Are you an intermittent fasting devotee who’s looking to take your workout game to the next level? Or perhaps you’re a bodybuilder seeking to maximize your muscle growth and strength gains with the help of creatine?
The question of whether creatine breaks a fast is one that I hear frequently from my clients as a fitness trainer. And I get it – when you’re putting in the effort to fast, for health and wellness, you want to ensure that you’re doing everything right to reap the benefits.
But with so much conflicting information out there, it’s no wonder that many people are left scratching their heads. Some people claim that taking creatine during a fast won’t hinder the effects of fasting, while others argue that it completely sabotages your fasting state.
So, what’s the truth? Does creatine break a fast? In this article, I’m going to share my expertise and help you understand the science behind creatine and fasting.
By the end of this post, you’ll be able to make an informed decision on whether or not to incorporate creatine into your fasting routine.
What is Creatine?
Creatine is a naturally occurring compound found in our muscles that helps to provide energy during high-intensity activities. It is also available as a supplement and is commonly used by athletes and bodybuilders to improve their performance and muscle mass [1, 2].
While creatine is generally considered safe, it is suggested to consult with a healthcare professional before starting to use it as a supplement. With the right guidance, creatine can be an effective tool for enhancing physical performance and achieving fitness goals.
What is Fasting?
Fasting is the practice of abstaining from food or drink for a certain period of time, usually for religious, spiritual, or health reasons. One of the common types of fasting includes intermittent fasting. It is a type of fasting that involves alternating periods of eating and fasting.
During the fasting periods, you’re not consuming any calories or nutrients, which can help with fat loss, insulin sensitivity, and other health benefits .
There are several different approaches to intermittent fasting, but the most common ones are the 16/8 method and the 5:2 diet. The 16/8 method involves fasting for 16 hours and eating within an 8-hour window, while the 5:2 diet involves eating normally for 5 days and restricting calorie intake to 500-600 calories for 2 non-consecutive days.
Research has shown that intermittent fasting (IF) is a popular dieting practice with potential health benefits beyond weight loss. It may improve energy production, peripheral circadian clocks, and metabolic health markers while reducing inflammation and preventing chronic disease .
However, if you are new to fasting then it is recommended to do your research carefully before starting any fasting regimen to ensure it is safe for you.
Does Creatine Break a Fast?
The response to the query “Does creatine break a fast?” seems to be dependent on the type of fasting you are doing. If you are doing a water fast or abstaining from all foods and drinks, then consuming creatine will break your fast.
However, if you are on a fast that allows you to drink certain liquids, such as coffee, tea, or water, taking creatine supplements with water that does not have added sugars may not break your fast.
The question of whether creatine breaks a fast is frequently raised by those who practice intermittent fasting. If you’re fasting for the purpose of benefiting from autophagy, cellular repair, and fat loss, then taking creatine might not be the best idea.
When you take creatine, it can trigger an insulin response in your body which can interfere with your fasting state, thereby reducing some of the benefits that you hope to gain from fasting. Nevertheless, if you’re fasting for other reasons, such as spiritual or religious practices, then taking creatine might not affect your fasting state in the same way.
It is important to note that the effects of creatine on fasting have not been thoroughly researched, so it is difficult to say whether or not it will affect your fasting results.
If you are still uncertain about whether or not creatine will break your fast, it is always recommended that you speak with a nutritionist who can provide you with personalized advice based on your specific goals and needs.
Should I Take Creatine While Intermittent Fasting?
Whether or not you should take creatine while intermittently fasting depends on your personal goals and circumstances. If your goal is to improve your athletic performance, increase muscle mass, or enhance your overall physical fitness, then taking creatine may be beneficial for you. However, if you are primarily focused on weight loss or other health benefits associated with intermittent fasting, then it may not be necessary to take creatine.
It is important to note that taking creatine while fasting may impact your fasting results, a little bit as it may cause an increase in insulin levels and a decrease in ketone production. However, this impact is generally considered to be minimal and may not significantly impact your overall fasting results.
