Does Honey Break a Fast? the Facts, and What You Should Do!


Tea Facts, Tea Guides /

Green tea and other teas such as Blue tea, Senna tea and Catherine tea are widely used for weight loss purposes, so it’s not surprising that many would like to add honey to sweeten their tea – and search for other options when on a fast. But does honey break a fast?

I’ve written an entire article regarding adding sugar to green tea, as well as numerous articles on weight loss teas.

So here I’m going to address the question does honey break a fast, and provide the research and science behind it.

Before I get into the details, here’s the quick summary answer…

Does honey break a fast? Honey breaks a fast because of the following:

  • One Tbsp. of honey contains 70 calories, greater than the 50 calories limit to stay in a fasted state
  • Honey contains carbohydrates that can stop your body from reaching ketosis, which helps fat burning
  • The sweetness from the honey will spike insulin and prolong your body into not burning fat

Although this may not be the answer you wanted to hear, honey does indeed break a fast.

Before moving on, I’ll pause, so we can overcome that awkward silence about all those times you added lashings of honey to your green tea!

Fasting state without honey

Before we begin looking in more detail, it’s important to mention that your body will remain in a fast state only if intake is below 50 calories, this is a widely accepted rule of thumb.

In other words, if you eat or drink something that exceeds 50 calories, your body will break its fasting state.

The 50 calorie count rule can be difficult to maintain with most types of food and drinks. … and even if you do manage it, there are still other properties that may break your fast.

This is one of the main reasons why those that are fasting are highly advised to stick to just water during the fasting window – for intermittent fasting.

honey

Does honey break a fast?

With that background set up, let’s expand on the fact that honey breaks a fast, and this is down to three main reasons …which are as follows:-

1. Honey contains calories

Firstly, yes, honey contains calories, and fasting rarely go hand in hand.

This is because one of the main reasons for fasting, especially intermittent fasting is to burn existing fat stores, and taking on calories can interrupt this fat burning process.

For example, if you eat three meals a day and keep snacking with no exercise, your body will make use of (burn) all those calories you’ve been taking throughout the day.

This then means that only the calories you take every day will burn, leaving your fat stores untouched and intact. So you’ll be highly unlikely to lose weight.

What happens when you fast is that you cease your calorie intake, this then forces your body to burn off and make use of your existing fat stores for energy and thereby helping you lose weight. It’s really that simple!

Where does honey come into it?

So for the question does honey break a fast, well, a tablespoon of honey contains 70 calories.

This is above the 50 calorie rule of thumb needed to keep you in a “fasting state” and so the honey will break your fast.

2. Honey contains carbohydrates

Honey contains carbs. 3.53oz (100 grams) of honey has about 2.89 oz (82 grams) of carbs.

The purpose of fasting is mainly to refrain from eating any form of calories or carbs, with a view to cutting the calories being the main purpose.

While there are many controversies regarding how much carbs will break your fast, keeping away from any carbs during fasting is highly recommended in order to reach a stage called Ketosis. 

Ketosis is where your body will lack enough carbohydrates to burn as energy.

So when your body reaches a stage of ketosis, it will begin to burn fat for fuel and energy instead of carbs  – thereby supporting fat burn and weight loss. 

However, experts also believe that as long as you stay under 50 carbs, your body can maintain ketosis.

To keep your body under 50 carbs you can take one tablespoon 0.74oz, (21 grams) of honey which has about 0.6oz (17 grams) of carbs.

But again, there’s still this calorie content in honey that will break your fast even if you take that 0.6oz of carbs in honey.

Also, let’s not forget there are also other reasons apart from carbs and calories which can still break your fast if you take honey, which is the insulin spike.

3. Honey will spike your insulin

Honey is sweet, the reason why many want to take honey during fasting is to avoid the sweet cravings during the fasting window.

Apart from this, honey is indeed a natural sweetener and does have more healthy properties than sugar or any other form of artificial sweeteners. 

But unfortunately, the sweet taste of honey can spike up your insulin, which can break your fast.

The insulin response by the pancreas from taking honey will prolong your body to not burn fat or use it for energy.

