Should You Vape While Fasting | Vaping On A Diet

Can You Vape While Fasting? | Vaping On A Diet

Adam WinterHealth Guides 20 Comments

You wouldn’t believe how many times I’ve been asked if it’s ok to vape while fasting. Or whether vaping on a diet will help or hinder progress. Although I think the question I get most often is whether it’s ok to vape during Ramadan, the Islamic religious holiday.

Now, I’m not a Muslim so this is just my personal opinion. But I always understood the act of fasting during Ramadan as a display of total self discipline. Removing pleasures considered impure, not just food and drink. When you add to that the fact that vaping with nicotine is addictive, I would think it’s fair to say you probably shouldn’t vape while fasting for Ramadan.

Incidentally, I’ve also written a post about whether vaping will break Wudu which you might find of interest.

BUT, what about those of us not fasting for religious reasons…

Vape While Fasting | For Religious Reasons OR Otherwise

If you’re fasting for weight loss for example. What then? Should you set aside your vape while fasting? More to the point perhaps, does e-juice contain calories? And if so, will vaping stop you losing weight?

The short answer is NO..

It’s perfectly ok to vape while fasting for weight loss. Although e-juice does contain calories, you ‘consume’ less than 5 calories per 1ml, which means vaping won’t interfere with your weight loss goals. In addition to this, nicotine is actually an appetite suppressor, which means vaping could actually help you to lose weight.

It’s also worth noting that e-juice contains zero carbohydrates, so won’t affect those on a Ketogenic diet!

But what if you’re fasting to improve your health rather than to lose weight? Studies have shown that fasting could have a range of health benefits (if done properly!) and it’s become something of a health craze in recent years.

We already know e-juice contains very few calories, but does the body ‘recognise’ vaping in the same way it does food? And if so, will you lose the potential benefits of a fast if you reach for your vape?

This is slightly harder to answer. First we need to take a look at what happens to your body when you fast, and what impact (if any!) vaping could have on this process.

What happens to the body during a fast?

In order to talk about fasting, it’s important to understand that your body is reliant on energy (among other things!) to survive. Our main source of energy is a sugar called glucose, which we absorb through our diet. Specifically carbohydrates. This glucose is stored by the liver and released into the bloodstream when we need it.

During the first few hours of your fast, your body is using stored glucose. However, when your glucose reserve is depleted, your body enters gluconeogenesis to maintain blood glucose levels and prevent hypoglycaemia (low levels). Think of this as a ‘back-up plan’ of sorts, for production of new glucose in the absence of carbohydrates from your diet.

As you continue fasting, your body will begin to use fat or protein to maintain your blood glucose levels. Your metabolism will also slow to conserve energy, which means your body will burn less energy in a resting state. This also has the added benefit of lowering your blood pressure and heart rate.

The above process is ridiculously complicated, and I’m far from qualified to write at any length about it. But that’s the bare bones (fasting – get it?…) and all we really need to know for now.

What are the benefits of fasting?

In terms of the general benefits, it’s believed that fasting cleanses or ‘detoxes’ the body and forces our cells to adapt and thereby grow stronger. A bit like exercising any other part of the body – placing the muscle under stress and forcing it to adapt and grow.

Should You Vape While Fasting | Fasting Could Be Like Exercise For Your Cells

Makes sense right?

Now fasting has been touted as a miracle cure-all by some, and I’m not sure I quite believe everything I read on the subject. BUT, several studies have found that fasting could not only reduce your blood sugar levels, but also improve blood sugar control by reducing insulin resistance. Which is a potentially HUGE benefit for those suffering from, or at risk of, type 2 diabetes.

Decreasing insulin resistance can increase your sensitivity to insulin, which in turn allows your cells to make more efficient use of the glucose in your bloodstream. So if fasting reduces blood sugar levels, while simultaneously increasing your sensitivity to insulin, this could help you balance your blood sugar and reduce the risk of dangerously high or low levels.

Still with me?

Further studies have shown that fasting could also decrease inflammation in the body, and research confirms that chronic inflammation may be a contributing factor for various diseases, such as diabetes, cancer and arthritis.

Fasting has been linked to a whole host of other health benefits, ranging from decreased blood pressure, to lower cholesterol and improved heart health. You get the picture – it’s fair to say that fasting properly could have positive effects on your overall health.

So should I vape while fasting?

One of the key benefits of fasting, as we’ve talked about above, is the belief that our cells adapt by entering a state they wouldn’t have otherwise entered when receiving a constant supply of energy via the food we consume.

So in my mind, the first and most important thing to consider is whether the e-juice we vape provides the body with a supply of energy. In other words, if e-juice is ‘recognised’ by your body as a source of calories or energy the same way food is, then to vape while fasting is like trying to dig your way out of a hole – you won’t achieve anything.

After all, you’re not really fasting if your body is receiving a replacement source of ‘fuel’ in the form of the e-juice you’re vaping.

Surprisingly, the scientific community don’t appear to actually know what happens to the calories absorbed into the lungs during vaping. I expected to find a study or research paper that would put this issue to rest, but I had no such luck at the time of writing. But this doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t vape while fasting – it could very well be the case that the body receives ZERO calories or energy from the e-juice you vape.

Now full disclaimer here, I’m no doctor.

BUT it seems unlikely to me that the body would recognise the e-juice we’re vaping as a source of fuel, primarily because we’re not actually digesting the e-juice.

So if we’re looking at this as purely a case of whether it’s possible to place your body into a state of fasting if you continue to vape, the answer is yes! There’s no reason to believe the e-juice you inhale will inhibit your ability to properly fast.

But will I experience the benefits of fasting if I continue to vape?

