Will Taking Probiotics Break Your Fast?
I fast nearly every day for various health benefits. I find that it helps keep my weight steady, I feel more laser focuses, and helps to keep my IBS symptoms at bay.
When I fast I keep it simple by having my last meal at 6pm and then skipping breakfast the next morning. In that early morning window, I take my probiotic supplements.
In this blog post, I will be explaining if taking my probiotic supplement during my morning fast technically breaks the fast or not.
What Are Probiotics?
Probiotics are a good type of bacteria that once consumed may provide specific health benefits for some people.
For others with an already healthy microbiome, they may however simply do nothing, and for others before working they may cause side effects like bloating, cramping, and gas.
The best time to take probiotics is a couple of hours before any large meal but if you're planning the take probiotics whilst fasting then any time during your fast is the best time.
What Is Intermittent Fasting?
This video explains fasting well.
Put simply, fasting is just the process of not eating any food for a certain period. For Muslims, this may happen during Ramadan or for others, it may just be skipping breakfast. Here are some types of fasting:
If you do decide that you want to fast then you should always consult with your doctor first and make sure to drink plenty of fluids unless you are also doing a water fast. Many people who fast also take probiotic supplements at the same time successfully without breaking their fast.
Will Probiotics Break Your Fast?
To understand if probiotic supplements can break your fast let's first take a look at a couple of examples. Looking at the ingredients for Seed Daily Synbiotic a capsule probiotic we can see that aside from the calorie & carb-free probiotic bacteria strains included they also have the following.
Fermented gellan gum, Organic rice fiber, and an Organic rice extract blend that is used to make up the substance for the capsule. The calorie and carb content isn't known but Seed does claim that their supplement is compatible with Intermittent Fasting and Ketogenic diets. The Carb and Calorie content is likely minuscule.
Most Capsule Probiotics Like Seed Probiotic Are Great To Take Along Side Fasting. They Won't Break Your Fast!
Olly Probiotic & Prebiotic gummies on the other hand are quite clear in that 1 gummy contains 2g of carbs, 5 calories, and <1g of cane sugar. For most people taking this gummy won't break your fast but it could kick you out of ketosis if you are adding it alongside other supplements or taking more than 1 gummy per day. Some probiotic supplements will break your fast but most of them won't.
Do Probiotic Supplements Have Calories?
Most probiotic capsule supplements do not have calories, carbs, fat, or protein for several different reasons. Typically these probiotic supplements contain a mixture of Lactobacillus & Bifidobacterium bacteria that don't need to be digested by the body. Instead, they simply pass through the digestive tract along to the large colon where they then live and grow.
Some probiotics contain extra ingredients like Fructooligosaccharides which is a prebiotic fiber but that one in particular also contains no calories. Other prebiotic fibers may contain calories or carbs so it's always best to contact the probiotic manufacturer for further clarification on whether they will break a fast or not.
Probiotic gummies are a whole different story though and this is what catches some people out. Probiotic gummies are usually high in sugar and therefore do have a lot of calories that will break fast. 2 Olly Purely Probiotic gummies are said to contain 15 calories.
Probiotic Foods That Break A Fast
Probiotics don't have to only be consumed from dietary supplements instead you can get an array of delicious potent probiotic foods from your local Walmart or Target. Just ask the staff to help you find some of the following;
These fermented foods will have various Lactobacillus probiotic strains but I have to state the obvious. Eating any of these fermented but not expired probiotic foods WILL break any type of fast. Kimchi for example is a cabbage type of dish that could have up to 23 calories and 4 grams of carbs per 1 cup. Kefir is a type of Lacto fermented dairy milk that may have 104 calories & 11.6 grams of carbs which is enough to kick you out of ketosis or break your intermittent fast.
Supplements That Will Break A Fast
Gummy supplements typically contain sugars & proteins which may be breakfast. Protein powders are of course full of protein which will need to be digested by your stomach and BCAA supplements will also breakfast since they trigger an insulin reaction.
Closing Thoughts: Stick To Capsule Probiotics
Sticking to probiotic capsule supplements will allow you not to break your fast and taking them whilst fasting may be beneficial because there won't be other acidic foods in your stomach that can kill the probiotic bacteria. If you are fasting avoid chewing any probiotic gummies and of course, the obvious thing to avoid would be eating a big plate of fermented foods or thick calorie-dense kefir milk.