Is fasting with bone broth going to help you lose weight? Learn why bone broth is the secret to feeling good on your next fast.
If you’ve tried fasting or keto, I’m going to guess you probably felt like garbage. We’ve all been there.
Did you get permanent results? Was it something you could do for the rest of your life? These are the questions you should be asking before you fast.
Fasting for the first time will be difficult, no matter how you prepare. That being said, there are some things that help: enter bone broth.
Here’s a guide to resetting your body with a bone broth fast.
Can you fast with bone broth?
Mark Wahlberg seems to think so. The famous actor lost 10 pounds in five days fasting with bone broth.
"I was eating so much protein, I was storing it and using it other than building lean muscle, so I was getting a leaky gut, so I just literally did a bone broth fast.
I just did a bone broth and a fast and a cleanse and I literally lost 10 pounds in five days. I lost five percent body fat and I lost 20 points of visceral fat literally in five days.”
One common issue among those who are fasting is a lack of electrolytes. Much like the keto diet, your fasting body requires more electrolytes. This is because you are not getting crucial electrolytes from food.
Bone broth is a great natural source of electrolytes. You can drink bone broth while fasting to ensure that you’re not risking dehydration. Bone broth is naturally fasting and keto friendly with zero fat and zero carbs to ensure that you do not break your fast.
What is a Bone Broth Fast
A bone broth fast is a modified fast where you consume warm mugs of bone broth in place of food throughout your day. Drinking bone broth gives you vitamins, minerals and amino acids -- all while giving your digestive system the reset it needs.
Without the added burden of digesting food, your body can begin the repair process that fasting promotes.
How does adding bone broth help digestion?
Bone Broth Benefits for Fasting
You probably know the many health benefits of bone broth. If not, read our in-depth review. I’ll briefly summarize what bone broth is good for:
- Weight Loss - high protein and gelatin content is shown to help you feel full and thus eat less during the day.
- Skin Health - provides building blocks for skin, hair, teeth and nails. Increases hydration in skin cells.
- Digestion - amino acids that decrease inflammation and build new tissue in your gut.
- Joint Pain - full of glucosamine, chondroitin, collagen and hyaluronic acid to build cartilage around your joints.
- Immune System - contains an amino acid called glycine, that is one of the most important anti-inflammatory mediators in your body.
- Sleep, Mood and Energy - glycine increases calmness and decreases your core body temperature in preparation for sleep.
- Blood Sugar Control - glycine taken with meals can normalize blood sugar response.
- Brain Health - bone marrow and amino acids to fuel brain development.
- Detoxification - allows your liver to naturally detoxify itself by providing glycine.
As you’ll see below, bone broth complements many of the benefits of fasting.
Types of Fasting
There are different types of fasting. Which one you choose is up to you. The different groups within fasting seem to be at odds with one another over which method is superior.
1. Intermittent Fasting
Simply put: this is reducing the food you eat over a given period of time. Popular renditions of this type of fasting involve:
- 16/8: fasting for 16 hours per day and eating all of your daily calories in the remaining 8 hours
- Eat Stop Eat or 5:2 - fasting for 24 hours once or twice per week. Then eating normally the other days.
2. Periodic Fasting
Hardcore fasters will fast for three to five days at a time. This prompts your body to deplete all of your energy and glycogen stores to begin ketosis. The thought is that the best benefits of fasting do not occur until at least three days into the fast.
3. Time-Restricted Feeding
Limiting your caloric intake to specific times of the day around your sleep cycles and body clock (aka circadian rhythm).
In practice, most will eat all of their meals between 10am-6pm window or a similar 8-12 hour window during the day.
4. Fasting Mimicking Diets
A popular program where you are calorie controlled (~1000 calories per day) for five days. The process mimics fasting without completely depleting your nutrients.
Fasting mimicking diets are thought to be safer than long fasts without food. They are also easier to comply with for some people, but very difficult for others.
Bone broth is a popular item on the fasting diet meal plan.
Why Do People Fast?
Fasting experts claim all sorts of health benefits, these include:
- Increase cognitive performance
- Protect from obesity and associated chronic diseases
- Decrease inflammation
- Weight loss
- Lower the risk of metabolic diseases
- Improve overall health
- Control blood sugar and insulin levels
- Promote autophagy: your bodies’ cellular cleanup process
In practise, you (and everybody else) are probably only interested in fasting for weight loss. Let’s be honest.
You can lose weight on a bone broth fast, keeping the weight off, however, requires permanent lifestyle changes.
Why Fast With Bone Broth?
As you can see, the benefits of fasting are extensive. The issue with fasting are hunger pangs and you generally feel like crap.
More on that below.
Adding bone broth ensures that you’re getting electrolytes, vitamins and minerals without breaking your fast.
Here are a few reasons you might want to fast with bone broth.
- Fasting helps control your blood sugar, much like bone broth. If you are struggling to manage your blood sugar and insulin, then fasting with bone broth might be worth considering.
- If you’re having major digestive issues like IBS, heartburn, gas or bloating, bone broth fasting may help to alleviate your symptoms. It also can help reset your gut by replenishing much-needed nutrients to rebuild your digestive system lining.
- The biggest mistake those fasting or on keto make is not getting enough electrolytes. Your body flushes out its electrolytes when you restrict food or carbohydrates in any way. Chicken bone broth in particular is full of potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, chloride and natural sodium. You should be careful with your hydration when fasting. Bone broth is great insurance against this.
- Bone broth provides vitamins and minerals to fight inflammation and help your liver and kidneys reset (2). You get great nutritional mileage from bone broth without many calories. So if you’re fasting or trying to reduce your calories, bone broth may help.
