Can You Drink Milk During Intermittent Fasting? Here’s The Sip

Mehak Shah

May 12, 2023

Intermittent fasting, or IF, has gained popularity recently as a promising way to achieve weight loss and improve human health. It involves alternating periods of eating and fasting, with various patterns ranging from 16-hour fasts to 24-hour fasts or more. Many people have successfully adopted this dietary strategy. However, a question still concerns those considering it is whether certain foods and beverages are permissible.

Knowing what to eat and avoid is essential in any dietary strategy. Not only can it make or break your weight loss efforts, but it can also impact your overall health. Some foods can lead to unwanted side effects, while others can enhance the benefits of the dietary strategy. First, let us delve into whether milk is permissible in intermittent fasting. So, if you’ve been wondering whether your morning latte will ruin your fast, sit back, relax, and let’s explore this topic together.

Understanding Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting (IF), a kind of eating, alternates between times of fasting and eating. There are various approaches to intermittent fasting. The most common strategies are the 16-8 approach, the 5:2 diet, and cease eating. However, instead of emphasising the particular foods you should eat, it concentrates on the timing of your meals. As a result, it is an eating habit rather than a diet in the conventional sense. In truth, periodically fasting is more natural than regularly eating 3–4 (or more) meals per day.

The primary objective of intermittent fasting is to induce a state of ketosis. During ketosis, the body utilises fat reserves instead of glucose from carbohydrates for energy. Your body can use stored fat as fuel while you fast because insulin levels drop. Additionally, intermittent fasting potentially raises human growth hormone (HGH) levels, aiding muscle gain and fat loss.

Since you have less time to eat within the eating window, intermittent fasting might also reduce calorie consumption. In addition, people use it to improve their health because, according to a study, it enhances metabolic health and positively impacts health and specific disorders.


Intermittent fasting is an eating habit that alternates between periods of fasting and eating. It does not focus on particular foods but instead emphasises the timing of meals. This eating habit can induce ketosis, where the body utilises stored fat as fuel instead of glucose from carbohydrates for energy, potentially aiding muscle gain and fat loss. Intermittent fasting can also reduce calorie consumption as there is less time to eat within the eating window. Studies have shown it can improve metabolic health and positively impact overall health and specific disorders.

Milk and Intermittent Fasting: Does it Break the Fast?

Milk has been a staple in human diets for centuries and is known for its nutritional value. However, when it comes to intermittent fasting, milk might not be the best choice. Fasting involves avoiding food and liquids or consuming a limited number of calories during a specific period. Milk contains calories, lactose, and other factors that can interfere with fasting.

Impact on Blood Sugar and Fat Burning

Milk contains calories and nutrients, including lactose. According to a study, drinking milk will trigger an insulin response in the body. The spike in insulin levels can lead to higher blood sugar levels and prevent the body from burning fat for energy. Insulin also helps the body store food-derived energy. Therefore, consuming milk during a fasting period can break the fast and interfere with fat burning.

Impact on Gut Health

Milk can negatively affect intestinal health, particularly for people who are lactose intolerant. Drinking milk can cause bloating, gas, diarrhoea, and stomach pain due to lactose. Additionally, research shows that casein, a protein found in milk, is challenging to digest and can form curds in the stomach, leading to bloating, constipation, and pain.

Impact on Hormones

Milk consumption during intermittent fasting can also affect the body’s hormone levels. Milk contains oestrogen, a naturally occurring hormone in the body, which can increase oestrogen levels when consumed. Research shows that high levels of oestrogen can lead to weight gain, mental abnormalities, and an increased risk of certain types of cancer. Milk consumption during fasting can also interfere with the body’s hormone balance, making it harder to lose weight and achieve other health objectives.

Autophagy Prevention

Autophagy is the body’s natural process of disposing of damaged cells, promoting cellular repair, and reducing inflammation. However, drinking milk while on an intermittent fast can stop autophagy. The body converts milk proteins into amino acids, including leucine. Research shows that these amino acids can start a process that prevents autophagy. Thus, milk consumption during fasting periods can diminish the benefits of autophagy, such as increased longevity and general health.


Although milk is a nutrient-dense beverage, it may not be suitable for consumption during intermittent fasting. That is because milk contains lactose, calories, and hormones that can interfere with fasting and affect gut health, hormones, and autophagy. Therefore, one must avoid milk during fasting periods and choose other beverages that do not contain calories or nutrients.

Milk Alternative: Is It Recommended During Intermittent Fasting?

Plant-based milk, a dairy substitute made by blending water with nuts, seeds, grains, or legumes, is becoming increasingly popular. However, is it permissible during intermittent fasting? Let’s take a closer look.

Caloric Content of Plant-Based Milk

Although people generally consider plant-based milk a nutritious alternative to dairy milk, it is essential to note that its calorie content varies depending on the type and brand. Some plant-based milk has higher calorie counts than others, and consuming them in large amounts may break your fast.

Strict Fasting Protocols

If you adhere to a strict fasting protocol, such as the water-only or the dry fast, avoiding plant-based milk during fasting times is recommended. That is because even small amounts of plant-based milk may break your fast, hindering the weight loss and other health benefits of fasting.

