How To Break A Fast 2023: Everything You Must Know Post-Fast

Reviewed by Dr. Drew Sutton, MD

A team of qualified and experienced fact-checkers carefully reviews our content before it is published on our website. At MIDSS, we rely on the latest and most reliable sources, which are cited in the text and listed at the end of each article. We also do not accept plagiarised and misleading content from our authors and contributors. Read more about our fact check and editorial process.

how to break a fast
Breaking a fast properly can maximize the benefits of the fast. Photo: RossHelen/Shutterstock

While it surprises no one that “not eating” would become its own diet trend, fasting has become shockingly popular in the last few years. There are a variety of fasting methods with robust research behind them, such as intermittent fasting, time-restricted eating, and prolonged fasting.

Done right, these are effective approaches to weight management and overall health. Fasting can be a great way to kickstart weight loss and learn how to start eating healthy. However, most people focus on the details of the fasting periods rather than the transition back into regular eating. The latter is equally, if not more, important!

Breaking a fast properly can maximize the benefits of the fast. It aids in digestion and prevents unpleasant side effects such as bloating or upset stomach. Keep reading to learn more about how to safely break a fast.

How Should You Break A Fast?

Breaking a fast should be done gradually. If you introduce food too quickly or choose processed or junk food, you can end up with digestive problems and blood sugar issues. 

With mindful choices, you can healthily transition from fasting to eating. Start with introducing easily digestible foods like healthy fats, soups, hydrating fruits, and fermented foods. Listen to your body’s signals, stay hydrated, and eat mindfully!

How To Break A Fast?

We have established the importance of having healthy foods and carefully reintroducing food. Now let’s explore some of the best foods to break a fast.

Healthy Fats 

Healthy fats are good for breaking a fast

They are a fantastic way to break a fast. They’re gentle on your digestive system, provide long-lasting energy, and allow you to prolong or even prevent the transition out of ketosis.

Foods rich in healthy fats include coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, avocados, nuts, and seeds.


You can break a fast with soups. Photo: LN team/Shutterstock

Soup is an excellent option for breaking your fast. It’s easy to digest, hydrating, and packed full of nutrients.

Keep it simple, starting with vegetable or bone broth or a light chicken soup. Be careful with the fat content, as heavy cream and saturated fats can have the opposite effect you’re aiming for.

Hydrating Fruits

Hydration is vital after a fast.[1] Fresh juicy fruits like watermelon and cucumber are hydrating and pack a powerful serving of essential vitamins and minerals.

Fermented Foods

Shutting down your digestive tract can have some impacts on the healthy bacteria in your gut. Consuming foods rich in probiotics, such as unsweetened yogurt and sauerkraut, can help restore the balance of good bacteria in your gut, promoting better digestion after fasting.

Other Tips For Breaking A Fast

Constructively breaking your fast concerns more than just picking the right foods. Here are some additional strategies for ensuring a safe and healthy refeeding experience.

Take It Slow

Don’t shock your system by rushing back into regular eating. Even if you’re not concerned about blood sugar fluctuations, a large meal too soon after a fast may result in uncomfortable symptoms such as bloating and indigestion.

Listen to Your Body

Fasting can be a wonderful way to reset your body’s natural hunger and fullness cues. Listen carefully, and it may be easier to discern the difference between physical and emotional hunger. Individuals who have had extended fasts under medical supervision are often surprised by how quickly they feel full, even after weeks or months of fasting.

Stay Hydrated

If you’re avoiding food and juices entirely, it might be surprising to discover how quickly you find yourself dehydrated. Drinking enough fluids is crucial throughout your fast, but it’s even more important once your system is moving again. Staying hydrated helps digestion flow smoothly and aids in nutrient absorption.

Eat Slowly

Mindful eating is always a good idea. Practicing mindful eating can enhance your fasting and refeeding experience. It’s not a race to see who can go slowest. Just take the time to savor your food, chewing thoroughly and enjoying every bite. You’ll find yourself enjoying food more at every meal, not just your breakfast.

What Does It Mean To Break A Fast?

