Last updated on February 26th, 2023 at 03:58 pm
You would think that due to a cucumber mainly being water it should be alright to eat during your fasting window.
Or does eating cucumber actually break the intermittent fasting “rules”?
Your fasting window during intermittent fasting should involve eating absolutely no food, and this includes cucumber. Any food that you consume, irrespective of how many calories, will be broken down, turned into energy, and released into the cells of the body. So, this will automatically break your fast. Realistically, you should stick to water, sparkling water, tea and coffee (without milk, cream, or sugar) during your fasting window.
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Cucumber Technically Breaks Your Fast
If you want me to be strict with you then no, you can’t eat cucumber during intermittent fasting.
Essentially, your fast involves taking on no food whatsoever, so as soon as you consume even the tiniest morsel, you have in effect broken your fast.
Realistically, during your intermittent fasting window there should be absolutely no food consumed.
So, you’ll stick to water, sparkling water, tea or coffee.
And just to show how strict this can be, you can’t add cream, milk, or sugar to either tea or coffee.
Therefore, you are basically only “allowed” to consume drinks which have no calories at all.
Don’t forget that pretty much every other drink, apart from those mentioned, will carry some calories.
In fact, certain drinks are so packed full of sugar that you’ll typically take on more calories by enjoying a glass than you would eating a small meal.
That being said, staying well-hydrated during your intermittent fasting window is a must.
The last thing you want when you’re denying yourself food is to experience muscle cramps, headaches, etc.
In fact, being dehydrated is often mistaken for hunger, so make sure you’re taking on plenty of fluids.
I guess you could argue that one medium-sized cucumber is only 30 calories.
Plus, that same cucumber contains no fat, and just a sprinkling of carbs and protein, hence the 30 calories.
And let’s not forget that a cucumber is 96% water, so surely it’s the same as drinking a glass of water, right?
Nice try, but as I say, if you want to get “technical” and you want me to be strict, no food means NO FOOD.
That being said, many people state that there could be a way around this, and I’ll get to this now.
The Intermittent Fasting 50-Calorie “Rule”
There appears to have been an internet “rule” about intermittent fasting doing the rounds for a few years now.
In fact, it’s even quoted as a “general rule of thumb”.
The “rule” is that as long as you stay below 50 calories then you will not have broken your fast.
So, according to this “rule” it would be perfectly acceptable to eat an entire cucumber during your fasting window.
Now, I’m not entirely sure where this rumour started, although I can hazard a guess.
However, it is based on one person’s experience and is now quoted by millions of people as fact.
But, the fact remains that if you eat anything, one tiny morsel, even a single calorie, then you will have broken your fast.
Regardless of how many calories you consume, your body will immediately break down the ingested energy and disperse it to your cells.
To be honest, I feel that this rumour started simply as another way to say what I have above.
Basically, if you have to break your fast because you simply can’t cope with the starvation then do it.
Okay, it’s not ideal, but an effective intermittent fasting “diet” is more about a gradual lifestyle change, as opposed to a punishment.
So, it’s important to listen to what your body is telling you.
That being said, the 50-calorie rumour is just that, a rumour and nothing more.
Is it Okay to Be Hungry During Intermittent Fasting?
Firstly, regardless of your fasting window, e.g. 16, 20, 24 hours, etc. you’re likely to feel hungry the first few fasts.
The main reason for this is that your body is going through a completely new experience.
Basically, you’re not used to going this long without food, so it’s likely that you’re going to get the occasional hunger pang.
That being said, starvation is never the point of intermittent fasting.
So, if you do start experiencing any negative symptoms due to Intermittent fasting, then you must make sure you eat, and please do so without any guilt.
One “slip up” doesn’t mean you’ve completely failed in your new eating regime.
Furthermore, I actually look at intermittent fasting as much more than simply a way to potentially restrict calories, and therefore to lose weight.
Personally, I feel intermittent fasting is the ideal opportunity to fix your bad relationship with food.
What I mean by this is that there were probably many times when you were eating “normally” and you felt hungry.
In truth, although the vast majority of us mostly eat for enjoyment, food is more about nourishment and providing energy for your brain and body.
So, if you’ve spent years eating the wrong foods, not only has it affected your weight, but it’s likely impacted your physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing too.
Therefore, you should look at intermittent fasting as an opportunity to start eating more sensibly and in order to actually satisfy yourself.
Many people view their eating window as a free-for-all when it comes to food.
However, this may often include foods high in saturated fat, sugars, and carbs.
By doing this, you may feel “satisfied” initially, but you’ll also generally experience a spike in blood sugar levels, before the crash.
The result of this is that you’ll be devoid of energy and feel hungry again soon after.
So, realistically you’ll want to eat sensibly during your eating window.
You should focus firstly on your protein sources, as this will help to keep you fuller for longer.
Secondly, you should always aim to eat whole, unprocessed foods, so as to keep your blood sugar levels in check.
Finally, you should also be eating healthy fats and enough “good carbs” to provide you with sufficient energy.
Key Learning Points
- Strictly speaking, consuming any food, including cucumber, would count as breaking your fast.
- The only things you should really consume during your fasting window is water, sparkling water, tea and coffee (without any milk, cream or sugar).
- The “50-calorie” intermittent fasting “rule” is nothing more than a myth.
- Regardless of how few calories a food item contains it will be broken down, turned into energy, and dispersed among the cells in the body, i.e. the fast has been broken.
- Feeling hungry while intermittent fasting is absolutely fine and expected.
- Intermittent fasting shouldn’t be viewed as a punishment, so if you feel that your hunger may cause negative consequences you should break your fast and eat.
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.