How to break a fast?
It is much more important to know how to break the fast rather than how to do the fast. Those who follow intermittent fasting run into some common obstacles because they make some mistakes when they break the fast. In this article, we are going to discuss some blunders that we make when we are eating after a fast.
First, we need to understand how digestion works
The process of digestion happens in two phases. It starts with chewing and then it goes into the stomach. This process is a complex one that involves, for example, the saliva in the mouth breaking down food particles into smaller pieces. To digest food, you need to have stomach acid and an enzyme called trypsin. This is the natural rhythm of digestion
But when we fast, this rhythm gets interrupted. When we fast, there is no food available for digestion. So our digestive process goes into a resting phase. Fasting slows down the digestive process.
Pancreatic enzymes and stomach acid slow down because they are not needed during fasting.
How much should you eat when you break your fast?
A lot of food after fasting will be devastating for your digestive system. If you are doing a fast for more than 24 hours you should take it slowly. It’s like a motorcycle engine when you don’t use the motorcycle for many days you need to start the engine for a few minutes before you can hit the road.
In the same process, our digestive system needs time to recover from the resting phase.
Eating too quickly after a fast is also a big problem. When we don’t eat for a long time we think that we need to compensate by eating more and more. So we eat more than our body can handle and we face some common problems like
How much you are eating and how quickly your body can digest plays a very important role when you are breaking a fast.
Physical hunger vs psychological hunger
The difference between psychological hunger and psychological hunger Physical hunger tends to be a lot less because we don’t feel much of it. But the need to eat something tends to be very high.
After fasting for a prolonged period our body starts to get the alternative fuel from ketones. So our physical hunger is not there but our psychological hunger is more, so we eat more, and that makes the situation worse.
Fasting less than 24 hours
When we fast less than 24 hours we generally don’t face this kind of psychological hunger. Also, our body is in much better shape to handle varieties of food.
Foods to avoid when breaking a fast
Few foods are good after fasting. You should avoid these foods
-Nuts and seeds
These are some foods that are not easier to digest. It needs more enzymes and stomach acid to break the food. In the fasting state, our digestive system doesn’t produce enough enzymes and stomach acid to digest these kinds of foods
Best way to break a fast
A simple trick you can do is to make your body ready to digest varieties of foods. The trick is a small pre-meal before the main meal. Plan a pre-meal 30 minutes before your main meal.
The pre-meal should consist of a small portion of cooked vegetables ( avoid raw vegetables, nuts, and eggs ). Remember you need to cook the vegetables before taking them. Cooking makes vegetables easier to digest.
Be careful when you are fasting for more than 5 days
In this case, you have to care of refeeding syndrome
In the 40s and 50s, this kind of thing happened because of war
Refeeding syndrome is a condition that occurs when people have been starved of food and have had nothing but liquid for a prolonged period of time. In some cases, the body uses proteins from organs to fuel the brain.
After prolonged fasting, the levels of the blood minerals and vitamins go down. When we eat after prolonged fastings (usually after 5 days) minerals like magnesium phosphorus and thiamine all go to the cells to make new cells. Because many cells get destroyed after fasting. this process makes the level of minerals go low in the blood. It can lead to some severe health-related problems. It can even cause heart rhythm disturbances.
The key hormone for this is insulin because it signals all these vitamins and minerals to go into the cell.
Medicines are another thing to keep in mind. If you are taking antacids for a long time. magnesium and aluminum can bind Phosphorus in the blood.
Phosphorus is a key mineral in the blood. Low Phosphorus can increase the chance of heart failure or heart weakness
The other group of medication is diuretics which is often used for high blood pressure. It makes you pee more. It tends to deplete the body of electrolytes.
In this case, magnesium and potassium are the key electrolytes. so be careful if you are taking those medications
When you break a fast always take it slow. The longer you fast the slower you should go.`
Sweets tend to stimulate the appetite. So it would be difficult to slowly break the fast. Things like artificial sweeteners will make you more hungry. It will increase the psychological need for food. . Therefore you are going to tend to over eat. Try to avoid sugar substitutes or artificial sweeteners.
By avoiding the tips mentioned above you can break your fast properly. Make sure you do it in a healthy way.