And as might know, the main purpose of fasting is to make the body use stored fat for energy, thereby burning the fat in the body.

So yes, honey as a sweetening agent will break your fast. 

Does having tea or water with honey break your fast?

When fasting it’s natural to get sweet cravings and any sugar whatsoever is a BIG no as it will break your fast.

So then comes the natural sweetener honey, adding a pinch or less than half a teaspoon of honey to your tea or water will not break your fast.

This is because less than half a teaspoon of honey will have less than the recommended 50 calories or 50 carbs and so will not break your fast.

The same applies even if you consume raw honey which is less than a teaspoon. 

However, honey is still sweet and does have its sweetening properties, which will spike up your insulin and prolong burning fat while fasting, breaking the purpose of a fast. 

So even if you take honey in the right amount, which will give carbs and calories in the right amount to keep you in a fasted state, the sweetness can still spike your insulin and break your body’s state of fasting.

This is also the reason why some experts recommend avoiding any form of sweeteners during fasting, even if they may have zero calories or zero carbs.

So honey in tea breaks my fast?

Yes, sadly, this rules out taking honey in your tea. Half a spoon might be ok, but the insulin spike is what spoils your fast. Therefore no honey, and in fact, no sweeteners are an option. Thankfully, tea has properties that aid slimming, so rest in the knowledge you are still helping your diet and weight loss regime.

honey to sweeten green tea

Alternative drinks without honey during intermittent fasting?

HJere;’s the list of drinks you can take during fasting, without sugar or honey.

1. Water

Not only does water prevent dehydration and contain zero calories, but it also staves off hunger which can really help during a fast. Trying mineral water can also add essential minerals and vitamins to combat things like headaches and nausea.

A splash of lemon to make it a lemon drink can also offer you some much-needed vitamin C.

Interestingly, drinking plenty of water can also help you lose pounds. We explore how. 

2. Tea

Tea is a perfect option when fasting, without honey of course. But not only does it contain great water content, but some teas are also perfect as an aid to fasting with huge antioxidant properties. Green Tea, White tea and Yellow tea all have great weight loss properties.

This will not only hydrate you, but provide a great taste, and will provide hours of entertainment, fun, and wellness!

Take your tea a step further and try Blue Ternate tea, Senna tea, or Catherine tea as part of a balanced weight loss regime.

Herbal tisanes such as Mint tea or Chamomile tea offer great alternatives too.

Combine all of these options with my Tea Sommelier Course to become your friends go-to expert on tea, and to create great tea tasting sessions for yourself, your friends, and family and the hours of fasting without honey – or sugar will just fly by! 

See also: Does Peppermint Tea Break a Fast
Can you have tea without milk along with the 14 Best Teas to Drink Without Milk!

3. Coffee

Plain black coffee is a great alternative drink, it’s warm and can keep you going with a caffeine hit when you hit a slow patch while fasting. The caffeine also gives a boost to your metabolism which helps weight loss too. 

4. Almond milk

Almond milk is a great but borderline alternative, it does contain trace elements of carbohydrates and around 39 calories, which is within the 50 calories fasting limit.

A serving of 3.5 fl oz (100 ml) is permissible during fasting. It will create a sensation of being full too. Just be aware that some products do contain sugar content of some kind, so be sure to read the label.

See also: How to Make Tea with Milk Powder

5. Stevia

One alternative is Stevia, a sweetener with zero calories. It will give you the sweet hit, but will not break your fast.

Just be careful which brands you choose as some contain glucose and similar products.

Distract yourself from Sugar

Why not help take away the idea of having honey in your tea by immersing yourself in my Tea Sommelier Course (Sugar not included!)

tea sommelier course

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Whether for enjoyment or because you’re 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!

2 Replies to “Does Honey Break a Fast? the Facts, and What You Should Do!”

  1. That’s an excellent comment Lal, 🙂 thank you for the input …and I’d say well worth a try! 🙂

  2. Hot drink made by adding small quantities of
    Cinnamon
    Ginger
    Green turmeric
    Tulsi leaves
    Cardamom
    boil them for 3-5 minutes and drink enjoying the good aroma and still not break your fast. How about that?

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