Intermittent fasting is currently one of the most popular health and diet trends. It focuses more on when you eat instead of what you eat. The aim is for you to cycle between a period of eating and a period of fasting. When you are eating, you are allowed to eat and drink anything you want, this includes hot chocolate. However, when you are fasting, you are not allowed to eat or drink anything with calories, this means that hot chocolate is not allowed.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is more of an eating pattern where you swap between a period of eating and a period of fasting. Because of that, it does not state what you can or cannot eat but rather focuses on when you can eat. One of the most popular type of intermittent fasting is the 16/8 intermittent fasting. This is where you fast for 16 hours and then only eat within 8 hours. Another popular option is the 5:2 fast, this is where you only eat around 500 to 600 calories on two nonconsecutive days in a week and then eat like normal on the other 5 days.
When you fast, cool stuff happens to your body in the molecular and cellular level. It leads to changes in your hormone levels, cell functions and even gene expression, all of these are reason why people try out intermittent fasting to improve their health.
After fasting for a period of time, your insulin levels drop and over time your insulin resistance can be reduced. This also lowers your blood sugar levels and might help protect you from type 2 diabetes. In one study, they found that those who fasted for 8 to 12 weeks had their fasting blood sugar levels decreased by 3% to 6% and fasting insulin decreased by 20% to 31%.
Not only does it lower your insulin levels, it can also increase the amount of human growth hormones and norepinephrine. Both of these help increase the breakdown of the fat in your body to be used or energy. In addition, it suggests that short term fasting can help increase your metabolic rate, this means that it can help you burn more calories.
If you fast for at least 24 hours, autophagy starts to happen in your body. This is when the cells in your body starts cleaning up itself. This process involves your cells breakdown and discarding or rebuilding the broken and dysfunctional proteins. Although more research is necessary to understand the full function of autophagy, it is currently believed that increased autophagy might help protect you against certain diseases such as cancer and neurodegenerative diseases.
Hot Chocolate and Intermittent Fasting
Regardless of what kind of hot chocolate you are drinking, if you are in your eating period, you are free to drink hot chocolate. I would suggest you do drink only a reasonable or moderate amount of hot chocolate as it is not exactly the most healthiest drink ever. At most, I would limit my hot chocolate consumption to just 1 or 2 cups a day.
However, if you are fasting, you are not allowed to drink any type of hot chocolate at all. This is because when you are fasting, you are not allowed to eat or drink anything with calories. All hot chocolates contain calories. The type of drinks that don’t contain any calories and are allowed to be drank during fasting are just water, plain tea and black coffee.
Although there is a variety of different hot chocolates you can drink, the general hot chocolate contains calories, sugar, fat, carbs and protein. Different brands of hot chocolate will vary in terms of calories and also the type of milk (or even water) you use will affect the nutritional information.
When you eat sugar and it is not used for energy, the body will break down the sugar and store it as fat. If your goal is to decrease insulin and lower your blood sugar levels, then drinking hot chocolate would be counterintuitive as the refined sugar in the hot chocolate will be digested quickly and spike both your insulin levels and your blood sugar levels.
What Can You Drink?
You should stick to drinks with 0 calories. This usually comprises of tea, coffee and water. Also, the tea and coffee will have to the straight, this means that ideally you should not add any sugar or cream (including dairy alternatives). It is important to stay hydrated while you are fasting, therefore you should always make sure you are drinking something throughout your fast.
Some of you might think it is alright to drink certain drinks with sweeteners because that means they have 0 calories. However, this is not true as some sweeteners will break you fast by triggering your insulin response. Currently, it is believed that most sweeteners will have a negative impact on your fast, therefore it is best to skip it.