Does Bacon Break A Fast? A Comprehensive Guide

Bacon is a beloved food for many people. It’s smoky, salty, crispy goodness seems like the perfect thing to break a fast with. However, in the world of intermittent fasting and other fasting diets, there is some debate around whether or not bacon is an appropriate food to break a fast.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore both sides of the argument, look at the science behind it, and help you determine if bacon is right for your fasting goals. Let’s dive in!

What is Intermittent Fasting?

Before we get into the debate around bacon, let’s quickly recap what intermittent fasting is.

Intermittent fasting (IF) is an eating pattern that involves cycles of fasting and eating. It doesn’t specify which foods you should eat, but rather when you should eat them. The most common IF protocol is the 16:8 method, where you fast for 16 hours of the day and eat during an 8 hour window.

Other popular IF schedules include the 5:2 diet, where you eat normally 5 days a week and fast/restrict calories for 2, and alternate day fasting, which involves fasting every other day.

People practice IF for a variety of health benefits including:

  • Weight loss
  • Improved blood sugar control
  • Heart health
  • Brain health
  • Anti-aging

During the fasting period, your body undergoes a metabolic switch from burning glucose to burning fat stores for fuel. This is what makes IF an effective approach for weight loss.

Does Eating Bacon Break Your Fast?

Now that we’re clear on what IF is, let’s look at the debate. Does eating bacon during your fasting window break your fast?

The Short Answer: Technically, yes. Any caloric intake breaks a fast.

The Longer Answer: It’s a bit more nuanced than that. Here are a few points to consider:

  • Calories: Even small amounts of calories can switch your body from a fasted state to a fed state. Just 50 calories have been shown to do this. Two strips of bacon can have around 80 calories. So yes, it will break your fast.

  • Insulin: Eating protein can spike insulin, which switches your body into “fed mode.” Fat has little effect on insulin. So while the protein in bacon could spike insulin, the fat may not.

  • Ketosis If your goal with fasting is to achieve ketosis, where your body burns fat for fuel, bacon may not disrupt this, since it contains fat.

Breaking Your Fast With Bacon – The Pros

Now let’s look at some of the reasons why eating bacon to break your fast may be beneficial for some people.

1. Provides Fat and Protein

Your first meal after a fast should focus on replenishing nutrients without spiking blood sugar. Bacon contains high quality protein and healthy fats. This makes it satiating and unlikely to cause an energy crash.

2. Won’t Disrupt Ketosis

One of the major benefits of fasting is reaching ketosis. For keto dieters, bacon is a perfect food to prolong ketosis thanks to its high fat content and low carbs.

3. Can Prevent Overeating

Fatty foods like bacon may activate hormones that suppress appetite. Some find starting their eating window with bacon prevents ravenous overeating of carbs and sugars later on.

4. Provides Electrolytes

During extended fasting, electrolyte imbalances can occur. Bacon contains sodium and potassium which may help replenish depleted levels.

5. Easy to Digest

Compared to eating a large meal to break your fast, bacon is relatively easy on your digestive system. After a long period without food, bacon makes for a gentle transition.

The Potential Cons of Eating Bacon to Break a Fast

Of course, bacon isn’t necessarily the perfect food for everyone when breaking a fast. Here are some of the potential downsides to consider:

  • High in sodium – For those restricting sodium due to health conditions like hypertension, bacon may not be the best choice.

  • May spike insulin – If your goal is to minimize insulin response, even lean protein sources may interfere with this.

  • Processed and nitrite-cured – Some may want to avoid these harmful compounds found in most commercial bacon.

  • Does technically break your fast – Even 50 calories switches the body from a fasted to fed state, disrupting some of the benefits.

  • Provides incomplete nutrition – To replenish nutrients after fasting, vegetables, fruits and complex carbs are needed, not just bacon.

Tips for Breaking Your Fast With Bacon

If you do choose to break your fast with bacon, here are some tips to do it in a healthy way:

  • Choose high quality bacon without added sugars or preservatives
  • Eat it alongside vegetables, eggs, nuts and seeds
  • Watch portion sizes and avoid overeating
  • Opt for turkey or chicken bacon to reduce sodium
  • Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated
  • Take it slow and give your body time to adjust
  • Listen to your body’s signals of hunger and fullness

Break your fast gradually with a small amount of bacon, then build up to a full, balanced meal over time. Avoid overstuffing yourself right away after a long period of fasting.

