Clean fasting vs dirty fasting – wondering which is right for you? Or just wondering what the difference is between them? In this video, Krista and Lori explain! Lori also describes what she refers to as filthy dirty fasting and the danger of hidden sugars is discussed.
The most pure and basic form of fasting (besides dry fasting, which we do not recommend) is water fasting. It is exactly what it sounds like – you consume only water, water with nothing added to it. Generally speaking though, consuming any of the following is also considered clean fasting:
- unsweetened black coffee
- unsweetened black tea
- sparkling water
- mineral water
This form of fasting is the most strict and will probably give you the fastest and best results. Many people, especially beginning fasters, find it too stringent and do what is often referred to as dirty fasting instead.
Dirty fasting allows consumption of other liquids within certain limits. Some of the most popular ones are the liquids you can add to your coffee. Many people find themselves unable to drink black coffee and are grateful to be allowed to break that clean fasting rule. While the items listed below are referred to as “training wheels” that are ok to consume as a new faster but not on a long-term basis, Dr. Jason Fung has said that if the requirement to drink your coffee black is going to keep you from fasting at all, then adding a small amount of the items below to your coffee is fine and won’t have enough of an effect on your results to totally sabotage your fasting. Many people also limit their consumption of all items below (coffee additions and other items) to 50 calories.
You can add up to a combined 2 tablespoons of these items to your coffee:
- heavy cream
- unsweetened coconut oil
- unsweetened almond milk
- whole milk
- MCT oil
- butter or ghee
- coconut oil
You can also consume these in a dirty fast.
- sips of bone broth
- low-carb homemade vegetable broth
- sparkling water
- mineral water
- a couple of teaspoons at a time of apple cider vinegar (drink it through a straw to protect your tooth enamel)
- sauerkraut juice (some believe it supports digestive health due to its high levels of probiotics)
- sugar-free pickle juice (This is a popular way of replacing sodium while fasting by people whose electrolyte levels drop while fasting.)
Filthy Dirty Fasting
This term won’t turn up in an internet search. It’s a term created by Lori. We mentioned above that dirty fasting allows up to 50 calories of liquids. Filthy dirty fasting allows up to 50 calories of liquids and/or solid food. Neither of us do this often at all, but once in a rare while when we get really hungry, we will have up to 50 calories of pickle chips (Lori’s choice) or a few cubes of cheese (Krista’s choice). We do not recommend doing this regularly. It should also be like training wheels or a very rare occurrence.
While reading the ingredients on the label of any food you buy is of utmost importance, it’s also important to learn a little about what you may see in that list. Simply looking for the word “sugar” isn’t enough. Manufacturers use several tactics to market their product as low in sugar, while it may actually be high in sugar.
Many different forms of sugar that go by many different names are used by manufacturers. They are required to list the product’s ingredients on its label, with the main ingredient listed first and the ingredient that makes up the smallest amount of the product listed last. To appeal to a market that is increasingly health conscious, many manufacturers include multiple forms of sugar that appear throughout the list of ingredients. In this way, they can maybe put “sugar” way down in the list but include multiple other versions of sugar closer to the top. Even so-called healthy protein bars can, and often do, contain much more sugar than consumers would expect. Reading every label is crucial if you want to reduce your sugar intake. Many products like ketchup, yogurt, and marinara sauce (products you wouldn’t dream contain sugar) include some form of sugar in their list of ingredients.
Also beware of phrases like “contains no refined sugar” or “refined-sugar free.” These claims mean only that they don’t contain white sugar. They can, and often do, contain many other forms of sugar. These phrases are put on a label so a company can portray their product as healthy. Words like “healthy” or “natural” also don’t mean that a product is low in sugar.
When reading labels, also pay attention to the portion size. If the amount of a certain product you typically eat is double what the label lists as a serving, then you will be consuming double the amount of sugar listed in the nutrition section.
One last thing to be careful of when shopping – labels that say “low sugar”. If a company makes two versions of the same product – a regular cereal bar, for example, and a “low sugar” cereal bar – the “low sugar” version may just have less sugar than the regular version. It could still actually be high in sugar, just not as high as the regular version.
You can find a list of over 50 hidden sugar ingredients here.