Nuts are packed with vitamins and minerals, and are a great choice on any diet, including intermittent fasting.
A handful of nuts can satisfy your cravings and help you go to the next mealtime without loading up on junk food.
But if you’re fasting, will that handful of nuts break your fast?
This article will discuss if nuts break your fast, what foods to eat during a fast, and elaborate on the differences between raw and roasted nuts and if nuts are vegan.
Are you ready? Let’s get started!
Why Eating Nuts Will Break Your Fast?
When fasting, you avoid all foods to reduce blood sugar levels, increase insulin sensitivity, and make your body burn fat for energy.
Therefore, eating any food that contains carbohydrates and protein will break your fast.
Interestingly enough, fats will not break your fast because it is a neutral macronutrient that does not trigger the insulin response.
As healthful and beneficial as nuts are, they all contain protein and minimal carbs.
Even low-carb nuts, such as pecan, macadamia, and brazil nuts, contain enough protein to throw you out of fasting.
During your fasting window, you might want to avoid food completely to keep your body in the ketosis state and reap the benefits of fasting.
Ketosis refers to a state when your body can’t use carbs and sugar as fuel, but rather, it burns fat, which leads to the production of ketones that the body uses as fuel.
What To Eat During Fasting?
Fasting usually means that you don’t eat any food or consume calorie and carb-laden drinks during your fasting window.
However, not everything is off the table, as you could have some foods and drinks that technically break your fast but don’t reduce its health benefits.
Let me explain how each of the items mentioned above can help with fasting:
- Tea or coffee. Most people have tea or coffee while fasting because they have minimal calories and zero carbs that don’t break a fast. What’s more, they can help you stick to your fast because they contain caffeine, suppressing appetite. However, make sure to drink your coffee without adding any sugar, milk, or anything that could cause a sugar spike.
- Ghee, MCT oil, or grass-fed butter. You could also add ghee, MCT oil, or grass-fed butter to curb your cravings and help with fat metabolism. Fats don’t throw you out of ketosis, or the fasting state, because fat is a neutral macronutrient that doesn’t trigger an insulin response.
- Bone broth. Bone broth is another useful food that many people use during fasting, as it contains minimal protein, but enough nutrients to keep you energized while fasting. It also contains collagen, which is useful for healthy skin, hair, nails, and bones. Bone broth is easy to make, but if you want to buy it, look for pure bone broth without any additives.
- Water helps you stay hydrated during fasting, and you can have as much as you want, either still and sparkling. You could add one or two spoons of apple cider vinegar to prevent cravings and regulate electrolyte levels.
- Supplements and multivitamins. Some supplements and multivitamins are less likely to break your fast. Creatine, prebiotics and probiotics, pure collagen, and fish oil are among the safe options to provide your body with essential nutrients. However, make sure to take these in forms that don’t lead to sugar spikes, such as protein powders and gummy multivitamins, which contain sugar, fat, and protein.
Raw Nuts vs. Roasted Nuts
Nuts are excellent for breaking fasts thanks to their rich nutrient contents, such as healthy fats and proteins.
They usually come in two forms: raw and roasted.
If you’re concerned that roasting nuts may reduce their nutritional values, you’re not entirely wrong.
Here’s a more in-depth analysis of how roasting can affect different nuts:
Roasting can degrade healthy fats and may get oxidized with the heat.
The oxidation process creates free radicals that can cause cancer, and can alter the taste and produce the off taste and smell you notice in some nuts.
You can luckily preserve healthy fats and prevent oxidation by lowering the heat and roasting time.
Nuts oxidate at different temperatures depending on their type.
For example, walnuts take longer to oxidize than hazelnuts and pistachios at the same temperatures.
A study found that the oxidation rate drops when walnuts are roasted at lower to medium temperatures.
Vitamins and Antioxidants
Nuts are packed with vitamins and antioxidants, and some sensitive to heat, including vitamin E, thiamine, and carotenoids, depending on the nut type.
Almonds and walnuts lose more vitamins than hazelnuts during roasting.
However, the vitamins in pistachios remain nearly unaffected.
When you roast nuts, the pleasant flavor and aroma is due to a chemical process called the Maillard reaction, which is also responsible for forming harmful substances such as acrylamide that causes cancer in animals and humans.
According to studies, acrylamide levels are higher in almonds than in other nuts.
The compound is absent in some roasted nuts such as macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, and walnuts.
Roasted nuts, even almonds, don’t contain enough acrylamide to create serious harm.
So, roast your nuts at temperatures as low as 260° F (130° C) to preserve the nutrients and eliminate acrylamide.
Harmful Substances in Raw Nuts
Are raw nuts better than roasted nuts? Not necessarily, as raw nuts may contain harmful bacteria, including salmonella and E. coli, and may get contaminated during harvest when they fall on the ground.
Another harmful substance present in both roasted and raw nuts is aflatoxin, which is heat resistant and can cause cancer.
To avoid this, store the nuts in dry and cool environments, regardless of which type of nuts you have.
What Quantity of Nuts To Eat Daily?
is the perfect amount of nuts to reap the nutritional benefits and avoid weight gain during your fast.
If you use nut butter, don’t go over two tablespoons per day.
With all the beneficial nutrients packed in nuts, it’s safe to call them a superfood, as their rich vitamin, fiber, and omega 3 content make them a great choice for lowering blood cholesterol, balancing blood sugar, and improving digestion.
That said, the calories and fat content in nuts make them a less favorable choice when it comes to losing or maintaining weight, which is why you should consume nuts, like any other food, in moderation.
Why Do Vegans Eat Nuts?
As a strict variation of vegetarianism, veganism looks for plant-based alternatives to nutrients found in animal products are among the nutrients mostly found in animal products.
But nuts are great sources of these vitamins and minerals and vegans can easily get these nutrients without compromising their diets.
Nuts are particularly beneficial for vegans because they’re a great protein source and add variety to the relatively limited food choices that vegans have.
They can also add nuts to various vegan recipes and dishes to improve flavor, and can eat them in different forms, such as roasted, raw, butter, finely ground, or cooked.
Which Nuts Are Not Vegan?
If you’re buying nut butter or salt-roasted nuts, make sure you read the labels carefully to make sure they don’t contain any animal products.
Some companies use gelatin as an adhesive to help other ingredients stick to the nuts in their nut-based products.
In some areas, such as California, almond farmers use migratory beekeeping since there aren’t enough local bees to pollinate the trees.
As I mentioned above, strict vegans believe this is cruel to bees and makes almonds a non-vegan nut.
It depends on your ethical rationale; if you’re concerned about this issue, try to get your almonds from small-scale farms who don’t use bees in an exploitative fashion.
Nuts can break your fast because they contain protein and carbs, but due to their considerable fat content, you might be able to get away with a few nuts during your fasting window
(in this article I answer a common question o get asked; can we eat chia seeds in fast).
You can eat them during your eating window to reap the nutritional benefits and feel full much longer.
With a host of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, nuts are a must-have in any diet.
They are also perfect for vegans since they’re plant-based and can replace many animal products.
However, roasting can destroy many of these useful substances, including vitamin E, thiamine, and carotenoids.
I’m Chris Watson & the Founder of EatForLonger.com. I’m a food and wellbeing enthusiast researching and sharing foodstuffs and simple food-based concepts, such as fasting and clean eating.
I hope it inspires you to make tiny changes to what you eat and when you eat while optimizing your healthspan and all-around well-being.
Read more About Me here.