Does creatine break your fast? It’s a common question if you’re just getting into intermittent fasting and are wondering where your supplements come into play.
In this article, we’re going to take a detailed look at both intermittent fasting and creatine to see if they can be used together or not.
Creatine is one of the most widely-researched and popular supplements on the market today. It’s commonly available and is also one of the cheaper supplements out there.
But how can it fit in to an intermittent fasting protocol? This article is the latest in our mini-series looking at what foods, drinks and supplements you can take while practicing intermittent fasting.
We’re going to focus on what creatine is and why it is so popular, and also look at intermittent fasting in general.
We’re then going to find out whether it’s OK to have creatine while you are fasting.
Editor's note: The content on this website is meant to be informative in nature, but it should not be taken as medical advice. Our articles and the products featured in them are not intended for use as diagnosis, prevention, and/or treatment of health problems. Always speak with a certified medical professional before making any changes to your lifestyle, diet, exercise routine, and/or taking any supplements.
So, with the introductions out of the way, it’s time to start taking a closer look at creatine and fasting.
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What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting (IF) is simply a way of eating that involves splitting your time into periods of eating and not eating.
It has become very popular in recent years as more and more people look to reap the supposed health benefits of practicing it on a regular basis.
There are various different methods of intermittent fasting, but one popular one is to split the day into a 16-hour fast and an eight-hour ‘eating window’.
There are also other methods which involve longer and shorter fasting periods.
Intermittent fasting has gained popularity in recent years thanks to the supposed health benefits it brings. There is some initial research to suggest that by fasting for short periods, you may be able to bring about some beneficial changes to your health.
There is also the supposed psychological benefit of fasting. The main principal behind fasting is that for most of history, humans probably did not have constant access to food sources, so ‘fasting’ would have been a natural part of life.
In modern-day culture, we generally have the option to eat at all hours of the day, and that may not be good for our health and mental wellbeing.
Many people report an improved relationship with food and a feeling of empowerment after having started on an intermittent fasting protocol.
It’s important to note that you should not try intermittent fasting before consulting with a certified medical professional if you have an underlying health condition or are pregnant or breastfeeding.
It’s always worth seeking the advice of a qualified professional before making any major changes to your lifestyle.
The Bottom Line: Intermittent fasting is simply a way of eating that involves splitting your time into periods of eating and not eating. One popular intermittent fasting method is the 16:8 protocol, which involves fasting for 16 hours and provides an eating window of eight hours.
What is Creatine?
Creatine is a popular supplement that is well-known in the fitness community. It is taken widely by bodybuilders and athletes alike due to its supposed benefits related to exercise.
In case you didn’t know, creatine itself is a substance that is found naturally in muscle cells in the body. It helps your muscles to produce energy during workouts and exercise sessions.
Creatine as a supplement is widely taken because it is claimed to help with things such as strength and endurance during workouts.
As far as supplements go, creatine monohydrate is the most popular form of creatine available and it also just so happens to be the cheapest option as well.
Creatine monohydrate has plenty of scientific evidence behind it. There have been multiple studies which have demonstrated its supposed benefits and that is one of the reasons why it’s become so popular.
Creatine is often supplemented both pre and post workout to provide its benefits. Many of the leading pre workout supplements on the market today include a small does of creatine in their ingredients list.
It is also often consumed post-workout to help with recovery after a gruelling session.
Creatine is also sometimes used in something called a ‘loading protocol’, which is a specific way of taking it in higher doses at first, before reducing the dose to maintain the levels.
The Bottom Line: Creatine is probably one of the most popular fitness supplements available in the world. Creatine monohydrate is the most popular form of creatine available as a supplement. It is widely-researched and is also one of the cheapest supplements out there. Creatine is often used both pre and post workout for its supposed benefits related to exercise and recovery.
Does Creatine Break Your Fast?
So, now that we’ve covered the basic points about creatine and intermittent fasting in general, it’s time to see whether they can work together or not.
As we mentioned above, because creatine is often taken pre workout, you’ll want to know whether it can possibly break a fast or not, especially if you usually hit the gym or perform exercise during your fasting window.
So, does creatine break a fast? The short answer is probably not. But if you want to be safe, save it for your eating window.
Generally speaking, it is assumed that you can have low calorie beverages such as black coffee and black tea during your fasting period without it affecting your protocol.
That being said, were you to add milk or sugar to your drink, that would certainly bring you out of your fasted state.
Creatine contains no calories and it is not thought to have effect on insulin secretion, or glucose in the absence of calories.
That being said, there are some people who think it better to stick to just drinking water during your fasting window to ensure that you can be 100 per cent sure that you remain in the ‘fasted’ state.
So, the bottom line is this: Creatine is unlikely to break your fast because it contains no calories and should not affect your blood sugar levels.
However, the only way to be 100 per cent sure of remaining in a fasted state is to only drink water during your fasting window, and to save all of your other drinks and supplements for during your eating window.
If you usually break your fast post workout in the morning and are planning on being strict about your fasting, you could try taking a small dose of creatine as the final thing you consume the night before, and then taking another dose after your workout.
The Bottom Line: Creatine contains no calories and it is not thought to have an effect on blood sugar and insulin levels. However, the only way to be sure of staying in a fasted state is to stick to water during your fasting window. It all depends on how strictly you plan on following your intermittent fasting protocol.
Anything Else To Consider?
As we have already mentioned earlier in this article, you should not try intermittent fasting if you have any underlying medical condition or are pregnant or breastfeeding, without having first sought advice from a certified medical professional.
Intermittent fasting can bring about some benefits, but it should be practiced in a safe and sensible way.
It is also a good idea to consult with your doctor before taking any kind of supplement or before making any major changes to your diet or lifestyle.
Getting health and into good shape requires a multi-pronged approach. You should be making sure that you’re sticking to a healthy, balanced and varied diet, are exercising regularly, and are giving your body enough time to recover properly with good quality sleep.
It’s always best not to view things such as intermittent fasting or creatine as ‘magic solutions’ on your fitness journey. It’s better to view them as tools which can help to support you when combined with the correct overall lifestyle choices.
Wrapping Things Up – Our Final Thoughts
That brings us to the end of our look at creatine and intermittent fasting.
We’ve walked you through the basic things that you need to know about both the supplement and fasting in general.
Simply put, if you want to practice intermittent fasting and be sure that you are not breaking your fast with creatine or any other supplements, then it’s best to save them for your eating window.
However, we think that creatine is likely to have only a minimal effect on your fasting protocol as it contains no calories and is not thought to have an effect on blood sugar and insulin levels.