Ultimately, the decision to take creatine while intermittent fasting depends on your goals. The judgment to take creatine while intermittent fasting should be made in consultation with a nutritionist who can provide you with personalized guidance based on your specific health goals.
Best Time to Take Creatine When Intermittent Fasting
As a fitness trainer, I would recommend taking creatine during your eating window while intermittent fasting.
Creatine is known to increase energy during workouts and aid in muscle growth, which can be especially beneficial during a fasted workout.
However, it is important to note that creatine can cause some stomach discomfort if taken on an empty stomach. Therefore, it is best to take creatine with a meal or immediately after a meal.
It is also crucial to consume a lot of water while taking creatine to avoid dehydration. It is also essential that you adhere to the recommended dosage instructions and not exceed the daily limit.
Overall, taking creatine during your eating window while intermittent fasting can be a great addition to your fitness routine, but it is important to take it properly and with caution.
What to Avoid While Fasting?
Fasting is a process in which one abstains from eating or drinking for a specified amount of time. While fasting has many health benefits, it is vital to be aware of certain things to avoid in order to have a safe and effective fast.
First and foremost, no food or drink should be consumed during the fasting period, including tea, coffee, and other beverages or foods. This is due to the fact that consuming any calories will break the fast and may interfere with the body’s natural processes. Water is also forbidden in some fasts, despite the fact that it contains no calories.
Additionally, it is important to avoid strenuous exercise or physical activity during the fasting period, as the body may not have enough energy to sustain such physical activities.
It is advisable to engage in light to moderate exercise, such as yoga or walking, during the fasting period.
Finally, it is important to avoid overeating or consuming unhealthy foods during the non-fasting periods, as this can negate the benefits of fasting and may even lead to weight gain or other health problems.
Benefits & Side Effects of Creatine
Creatine is a popular supplement used by athletes and fitness enthusiasts to improve their athletic performance and strengthen their muscles.
Creatine is a natural amino acid found in muscles and the brain. The main benefit of creatine is its ability to increase phosphocreatine levels in the muscles , which can help provide energy for short bursts of intense exercise.
Research has shown that creatine supplementation can also increase muscle mass, strength, and reduce fatigue during long-term exercise and increase stamina [1, 2]. In addition, creatine has been shown to improve cognitive performance .
There are side effects that can come from creatine supplementation, the most common side effects includes gastrointestinal problems like diarrhea, constipation, bloating, etc . It’s important to stay well hydrated while taking creatine to prevent these side effects.
Furthermore, some studies have suggested that long-term use of creatine may be associated with an increased risk of kidney damage that’s why it is not recommended for individuals with renal disease .
However, more research is needed to fully understand the potential risks and benefits of creatine supplementation.
If you are experiencing any side effects from taking creatine, then it is recommended to consult with a healthcare professional.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
If you’re someone who is looking to build muscle, improve physical performance, or enhance cognitive function, you may be wondering if taking creatine will break your fast. While there isn’t a clear-cut answer, the general consensus among experts is that it’s possible to take creatine while fasting without breaking your fast, as long as you take it in the appropriate way.
Creatine supplementation may even provide some potential benefits during periods of fasting, such as preserving muscle mass, enhancing cognitive function, and improving glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity.
Take creatine during your feeding window when intermittent fasting for optimal absorption and utilization. Avoid calorie-containing foods and beverages, as well as supplements that may break your fast, such as those with added sugar.
Ultimately, with the right approach and guidance, you can optimize the effectiveness of creatine supplementation while still adhering to the principles of fasting.
More Creatine Guides
- Wu SH, Chen KL, Hsu C, Chen HC, Chen JY, Yu SY, Shiu YJ. Creatine Supplementation for Muscle Growth: A Scoping Review of Randomized Clinical Trials from 2012 to 2021. Nutrients. 2022 Mar 16;14(6):1255. doi: 10.3390/nu14061255. PMID: 35334912; PMCID: PMC8949037.
