As a general rule of thumb, if you drink anything below 50 calories, you’ll remain in a fasted state. So how does that apply to Chai tea? Does Chai tea break a fast?
Masala chai is a blend of several ingredients and so has a complex nutrient profile. Drinking a cup of most teas without sugar will not break your fast.
Masala chai will break a fast. Authentic chai made using whole milk and a blend of usual ingredients contains 200 calories. This breaks the 50 calorie fasting rule. Even making Chai using ½ cup whole milk and ½ cup water with sugar counts as 105 calories on average, which is still too high.
To simplify it further, 100ml of whole milk has 62 calories which comprise 49% fat, 30% carbs, and 21% protein. One tbsp of sugar has approximately 48 calories, while one tsp of sugar has 20 calories.
I’m going to move on to the low-calorie method for Masala Chai, and then the actual fasting method for Chai. But first, let’s get an idea of the nutritional values involved.
Nutritional values in Masala Chai
Below is a clearer breakdown of what the calories in a standard cup of chai tea comprise in terms of nutritional elements.
|Chai Nutritional Elements||Percentage Value|
So one cup of authentic Masala chai will contain 240ml of whole milk which is approximately 150 calories.
With one tbsp of sugar (Some versions of masala chai tea calls for 1and ½ tbsp of sugar or more), which is 48 calories, the total calorie count then adds up to 198… so approximately 200 calories.
So overall, one cup of masala chai can provide up to 5 percent of the daily standard calorie requirement of an adult which is 200 calories.
Therefore it’s clear that a cup of masala chai will break your fast. It’s twice above the general rule of thumb of 50 calories, which is required to stay in a fasted state.
Do all Masala chai varieties break your fast?
In general, most of the variations of Masala chai will add up to a calorie count that will break your fast.
Starting from the classic masala chai tea variation, it calls for whole milk, which accounts for 200 calories. This calorie count of the signature masala chai is approaching that of a can of soda.
Alternatively, if you make the same masala chai with soya milk, it contains 180 calories. Whereas if you switch to low-fat milk it’ll total up to 140 calories for the 24ml of low fat milk alone.
And going further into the low-calorie area, adding fat-free milk will total 90 calories per cup of masala chai.
Below is a breakdown of calories in Masala Chai with these types of milk for a quick grasp. I’ve added the sweetening agent calorie counts below. So you can figure out what your best option is by adding them together to your taste.
|Type of Chai Milk & Sweetener||Calories (Approx)|
|Half Fat Free Milk, Half Water||45|
|1 Tablespoon sugar||48|
|1 Teaspoon sugar||20|
|1 Teaspoon honey||22|
|½ Teaspoon honey||16|
More on the calorie counts for a standard Masala Chai can be found here.
To be more on the low-calorie side, you can add half a cup of non-fat milk and half a teaspoon of honey. This will bring the calorie count down to 75 calories, almost closer to the 50 calorie thumb rule – but still, this may not quite be enough.
Let’s go into that a bit more next…
Low-calorie method for brewing Masala Chai
Alternatively, to get as close as possible to the fasting limit and still get the taste of Masala Chai you could try another method for brewing…
This method uses half a cup of water and half a cup of milk to equal a full cup of masala chai.
Using this method, the spices and tea are infused in half a cup of boiling water and then half cup of low-fat milk is added.
This brewing method usually calls for sugar but you could add half a teaspoon of honey instead.
But be warned, if you try this method so that it dilutes the milk and replaces sugar with honey to keep calories low, it still won’t keep to within the 50 calorie fasting rule, unless you’re using totally fat-free milk.
When you take half a cup of fat-free milk to half a cup of water to brew your masala chai, it can amount to around 30 calories. This then is already over halfway to the 50 calorie fasting rule.
But, remember that fat-free milk on its own doesn’t have a rich taste. And diluting it further may not provide the best masala chai taste.
There’s no harm in trying this to get as close to fasting as possible, and again, adding honey as a sweetener for this tea will break your fast.
Using any sweetener …even if it does not have many calories, will still spike up your insulin levels. This, in turn, will disrupt your fasting state.
In other words, when you consume any sweeteners, it will trigger the pancreas to release insulin.
Does Chai tea break a fast – Coming out of Ketosis
When this triggers, your body moves out of ketosis (an important state if you’re aiming for weight loss through fasting using this method).
This means your body will start using what you ate or drank as its primary source of energy …and as a result, it will break your fast.
So it’s pretty clear that even if you use the lower calorie version of ingredients to make a regular masala chai, it still does not match the calorie rule (50 calories) or insulin levels needed to keep you in a fasted state.
But non-fat or fat-free milk in place of whole milk and honey in place of sugar, or even trying the diluting method is the nearest you’re likely to get to a fasting masala chai. The same can be said of milk tea.
The best fasting method for Masala Chai
If you want to bring down the calorie count of your masala chai as low as possible to keep it closer to the 50 calorie rule while fasting then use the following points:-
- Serve 100ml of Chai instead of the standard 240ml serving
- 100 ml of full fat milk has around 58 calories so use low fat.
- One tablespoon of sugar has approximately 48 calories, while one teaspoon has 20 calories
- There are 62 calories in 100 ml of whole milk with 49% fat, 30% carbs, 21% protein
There’s more information about various brewing methods in my Tea Sommelier Course…
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How does the calorie content in Masala chai relate to breaking your fast?
In general, you can burn 60 calories per hour just by sitting, of these, 36 calories are fat.
So if you drink the lowest 75 calorie masala chai while fasting, you’ll pause fat burning for about one and a half hours.
This means for every 36 calories you get from your masala chai, you’ll pause your fat burning for 1 hour.
This is why it’s always recommended to stick to the general rule of thumb – 50 calories while fasting.
Apart from this, when you drink a masala chai tea with a complex nutrient profile, the body will stop the activities of fasting such as cleansing cells, repairing cells, getting rid of toxins, and burning fat …in order to focus on digesting the nutrients you’ve consumed.
It’s a sure-fire way of interfering with your fasting benefits.
During digestion – depending on the type of food and the nutrient profile, the body will need to invest time and energy to analyze, assimilate and push the fluid around.
Make sure the body is protected against the toxins in your tea, and overall make sure all cells receive the nutrient they need.
Alternatives to Masala Chai for fasting
By contrast, water or plain black or green tea is very simple and doesn’t require such complicated sorting or digestion processes.
This is why many other types of tea (without sugar) are considered not to break your fast and are of course lower in calories than a masala chai.
Related fasting tea topics
These related articles may help for those tea addicts who are also fasting and want to know more…
Of course, these are guides on valories only. Many authorities vary slightly in their assessment of exact calorie counts for ingredients.
It sounds like I’m suggesting you do not drink Masala Chai if you’re fasting, and the truth is I am saying that. Masala Chai in any form will most likely break your fast. Masala Chai in a low enough calorie recipe just isn’t going to be the same as your familiar cup of Masala Chai anyway.
So until your fasting period ends, perhaps look for a lower calorie alternative, and enjoy your favorite Chai afterward …perhaps by way of celebration! And don’t forget to check out my Tea Sommelier Course!