Flexible Fasting Strategies

Suppose you follow a more flexible fasting strategy, such as the 16:8 method. In that case, you can consume plant-based milk in moderation. However, it is essential to note that plant-based milk may increase insulin levels, which can reduce the effectiveness of fasting in promoting weight loss and other health benefits. Therefore, it is advisable to limit the intake of plant-based milk during fasting periods and consume it only in moderation.


Plant-based milk is a nutritious dairy substitute that is becoming increasingly popular. However, regarding intermittent fasting, milk’s calorie content and potential impact on insulin levels are important considerations. If you follow a strict fasting protocol like the water-only or dry fast, avoiding plant-based milk during fasting periods is best. But if you follow a more flexible fasting method, like the 16:8 method, you can consume plant-based milk in moderation. Overall, it is crucial to keep the intake of plant-based milk limited during fasting periods to get the most out of the health benefits of fasting.

How to Choose a Beverage During Intermittent Fasting?

Choosing suitable beverages during intermittent fasting is crucial for maintaining hydration, getting adequate nutrition, and reaping the health benefits of fasting. Given below are some science-backed tips.

Opt for low-calorie drinks: Calorie-conscious beverages are crucial to maintaining the calorie deficit necessary for intermittent fasting. Avoid sugary drinks and beverages with artificial sweeteners that can increase insulin levels and break the fast.

Prioritise hydration: Staying hydrated is essential, especially during the fasting period. Water is best, but you can choose low-calorie drinks such as coconut water and herbal teas.

Choose nutrient-rich beverages: Your body needs nourishment even during fasting. Drinks high in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, like green tea, bone broth, and herbal teas, can provide the necessary nutrients.

Follow your fasting schedule’s guidelines: Different intermittent fasting schedules have varying policies on what you can eat and drink. For instance, the 16/8 method allows you to drink water, herbal tea and black coffee during fasting periods. Know the restrictions associated with your fasting strategy and choose your drinks accordingly.

What to Drink During Intermittent Fasting: The Best Beverages

Intermittent fasting is a popular way to lose weight and enhance physical health, but what should one drink during fasting? Staying hydrated is critical to prevent dehydration and maintain good health during fasting. Here are some of the most recommended beverages to drink while fasting:


Water is the most essential beverage to consume during fasting periods. It contains no calories, sugar, or artificial sweeteners, making it the ideal drink to preserve good health. Drinking adequate water can also help prevent hunger and maintain a feeling of fullness during fasting. According to studies, one must consume at least eight glasses of water daily and even more to stay hydrated during fasting. Plain or flavoured water with lemon, cucumber, or mint is an excellent option.

Black Coffee

Black coffee is an excellent drink to stay hydrated and lose weight during fasting periods. Caffeine helps to support ketosis and lower insulin sensitivity, according to studies. Drinking coffee can also curb your appetite, making it easier to maintain your fast and lose weight more quickly. Black coffee is an excellent option because it has no calories, sugar, or artificial sweeteners. However, avoid milk or cream, as it can break the fast.


Tea is a great way to stay energised during fasting periods. Choose plain tea without sugar or artificial flavours, and there are many unsweetened teas to choose from, including black tea, green tea, and chamomile tea.

Bone Broth

Bone broth is an excellent option for staying hydrated and replenishing electrolytes lost during fasting periods. Some people who fast intermittently also consume bone broth. Despite having some calories and protein, bone broth usually has a low enough calorie count permissible during fasting periods. However, choosing a bone broth with low sodium content and no additional sugars or flavourings is essential.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Diluted apple cider vinegar is one of the healthiest beverages to consume during the fasting window. It contains almost no calories or carbohydrates, making it an ideal drink during fasting periods. It is also a great way to combat cravings and hunger. However, excessive consumption of apple cider vinegar can be dangerous, so it is essential to drink it in moderation.


Choosing suitable beverages during intermittent fasting is essential for maintaining hydration, providing proper nutrition, and benefiting from fasting. Low-calorie drinks like coconut water, herbal tea, and black coffee are ideal options. Nutrient-rich drinks like bone broth and green tea can provide necessary nutrients. When consumed in moderation, apple cider vinegar can help curb cravings and hunger. Knowing the restrictions associated with your fasting schedule and choosing your beverages is essential.

HealthifyMe Suggestion

Try infusing water with herbs and fruit. Besides hydrating you, it can also help you stay full for longer, making it easier to stick to your fast. Add your favourite fruits and herbs, such as lemon, mint, or cucumber, to a water pitcher and leave it for a few hours to infuse the flavours. You can add a pinch of cinnamon or turmeric for an extra flavour boost and potential health benefits. This refreshing and healthy alternative to sugary beverages can help you stay on track with your weight loss goals.

The Final Word

While milk is a nutrient-dense beverage that has been a staple in human diets for centuries, it may not be the best option during fasting periods. It is because milk contains lactose, calories, and hormones that can interfere with fasting and affect gut health, hormones, and autophagy. Therefore, it is advisable to avoid milk during fasting periods and choose other beverages that do not contain calories or nutrients. 