Fasting is the activity of avoiding certain foods or all foods for spiritual or health reasons. “Breaking” a fast, also called “refeeding”, is the process of consuming your first food after a fast. This is a critical moment for your metabolism, as refeeding reintroduces nutrients into the body and kickstarts your metabolism.

Your body undergoes several physiological changes when you fast. As your body uses up its glucose stores (from carbs and sugar), it begins to burn stored fat for energy. This metabolic state of burning fat for energy is called “ketosis”.

Fasting leads to other physiological changes, including:

  • Increased insulin sensitivity
  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Reduced inflammation
  • And other benefits[2] currently being researched

If you want to break your fast effectively, you need to understand all of these changes and how to manage them. In the next section, we’ll take a closer look at some of this science.

The Science Of Fasting

Every culture has an ancient tradition of fasting, and modern medicine has validated its health benefits. Each approach has benefits, risks, and other considerations. When introducing a modified fasting diet to your wellness routine, take care to choose the one that fits your lifestyle and health needs.

Intermittent Fasting And Other Approaches

Intermittent Fasting And Other Approaches
Intermittent fasting simply is an eating schedule. Photo: LN team/Shutterstock

Intermittent fasting[3] is an approach to fasting that is gaining a lot of popularity. Simply put, it’s an eating schedule where you have specific times for eating and not eating. When intermittent fasting, your body uses up the energy from your last meal and switches to your backup fuel: Fat. This is a normal, healthy physiological shift that brings with it many health benefits.

Other fasting methods include time-restricted eating you limit your eating to a certain number of hours each day prolonged fasting-which is a complete fast that lasts for more than 48 hours.

The Role Of Ketosis

As mentioned above, your body switches energy sources when you’re fasting. After your cells run out of their favorite fuel (sugar), they start running on your fat stores instead. These little packets of energy are called “ketones”. Ketones fuel the brain as an alternative source of energy during starvation or fasting.

The state of running on ketones is called ketosis

The ketogenic diet[4] (also called the keto diet) is designed to keep you in ketosis as much as possible. It’s often combined with an intermittent fasting plan to maximize the benefits of ketosis.

Blood Sugar

When your body has been in ketosis for a while, reintroducing glucose (in the form of sugar or carbs) can be a shock to your system. If done too quickly, it can raise your blood sugar levels too quickly and make you ill. This is uncomfortable for most people, but it can be dangerous if you’ve had an extended fast or a metabolic disorder.

Refeeding Syndrome

To technically break a fast is to eat food for the first time after fasting

Refeeding syndrome[5]” is the term used to describe the set of discomforts that occur when you reintroduce food too quickly after a fast. Your body, having adjusted to running on stored fat, is not prepared for the influx of more accessible fuel.

Adjusting your diet in a careful manner and appetite control can help maintain the benefits you’ve achieved while fasting. It can also prevent some potentially dangerous effects of refeeding syndrome.


Fasting is more than just skipping meals. It’s a journey that requires careful planning and execution, not just during the fast but also when it’s time to break the fast. From introducing healthy fats, sipping on nutritious soups, and rehydrating with water-rich fruits to incorporating probiotic-rich fermented foods, there are many ways to encourage a gentle and healthy transition back to regular eating.

Enjoy your newly perfected skills, such as taking it slow, listening to your body’s signals, staying well-hydrated, and eating mindfully. All of these strategies can improve your experience with food at every meal.

Fasting is a powerful tool for health and wellness, but it’s important to approach it with knowledge and care. Whether you’re a novice or a master, we hope this guide helps you break your fast in a way that honors your body’s needs and supports your health goals!

Frequently Asked Questions

How can intermittent fasting help with weight loss?

Intermittent fasting changes your eating pattern, which can lead to consuming fewer calories and promoting fat burning. It also triggers changes in hormones that can aid weight loss.

What are the best foods to break a fast with?

Breaking a fast with gentle, easily digestible foods is recommended. These include healthy fats like coconut oil, monounsaturated fats, and grass-fed butter. Bone broth, particularly organic bone broth, is also excellent due to its high nutrient content and ease of digestion.