- Bone broth is satiating. Gelatinous bone broth satisfies hunger and helps you feel full (3). This will make your fasting experience more enjoyable.
How Long Can You Fast With Bone Broth?
You can fast with bone broth as long as you want, provided that you are under the supervision of a doctor.
Bone broth drinkers commonly fast for up to 72 hours. Others prefer to fast with bone broth in the morning, then eat their calories in the afternoon (16/8 approach).
Finally, some will consume bone broth only on their fasting days of the week. I’ve heard of people fasting with bone broth two days out of the week, then eating regularly the other five days.
This is referred to as the Bone Broth Diet.
Hot Tip: Take Care of Your Electrolytes
If you’re considering fasting with bone broth then be sure to pay special attention to your electrolytes.
Symptoms of low electrolytes include:
- Fast or irregular heartbeat
- Muscle cramps
- Muscle weakness
- Feeling numb
- Change in blood pressure
Bone broth is not the only way to get electrolytes. Vegetable stock also has many hydrating electrolytes. You can get 600 mg potassium, 30 mg magnesium and 150 mg of phosphorus in one big mug of vegetable stock.
Just be sure that you are not buying stock that is full of preservatives and added salt.
How Will I Feel When I Start Fasting?
It is perfectly normal to feel like crap when you first start fasting. You’ll likely feel tired, irritable and hungry. However, you should not feel awful and unwell. If you do, then you probably should not be fasting.
It is incredibly difficult to go from a regular diet to fasting. Especially if your regular diet is one high in refined carbohydrates.
Fasting requires fat for energy instead of carbohydrates. If you are routinely eating a carb-centric diet, your body will have a hard time fasting.
This is why some prefer the 16/8 fasting with bone broth approach mentioned above. Many find compliance to longer fasts unbearable.
Better Glucose Control Through Fasting
Our bodies are conditioned to use carbohydrates for fuel. This is thanks to a lifetime of eating them. It makes sense that withdrawal via fasting causes issues.
Carbohydrate withdrawal from fasting can be physical, mental and emotional.
Physically, our bodies are used to having glucose as its primary source of energy.
As you fast, there is no glucose, forcing your body to try to process fat for fuel.
Your body is smart and will adjust to fast for fuel, but it takes time. During the transition (anecdotally 3-6 weeks) you may feel terrible when fasting with bone broth.
Fasting will also affect you mentally and emotionally.
Why? Carbs are required for our bodies to release serotonin, the famous ‘good vibes’ neurotransmitter in your body.
Fasting can mean less serotonin which could alter your mood (4). This is important to keep in mind before you start fasting.
Why You Need To Stay Hydrated When Fasting
Water is stored with carbohydrates in your body. When you fast you will deplete your carbohydrate stores. You will also excrete water through urine and retain less water because there are no carbs to help store it (5).
Also, when you’re fasting, less insulin is released. This causes your body to lose sodium because it is released from your kidneys (6).
As you lose sodium, your body tries to balance things out by using potassium and magnesium stores in your body.
Your electrolytes get depleted, and if you’re not replenishing them, you’ll feel awful on a fast.
If you’ve tried keto, it is similar to the ‘Keto Flu.’
How to do a Bone Broth Fast
Step 1: Choose Your Fast
Decide which type of fast is right for you. Do you want a full day, time restricted feeding or try the 16-hour fast and 8-hour eating window?
Step 2: Get Your Bone Broth
You’ll want enough bone broth during your fast to satiate you for a whole day. A fasting approach that works for our ambassadors is 2 L of bone broth per day or 24-hour fast.
If you’re doing 16-hours then 1-2 L is sufficient. You can drink a lot of bone broth every day with no issues. It is safe to consume a lot of than 2 L per day, so don’t worry. There is no upper limit.
Read our secret bone broth recipe here.
Get Bluebird Organic Bone Broth shipped to your door in Canada.
Step 3: Start Your Fast
Best to begin at night after your last meal. Most have success with an early dinner by 6pm. That way you have fully digested your food before you sleep. You also get a head start and can finish your fast earlier the next day.
You should drink bone broth throughout the day when fasting. You can replace all of your regular meals with a large mug full of bone broth.
Check the sodium on your bone broth. If it has over 250mg per cup then you probably should not be drinking it.
If you’re bored of drinking just plain bone broth then consider some special low calorie add ins.
Here are a few to tempt your taste buds.
Squeezed lemon or lime
Brightens up any broth with the fresh taste of lemon or lime.
Thai curry spice or paste
Tiny bit (¼ tsp) goes a long way!
A quick interpretation of pho broth that you can make in 5 minutes. Simmer the following ingredients along with your bone broth in a pot for 5 minutes, then enjoy.
- 1-2 Cups Organic Beef Bone Broth
- ¼ Tsp ginger, dried (or 2 tsp fresh grated)
- ¼ Tsp coriander, dried
- ¼ Tsp cloves, dried
- ¼ Tsp cinnamon, dried
The Bottom Line
If you want to try fasting, bone broth is a great addition to your fast. Bone broth helps to satiate you to ward off brutal hunger pangs while providing you amino acids and electrolytes.
I’m curious, have you tried a bone broth fast? How did you find it? Leave a comment and let me know.
Fasting is NOT appropriate if pregnant or breastfeeding, if significantly underweight or if you have a history of disordered eating. You should only fast if being actively monitored by a nutrition professional.
Disclaimer: this information is for educational purposes only and has not been evaluated by the FDA or CFIA. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please consult your primary care physician for advice on any of this.