Plant-based milk, which is becoming increasingly popular, may be a healthier alternative during fasting periods. However, as always, it’s essential to consult a healthcare provider before starting any new dietary strategy.

Disclaimer: The purpose of this article is just to disperse knowledge and raise awareness. It does not intend to replace medical advice from professionals. For further information, please contact our certified nutritionists Here.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Can I drink milk during intermittent fasting?

A: Drinking milk during fasting may result in an insulin rise due to lactose, a sugar in dairy products like milk. It can disturb the fasting state and affect your final results. Hence, it is advisable to avoid milk consumption during intermittent fasting.

Q: Will drinking milk break my fast?

A: Yes, consuming milk will end your fast as it contains calories, carbohydrates, and proteins that speed up digestion and break a fast. The main objective of fasting is to enter a state of ketosis, where the body burns stored fat for energy instead of glucose from food. Any calorie- or nutrient-containing food or beverage can interrupt this process.

Q: Does the type of milk matter when fasting?

A: Yes, the type of milk you consume while fasting can make a difference, even skim milk. Lactose, a naturally occurring sugar, is present in all kinds of dairy milk, which can induce a metabolic response and halt fasting. Therefore, it’s crucial to avoid consuming carbohydrates, fat, and protein during your fasting period.

Q: How much milk can I drink during intermittent fasting?

A: Your overall calorie and nutritional needs and the type of fasting you follow will determine how much milk you can consume during intermittent fasting. However, even a small amount of milk can break the fast, so it’s essential to avoid it altogether.

Q: Can I add milk to my coffee or tea during fasting?

A: Adding milk to your coffee or tea during fasting can end your fast as it contains calories and nutrients that can speed up digestion and break the fast. However, a small amount of milk may not significantly impact your overall caloric intake or raise your blood sugar levels.

Q: Will drinking milk affect the benefits of intermittent fasting?

A: Yes, drinking milk can impact the benefits of intermittent fasting by halting the process of achieving a state of ketosis, where the body burns fat reserves instead of glucose from food. Consuming milk or other calorie- and nutrient-rich liquids can diminish the benefits of fasting.

Q: Can I consume milk alternatives like almond or soy milk during intermittent fasting?

A: Whether you consume milk substitutes like almond or soy milk during intermittent fasting depends on the type of fasting you follow and your personal preferences. Almond or soy milk is a better option than dairy milk during fasting as they have fewer calories and less of an influence on blood sugar levels.

Q: What are the potential risks of consuming milk during intermittent fasting?

A: Some potential risks of consuming milk during intermittent fasting include breaking your fast, elevated insulin levels, and intestinal discomfort.

Q: Will drinking milk cause an insulin response during fasting?

A: Yes, milk consumption during fasting can result in an insulin response due to lactose, a sugar that can raise insulin levels. It can prevent the body from burning fat and storing glucose in the liver and muscles, which reduces the benefits of fasting, such as weight loss and improved insulin sensitivity.

Research Sources

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3. Laatikainen R, Salmenkari H, Sibakov T, Vapaatalo H, Turpeinen A. Randomised Controlled Trial: Partial Hydrolysation of Casein Protein in Milk Decreases Gastrointestinal Symptoms in Subjects with Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders. Nutrients. 2020 Jul 18;12(7):2140. DoI: 10.3390/nu12072140. PMID: 32708428; PMCID: PMC7400865.

4. Cleary MP, Grossmann ME. Minireview: Obesity and breast cancer: the estrogen connection. Endocrinology. 2009 Jun;150(6):2537-42. doi: 10.1210/en.2009-0070. Epub 2009 Apr 16. PMID: 19372199; PMCID: PMC2689796.

5. Meijer AJ, Lorin S, Blommaart EF, Codogno P. Regulation of autophagy by amino acids and MTOR-dependent signal transduction. Amino Acids. 2015 Oct;47(10):2037-63. DoI: 10.1007/s00726-014-1765-4. Epub 2014 Jun 1. PMID: 24880909; PMCID: PMC4580722.

6. Valtin H. “Drink at least eight glasses of water a day.” Really? Is there scientific evidence for “8 x 8”? Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2002 Nov;283(5):R993-1004. DoI: 10.1152/ajpregu.00365.2002. PMID: 12376390.

7. Vandenberghe C, St-Pierre V, Courchesne-Loyer A, Hennebelle M, Castellano CA, Cunnane SC. Caffeine intake increases plasma ketones: an acute metabolic study in humans. Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 2017 Apr;95(4):455-458. DoI: 10.1139/cjpp-2016-0338. Epub 2016 Nov 25. PMID: 28177691.

About the Author

Mehak holds masters in foods and nutrition from Amity university, Noida. She has a keen interest in public health and nutrition and has been in charge of various projects with milestone NGO. She has worked with people over the globe to bring out the changes in their lives and has always been working towards lifestyle modifications via good dietary practices. According to her a healthy lifestyle is not about the destination but all about the journey.

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