- Kreider, R.B., Kalman, D.S., Antonio, J. et al. International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: safety and efficacy of creatine supplementation in exercise, sport, and medicine. J Int Soc Sports Nutr 14, 18 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12970-017-0173-z
- Kurosawa Y, Hamaoka T, Katsumura T, Kuwamori M, Kimura N, Sako T, Chance B. Creatine supplementation enhances anaerobic ATP synthesis during a single 10 sec maximal handgrip exercise. Mol Cell Biochem. 2003 Feb;244(1-2):105-12. PMID: 12701817.
- Zange J, Kornblum C, Müller K, Kurtscheid S, Heck H, Schröder R, Grehl T, Vorgerd M. Creatine supplementation results in elevated phosphocreatine/adenosine triphosphate (ATP) ratios in the calf muscle of athletes but not in patients with myopathies. Ann Neurol. 2002 Jul;52(1):126; author reply 126-7. doi: 10.1002/ana.10197. PMID: 12112063.
- Hoddy KK, Gibbons C, Kroeger CM, Trepanowski JF, Barnosky A, Bhutani S, Gabel K, Finlayson G, Varady KA. Changes in hunger and fullness in relation to gut peptides before and after 8 weeks of alternate day fasting. Clin Nutr. 2016 Dec;35(6):1380-1385. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2016.03.011. Epub 2016 Mar 30. PMID: 27062219.
- Templeman I, Smith HA, Chowdhury E, Chen YC, Carroll H, Johnson-Bonson D, Hengist A, Smith R, Creighton J, Clayton D, Varley I, Karagounis LG, Wilhelmsen A, Tsintzas K, Reeves S, Walhin JP, Gonzalez JT, Thompson D, Betts JA. A randomized controlled trial to isolate the effects of fasting and energy restriction on weight loss and metabolic health in lean adults. Sci Transl Med. 2021 Jun 16;13(598):eabd8034. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.abd8034. PMID: 34135111.
- Welton S, Minty R, O’Driscoll T, Willms H, Poirier D, Madden S, Kelly L. Intermittent fasting and weight loss: Systematic review. Can Fam Physician. 2020 Feb;66(2):117-125. PMID: 32060194; PMCID: PMC7021351.
- Mandal S, Simmons N, Awan S, Chamari K, Ahmed I. Intermittent fasting: eating by the clock for health and exercise performance. BMJ Open Sport Exerc Med. 2022 Jan 7;8(1):e001206. doi: 10.1136/bmjsem-2021-001206. PMID: 35070352; PMCID: PMC8744103.
- Roschel H, Gualano B, Ostojic SM, Rawson ES. Creatine Supplementation and Brain Health. Nutrients. 2021 Feb 10;13(2):586. doi: 10.3390/nu13020586. PMID: 33578876; PMCID: PMC7916590.
- Ostojic SM, Ahmetovic Z. Gastrointestinal distress after creatine supplementation in athletes: are side effects dose dependent? Res Sports Med. 2008;16(1):15-22. doi: 10.1080/15438620701693280. PMID: 18373286.
- Vega J, Huidobro E JP. Efectos en la función renal de la suplementación de creatina con fines deportivos [Effects of creatine supplementation on renal function]. Rev Med Chil. 2019 May;147(5):628-633. Spanish. doi: 10.4067/S0034-98872019000500628. PMID: 31859895.
- Naderi A, de Oliveira EP, Ziegenfuss TN, Willems MT. Timing, Optimal Dose and Intake Duration of Dietary Supplements with Evidence-Based Use in Sports Nutrition. J Exerc Nutrition Biochem. 2016 Dec 31;20(4):1-12. doi: 10.20463/jenb.2016.0031. PMID: 28150472; PMCID: PMC5545206.
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