Top 10 Foods to Break a Fast Besides Bacon

While bacon can be a reasonable fasting-breaking option for some, it shouldn’t be your only choice. Here are 10 nutritious foods that also make great first meals to break a fast:

1. Eggs – An excellent source of protein and healthy fats. Easy on the stomach.

2. Avocado – Provides fiber, volume, and healthy fats to fill you up.

3. Bone broth – Soothes the digestive tract and provides electrolytes.

4. Hummus and veggies – Plant protein and fiber prevent blood sugar spikes.

5. Yogurt and berries – Has protein, fat, carbs and gut healing probiotics.

6. Chia pudding – Fibrous and filling, made with protein-rich chia seeds.

7. Salad with tuna or salmon – Lean protein and greens recharge nutrients.

8. Smoothies – Blend healthy fats, fruits, greens, and protein powder.

9. Soup – Warm broth is comforting and nourishing.

10. Nut butter on celery – Healthy fats paired with hydrating celery.

Choose whole, nutrient-dense foods to refuel your body and mind after fasting. Avoid highly processed options or sugary carbs which can cause crashes.

The Verdict: Is Bacon OK for Fasting?

So what’s the final verdict? Is bacon a good food for breaking your fast?

The answer is…it depends!

If your goal with fasting is ketosis or fat burning, and you tolerate bacon well, then yes – having it in moderation may help prolong ketosis and provide satiety.

However, if your aim is lowering insulin, maximizing autophagy, or strictly adhering to zero calories, bacon is not the best option, as it does provide calories, fat, and protein that can stimulate insulin.

At the end of the day, listen to your body’s signals, be aware of your personal fasting goals and health conditions, and choose whole food options to break your fast. Bacon can be part of a healthy dietary pattern, but shouldn’t be your only fasting food.

Experiment to see if bacon helps or hinders your personal fasting regimen. Finding the right foods to break your fast is a process of trial and error.

The most important thing is to choose real, minimally processed foods and avoid carb and sugar crashes. If bacon helps you do this, then enjoy it! But be sure to incorporate plenty of other wholesome foods as well.

The Bottom Line

Does bacon break your fast? Strictly speaking, yes it does. However, depending on your specific goals with fasting, bacon may or may not interfere with your desired benefits.

Pay attention to calories, insulin response, and achieving ketosis when determining if bacon fits into your intermittent fasting plan. Have it in moderation alongside other nutritious foods for breaking fasts.

Most importantly, listen to your body, tune into your energy levels, and be flexible. Finding the right dietary pattern for your needs is a personal journey. Experiment, track your results, and enjoy delicious real foods – like bacon! – as part of an overall healthy fasting lifestyle.

5 Foods To NEVER Break Your Fast With – Intermittent Fasting Mistakes


Is bacon ok to break a fast?

It’s not recommended that you break your fast with red meat as it’s more difficult to digest than eggs or fish. Meat products should be eaten as your second meal. Avoid experimenting! Trying new foods after a fast can make digestion harder and may make you ill.

Can you eat meat while fasting?

As we talked about above, Catholics should abstain from meat on Fridays and fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Other than those rules, there is no set diet. Many people choose to perform an additional penance, besides the fasting and abstinence from meat, that might involve food.

Can a piece of meat break a fast?

But that said, if you have a “happy gut” that produces adequate amounts of digestive enzymes, it’s possible for you to break your fast with something like meat and experience no issues at all, says Pedre. It’s all about the individual, so experiment a bit and see what works for you.

What foods should you eat to break a fast?

Fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, tempeh, and pickled vegetables are among the best foods to eat to break a fast. Fermented foods are a natural source of probiotics, which are the beneficial bacteria that inhabit your gut microbiome and help you digest food and decrease gut and systemic inflammation. 5

Can one eat bacon with diverticulosis?

You can eat bacon with diverticulosis, but it is not the most recommended. In a person with diverticulosis, it is recommended to consume foods with soluble fiber such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes.

What breaks a fast?

Strictly speaking: any amount of calories, no matter how small, disrupts the fasting process. If you’re following your intermittent fasting plan to the letter, that means no calories, whatsoever, for the entirety of your fasting window.

Does eating a lot of food break a fast?

Hate to break it to you, but “technically, consuming any calories breaks a fast,” says Benjamin Horne, Ph.D., a genetic epidemiologist who has published research on the effects of intermittent fasting. Even a few calories’ worth of food can inactivate some of fasting’s perks.

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