Does Green Tea Break a Fast? When It Does and Doesn’t


Tea Facts /

So does green tea break a fast? Here’s where I discuss all the details around green tea, when it can be used for fasting, and how much, as well as when it doesn’t count towards fasting.

Let’s start with a summary and then get into a few more details…

An authentically brewed green tea has 2.45 calories per cup, less than the 50 calorie rule which is the maximum to remain in a fasted state. Adding sugar or other sweeteners to green tea can break your fast, even if it’s zero-calorie sweeteners due to the insulin response they can cause.

Strange to think that a whole cup of green tea doesn’t come near to breaking a fast, so let’s look at why that is…

Why green tea doesn’t break a fast

In order to understand why a cup of authentic green tea doesn’t break a fast, we need to dive into a little background.

The general rule of fasting is that you need to stay under 50 calories to remain in a fasted state.

In other words, during the fasting window, you have to ensure that whatever you eat or drink is under 50 calories. Achieving this is a challenge with many foods and beverage varieties.

This is why most recommend sticking to just to water, lemon water, or sparkling water during the fasting window- as they’re all under 50 calories.

Luckily green tea has only 2.45 calories per cup (an authentically brewed green tea that is). This is a lot less than 50 calories even having 3-4 cups of green tea during your fasting window will not break a fast. 

green tea leaves

But what green tea doean’t break a fast?

Authentic green tea

Again it’s important to emphasize that this principle is true for an authentic green tea brew.

For those unaware of how an authentic green tea is brewed, in its simplest form, it’s just green tea infused in hot water …at the precise temperature for a set amount of time.

Although this may sound bland, the right temperature of the water and a good quality green tea unfolds unique, elegant, and earthy flavors that can be a delight to the tastebuds. 

It would also be best to say here that green tea apart from not breaking your fast can also aid you with it. Let’s get on to that next…

And also, here are some other teas that you might be interested in that may or may not break your fast…

Does Chamomile tea break a fast

Will Hibiscus tea break a fast

Does Chai break a fast

Does Peppermint tea break a fast

Can honey break a fast

How green tea aids fasting

A high-quality green tea has caffeine and catechins. These elements increase the body’s energy expenditure.

As a result, you burn more calories and energy than you normally would during regular fasting.

On average you can burn up to 4% more calories a day than you would with fasting without drinking green tea. 

Another important thing …or perhaps one of the most complicated aspects of fasting is in reducing your appetite, or those annoying in-between meal cravings!

This is one of the reasons why many fail to complete their intermittent fasting period and achieve the desired results.

Green tea can balance hormones like leptin and ghrelin, which can manage your hunger and satiety levels. This all helps with hunger suppression, thereby making fasting much easier.

Green tea helps Weight loss during fasting

Green tea is rich in antioxidants and catechins which increases the production of detoxification properties. This supports the natural detox process known as “Autophagy”.

Detoxing helps with weight loss, especially in losing belly fat, which can benefit fasting goals.

Besides, “Autophagy” also flushes out damaged cells and promotes the regeneration of new cells. This in turn helps in protecting muscle mass and preventing age-related diseases.

Limit green tea to 3-4 cups during fasting

Although green tea will not break your fast, you should limit intake to 3-4 cups per day as its caffeine properties may complicate fasting. Generally, green tea has lower caffeine levels than black tea, but high-quality green tea could contain more caffeine than low-quality black tea.

What happens when you ingest too much caffeine is it can result in the jittery effects of caffeine which, in turn, can aggravate your anxiety and alertness.

Firstly: Too much caffeine may prevent you from getting quality sleep. And getting quality sleep is key to your fasting as it suppresses your temptation to eat. 

Secondly: The 8-hour sleeping period also counts as fasting. This sleeping time also makes it easier for you to wait for the much-anticipated eating window. So if you’re not able to get proper sleep because of the effects of caffeine, it’ll only complicate your fasting window.

Here’s more information about caffeine levels in green tea.

When green tea does break a fast

You’ll note that previously I referred to fasting with “authentic” green tea. This is because only an authentic green tea brew will not break your fast.

So, as you can guess, any other calorie additions you make to this authentic brew can potentially break your fast.

Generally, the two additions many people make to an authentic brew is either milk or sugar/sweeteners. When you make these two additions to a green tea, it will break your fast. The reasons are as follows:

Adding milk to green tea

Milk, as you might be able to guess contains calories …any type of milk. Even if you’re considering adding non-fat milk, remember that one cup of non-fat milk has 91 calories. This is still higher than the 50 calories required to keep you in a fasted state. Even green tea lattes have milk added to them, which can break your fast.

Can you put milk in green tea

Milk in green tea

In fact, some might wonder whether you should add milk to green tea anyway, even when not fasting. It’s an interesting discussion.

But anyway, the other is adding sugar…

Adding sugar to green tea

Sugar is also high in calories. One teaspoon of sugar has 16 calories.

But Michael, I already know this…

Yes, but green tea – to some people – can have a rather bitter taste, but they like and want the benefits it brings. So as a matter of course they add one or more teaspoons of sugar to make it palatable. 

This can break their 50 calories rule and thereby take them out of a fasted state. If this is you, then you just need to be aware of it and change that habit while fasting.

do you put sugar in green tea

However, even if you consider adding only one teaspoon it’s still not a good plan – and will still break you’re fast (see below).

The reason for this also aligns with why you cannot add honey or any other low-calorie or even zero-calorie sweeteners. There’s more info here on how honey breaks a fast.

Also, take a look at my other article about sugar in green tea.

So what about sweeteners?

The main reason behind any sweetener …even if it’s the tiniest amount is that they’ll create an insulin response that can break your fast. I know …you just can’t win right?

One main purpose of fasting, especially if it’s for weight loss is to achieve ketosis. 

Ketosis is where your body use ketone bodies for energy instead of fat and carbs. Insulin suppresses ketone production.

Similarly, insulin response will also stop the process called “Autophagy” which I alluded to earlier.

This is a process that’s used to trick your metabolism into working for longer and burning fat faster while you fast.

One of the reasons behind the 50 calorie rule is to achieve “Autophagy”. 

So even if you decide that a little bit of cheating isn’t really cheating, then just taking the tiniest amount of sugar, honey, or zero-calorie sweetener – which technically is below 50 calories – may still cause a response in your insulin.

This will break the main fasting goals of “Ketosis” and “Autophagy”. So make sure you don’t add any sweeteners including sugar to your green tea during your fasting window. And yes, you hiding at the back… that includes you!

More tea help…

I hope this helped provide an answer to the question does green tea break a fast.

You could take your mind completely off fasting, and get into teas more with my tea sommelier course

tea sommelier course

Take the fast track to become a tea connoisseur

Whether for enjoyment or considering a career as a tea sommelier. This course has everything you need to enhance your tea knowledge and tea tasting skills.

This course keeps it simple with step by step tea tasting, and easy reference guides

For pleasure, or as a precursor to a career in the tea industry. Find out what a tea sommelier actually does, career paths, and what they earn.

Find out more about the Teahow Tea Sommelier Course!

Find out more about the Teahow Tea Sommelier Course!