Intermittent fasting is a dietary regimen that comes with many benefits but also stipulations. What can you eat? When can you eat? What can you drink? And even questions such as whether or not vaping will break intermittent fasting?
For most people, vaping does not break intermittent fasting. Vape liquid does contain calories and sugar, but usually in negligible amounts. Only heavy e-smokers will see a significant caloric impact from vaping.
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What Is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting (or IF, for short) is a way to rev up your metabolism for increased fat-burning potential. Eating is limited to a specific time window each day, and the rest of the day is spent fasting (AKA a period of no caloric intake). After a while, being in a fasted state will switch your metabolism from carb-burning to fat-burning and introduce possible long-term health benefits.
Multiple variations of IF exist, making it easily customizable to your schedule and needs.
How Do I “Break” My Fast?
The moment you consume calories, your body breaks its fast and shifts back into carb-burning mode, using sugar as fuel. There’s some debate on how many calories will break a fast; strict fasters insist that even a single calorie consumed will break a fast, while others suggest that minimal caloric intake (10 calories or less) is acceptable.
What Is Vaping?
Vapes and e-cigs are smoking alternatives that provide customizable access to nicotine. Each device uses a heated filament to turn e-liquid (a mixture of propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, nicotine, and flavorings) into an inhalable vapor. Some vapes also introduce cannabis derivatives, like THC, to their formulas.
These mechanisms were introduced as an alternative to smoking in the mid-2000s. Some people use electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) to quit or reduce smoking because ENDS are marketed as “healthier” alternatives to traditional cigarettes. Others use ENDS as their first exposure to recreational nicotine.
Will Vaping Break My Fast?
The short answer: no, vaping will not break your fast. E-liquids generally contain between 4 to 5 calories per milliliter. One milliliter contains the nicotine equivalent of about 5 cigarettes. So when used in relative moderation, the caloric impact of e-liquids is negligible.
The longer answer: well, maybe. Strict fasters would say yes, vaping breaks your fast because any caloric intake, no matter how small, will disrupt your body’s fasted state. But there is currently no definitive evidence backing either of these answers.
Depending on the strictness of your personal fast, you have the power to decide whether vaping can slip into your fast undetected.
Is Vaping Safe?
ENDS are advertised as safer alternatives to traditional cigarettes. And on the surface, this may seem true. E-liquids contain fewer overall chemicals than cigarettes, theoretically reducing smokers’ exposure to toxicity. But e-liquids still contain upwards of 2,000 chemical compounds, some of which have known toxic or carcinogenic properties, and many aerosolized e-liquid components have unknown effects on human health.
Increased Risk Of Addiction
Nicotine is an inherently addictive substance. Though ENDS can be modified to provide less nicotine per puff than a cigarette, regular nicotine usage can still snowball into long-term addiction.
For instance, the e-liquid pods of the JUUL, a common e-cig, contain as much nicotine as 1.5 to 2 packs of cigarettes. Multiple puffs per day can quickly add up to roughly 10 pods per month (6-7 cigarettes per day). E-liquids also come in a variety of flavors and intensities, enticing younger demographics to use ENDS and introducing youth to nicotine addiction as early as middle school. ENDS’ lack of harsh smell and smoke helps reduce the social stigma surrounding smoking, making the habit more approachable.
But Don’t Some People Vape To Overcome Nicotine Addiction?
People with a history of heavy smoking may benefit from switching to ENDS and slowly lowering their nicotine dosage to near zero. However, ENDS remain unapproved by the FDA as a smoking cessation method.
ENDS are increasingly used recreationally by people with no history of nicotine usage or addiction. Due to the high concentration of nicotine in e-liquids, ENDS can easily become habit-forming and lead to nicotine addiction in people who would never consider traditional smoking.
Both cigarettes and ENDS rely on the user’s inhalation of small particles via vapor or smoke. These particles can penetrate deep into your lung tissue and cause noticeable harm.
In 2019, thousands of ENDS users developed gastrointestinal and respiratory problems after vaping. Vitamin E acetate, a solution used to cut e-liquids with THC, was a common culprit. It turns into ketene gas when vaporized, a substance known to be highly toxic and cause acute lung injury.
Though the concentrations of toxic chemicals found in e-liquids and aerosols are lower than in traditional cigarettes, ENDS users are still exposing themselves to a cocktail of toxic substances.
The cardiopulmonary effects of traditional cigarettes — such as trouble breathing, bronchitis, lung disease, and heart disease — usually take years to develop. But with ENDS-related illness, symptoms of acute lung injury can arise in under 48 hours. E-cig vapor even causes cellular changes associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and contains concentrations of toxic metals on par with cigarette smoke.
The Bottom Line: Does Vaping Break Intermittent Fasting?
At the end of the day, vaping will most likely not break your fast. Its caloric contents are minimal and e-cig users can generally smoke up to one milliliter of e-liquid while fasting. However, ENDS users should be aware of vaping’s potential health consequences. Use ENDS with caution and be sure to stay aware of the substances present in any e-liquids you use.
So, what do you think about this information about vaping, intermittent fasting, and potential health consequences? Let us know your thoughts and why in the comments below!