Can I consume processed foods after fasting?

It’s best to avoid processed foods when breaking a fast. These foods can cause digestive distress as your body readjusts to eating. Instead, opt for unprocessed foods like raw vegetables or cooked veggies, which are high in dietary fiber and essential nutrients.

Is fruit juice a good choice to break a fast?

While juice can provide vitamins, like vitamin C, it can also spike your blood sugar levels, especially if it’s high in refined carbohydrates. A better option might be diluted apple cider vinegar, which can help digest food by stimulating digestive enzymes.

Are there any worst foods to avoid when breaking a fast?

Yes, junk food, high glycemic carbohydrates, and foods with excessive salt should be avoided. Your body needs nutrient-dense foods to resume eating and recover from the fast.

What role do digestive enzymes play in breaking a fast?

Digestive enzymes help your body break down food into nutrients. Foods rich in these enzymes, such as raw cruciferous vegetables and pickled vegetables, can be beneficial when breaking a fast.

Are there specific foods that support eye health and help burn fat?

Yes, foods rich in antioxidants, choline, and vitamin D, like leafy greens and animal proteins, are good for your eyes. When it comes to fat burning, a low-carb diet focusing on healthy fats and lean proteins can help your body burn fat more efficiently.

What about resuming regular meals after a fast?

Gradually reintroduce other foods after breaking your fast with a small meal. Listen to your body’s cues to avoid overeating. Remember, the goal is to nourish your body with the best foods, not to make up for lost calories.

+ 5 sources

MIDSS adheres to strict procurement guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutes, and medical associations. We work mainly with peer-reviewed studies to ensure the accuracy of the information. We avoid the use of tertiary references. You can read about how we ensure the accuracy and timeliness of our content in our editorial process.

  1. Wilhelmi, F., Grundler, F., Bergouignan, A., Drinda, S. and Michalsen, A. (2019). Safety, health improvement, and well-being during a 4 to 21-day fasting period in an observational study including 1422 subjects. PLOS ONE, [online] 14(1), pp.e0209353–e0209353. doi:
  2. Clifton, K., X. Cynthia, Fontana, L. and Peterson, L.L. (2021). Intermittent fasting in the prevention and treatment of cancer. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, [online] 71(6), pp.527–546. doi:
  3. Welton, S., Minty, R., O’Driscoll, T., Willms, H., Poirier, D., Madden, S. and Kelly, L. (2020). Intermittent fasting and weight loss: Systematic review. Canadian family physician Medecin de famille canadien, [online] 66(2), pp.117–125. Available at:
  4. Zaki, H.A., Iftikhar, H., Abeer Abdalrubb, Nood, Mohammed Gafar Abdelrahim, Fayed, M., Abdelgadir, M. and Elarref, M.A. (2022). Clinical Assessment of Intermittent Fasting With Ketogenic Diet in Glycemic Control and Weight Reduction in Patients With Type II Diabetes Mellitus: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Cureus. [online] doi:
  5. Hisham Mehanna, Jamil Moledina and Travis, J. (2008). Refeeding syndrome: what it is, and how to prevent and treat it. BMJ, [online] 336(7659), pp.1495–1498. doi:


Nia is a STEM educator, certified personal trainer, fitness instructor, and certified nurses' aid. She received her Bachelor's in Creative Writing and Music Theory from The College of Idaho in 2010 at the age of 18. She spent the next 5 years studying Biochemistry and STEM education at Boise State University. Now a mother of 2, she resides in central Idaho and owns a writing agency specializing in content and copywriting for Health, Science, & Education.


Drew is a retired ENT doctor who now lives in the Southeastern US. He was a member of the American Academy of Otolaryngology and a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. He has a bachelor’s degree in Biology and Psychology and an MD degree. He completed his internship in General Surgery and Residency in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery and practiced for almost 30 years in all aspects of ENT, including a specialization in disorders of the ear and skull base. Drew is passionate about communicating his clinical experiences and making his knowledge more accessible to the general public by medical writing.

Help us rate this article

Thank you for your feedback

Keep in touch to see our improvement