calories to 500-600 for the day.
But, it’s still possible to consume something every few hours and stay within your calorie requirement.
That being said, the main thing to consider is how you wish to consume your calories on the 2 days of restrictive calories.
What I mean by this is that many people would prefer that their calories are completely food-related, as opposed to drinking calories.
So, as an example, hot chocolate made with water will typically be just under 100 calories, whereas when made with milk it’s nearer to 200 calories.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I certainly wouldn’t want over 30% of my calories for the day to come from a single drink.
And this is true irrespective of how great it tastes.
However, when it comes to this specific form of intermittent fasting, it is perfectly acceptable to drink hot chocolate.
No Hot Chocolate During Strict Intermittent Fasting
Okay, so hot chocolate is fine to drink during the standard 5:2 intermittent fasting diet.
But, what about other types of intermittent fasting?
These include fasts such as 16:8, 20:4 and 24 hours.
Realistically, during your fasting window (16, 20, and 24 hours respectively) you should not be consuming any food whatsoever.
Actually, to be more precise, you should not be consuming any calories whatsoever.
The body generally burns our stores of glycogen (most commonly from the carbs we eat) for energy.
However, intermittent fasting is fairly similar to many low-carb diets, in that the aim is for the body to start burning fat stores and producing ketones for energy.
This of course is exactly the same as the keto diet.
Once the body starts using fat stores for energy, you are literally burning body fat throughout the day.
So, this is a great way to lose body fat and to lose weight.
But, the second you consume a few calories, you will have in effect provided the body with glycogen (glucose to be more precise).
Admittedly, this may not be a great deal, depending on what you’ve consumed, but it will be enough for your body to stop burning fat stores for energy.
In other words you have broken your fast and you are now in a fed state.
So, the potential 100 calories (with water) or 200 calories (with milk) you’ll consume by drinking hot chocolate will be enough to change what your body burns for energy (fat vs. glycogen).
Therefore, during your actual fasting window, when your fasting window is a specific number of hours, hot chocolate should be completely avoided.
There’s More to Hot Chocolate Than Calories
Unfortunately, there’s more bad news for hot chocolate lovers who are intermittent fasting.
We generally view calories as pure evil when it comes to intermittent fasting.
However, there’s actually far more to it than that.
Basically, anything that provokes an insulin reaction in the body will also break your fast.
What I’m talking about here is a spike and then drop in your insulin levels.
This is something that you’ll commonly experience when you eat high-carb foods, especially junk foods.
You’ll probably remember the many times that you’ve gorged on junk food, felt wonderful and on a high at the time, and then 30 minutes later you feel like crap and extremely tired.
This is the spike and drop of insulin levels.
To make matters worse, this insulin reaction can be induced without you actually consuming a single calorie, not even one.
This comes down to the sweetness of the food or drink that you’re consuming.
As soon as you feel something sweet on your tongue, a message is sent to your brain.
This is usually a happy message, as you enjoy the sweet taste.
However, this signal will also take you from a fasted state to a fed one.
In effect, your brain believes that it has been fed, so the process of your body using glycogen for energy starts over, and you’ve just broken your fast.
This also means that even if you drink hot chocolate without actually swallowing it, the sweet taste on your tongue is enough for your brain to think it has been fed.
So, I’ll repeat, when following a strict intermittent fasting diet, completely avoid drinking hot chocolate during your fasting window.
Acceptable Liquids With Intermittent Fasting
So, as you can see, whether you can drink hot chocolate during intermittent fasting isn’t exactly clear cut.
This will largely depend on the type of intermittent fasting diet you’re following.
As an example, the 5:2 diet has 2 days when your calories are severely restricted, say 500-600 calories per day.
So, you can pretty much consume anything, including hot chocolate, during this type of fast, as long as you remain within your daily calorie limit.
That being said, you will not be able to drink hot chocolate with diets that call for a strict fasting window.
So, if you’re following the 16:8 intermittent fasting diet for example, you can only consume hot chocolate during your 8-hour eating window.
Unfortunately, hot chocolate contains calories, plus due to its sweetness it will also induce an insulin response.
Both of these factors would break your fast.
Next, discover what I have to say about having an cheat day on intermittent fasting.
Hi, I’m Partha, owner and founder of My Bodyweight Exercises. I am a Level 3 Personal Trainer and Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist through the Register of Exercise Professionals, United Kingdom. I have been a regular gym-goer since 2000 and coaching clients since 2012. My aim is to help you achieve your body composition goals.