Yes and no.

First the good news. I found this study, conducted to determine if smoking affected fasting blood sugar levels. I know the focus is on cigarette smoke, but the results should be comparable to vaping. The participant’s blood sugar levels were tested before, during and after smoking two cigarettes in 60 minutes.

The results?

“When 24 normal subjects under basal conditions smoked two thirds of 2 cigarettes, there was no appreciable rise in the levels of the fasting blood sugar”.

The bad (but expected) news is that the study found the blood pressure and pulse rate of the participants was significantly raised after the 2 cigarettes. This was expected because nicotine is a stimulant, and the same effect is likely to be seen when vaping e-juice containing nicotine.

In terms of insulin resistance (a benefit of fasting is reduced insulin resistance) a recent study found that e-cigarette exposure or use was not associated with increased insulin resistance. So to summarise, the benefit to your blood sugar level and insulin resistance obtained by fasting, should not be affected by vaping.

However, I did find some potentially troubling news. This study, conducted in January 2021 found that repetitive use of e-cigarettes may disrupt the integrity of the gut barrier, increase the susceptibility of the gut lining to bacterial infections and trigger inflammation.

I still believe vaping is a far healthier alternative to smoking, but this is obviously somewhat concerning. I’m hoping further studies will help to shed some light on these findings and I’ll be sure to post an update.

And there you have it folks. If you were wondering whether you should vape while fasting, hopefully by now you have enough info to make an informed decision. Please feel free to share this post, and comment below with your thoughts. Happy vaping (and fasting!)

Comments 20

  1. I’m really impressed by the insights you’ve shared! It’s clear you’ve considered many important facets. Continue your excellent work in writing!

  2. I found your article while searching about vaping and blood sugar levels. I was recently diagnosed as pre-diabetic. I have started a ketogenic diet and intermittent fasting. I exercise for an hour most evenings. So tonight, what led me to search was I did a finger stick about 45 minutes after exercising and my blood sugar was 123 mg/dL. I was then was watching YouTube for about 30 minutes while vaping so I thought I would check my levels again to see if vaping changes anything and it jumped to 169 mg/dL! The ONLY thing I had was some stevia sweetened electrolytes and the vape. So now I am worried the vaping is causing my sugars to rise. I guess I will test again tomorrow to make sure it’s not the electrolytes but I would bet it’s the vape. 🙁

    1. Hi Kimberly, thank you for your detailed input about your blood sugar levels. Please do let us know how you get on when you test again. We are interested to see if you can pinpoint the rise in your blood sugar level being down to vaping.

    2. It’s a controversial subject in the world of fasting, but some researches believe that anything sweet, including stevia (despite the lack of calories), and perhaps even sweet flavored vapes, could induce an insulin response in the body. Try testing with one or the other, but not together, and see what happens to your blood glucose levels.

  3. Amazing article mate, thanks for such in detail writeup.
    The study you mentioned at the end about leaky gut due to vaping, I am not sure I am convinced by that study. Because the researchers made a 3D module of the gut with human stem cells and then exposed it directly to e-cigarette vapors. In reality our gut is not exposed to vapors directly as we are inhaling the vapor, it’s going to lungs… I think the only way to find it out is to expose gut linings with vapor exposed blood.

    1. Thanks for the great feedback Zeeshan, glad you liked the post! That’s also a really interesting point you’ve raised about the study! I’ll have to go back and have another read, but I think you’re on to something there…

  4. A single grain of sugar can break a fast, and there is sugar in e-juice which goes on your lips and tongue… I’d say vaping can definitely inhibit ketosis.

    1. Hi, thank you for your comment.
      Firstly, e-liquid or e-juice does not contain added sugar. Some flavoured e-liquids can have sweeteners added and some flavors can contain naturally occurring sugars. The levels you may find in an average daily 300 puffs are very negligible.
      Also you do have the choice to vape without adding flavors.
      Secondly, there have been many articles already written stating that vaping does NOT inhibit Ketosis. In fact some vapors say who maintain their keto diets that it helps them get the sugar kick without consuming sugar or carbs.

      1. An Islamic fast immediately breaks on vaping. May be you aren’t aware of the Islamic fasting and some people might inadvertently take your article to include Islamic fasting. Please clarify that in your article to avoid a confusion.

        1. Hi Faizy, thanks for your comment. I’m not sure if you missed the paragraph at the top of the post, but I’ll paste it here to avoid any confusion –

          “Now, I’m not a Muslim so this is just my personal opinion. But I always understood the act of fasting during Ramadan as a display of total self discipline. Removing pleasures considered impure, not just food and drink. When you add to that the fact that vaping with nicotine is addictive, I would think it’s fair to say you probably shouldn’t vape while fasting for Ramadan.”

          The remainder of the post is with respect to those who are NOT fasting for religious reasons. Hope that helps 🙂

          1. Yes, vegetable glycerin does contain alcoholic sugars which are converted to calories/sugar. So yes, vaping does break a fast.

          2. Thanks for your comment. As I stated in the post; I’m not a doctor and can’t categorically state vaping won’t break a fast. However, for the vast majority of those fasting for weight loss or the purported health benefits, vaping during the fast is highly unlikely to interfere or ‘break’ the fast. We know that e- juice has very few calories (less than 5 calories per 1ml of e-juice). As I’m sure you know, the jury is still very much out as to whether these already miniscule calories are even absorbed by the human body, as they’re being inhaled into the lungs and not digested. I also linked to several studies in the post, which support the theory that vaping is unlikely to increase blood sugar levels or affect insulin resistance, both of which are important factors when fasting. I appreciate your feedback but I’ve yet to see any hard evidence that indicates vaping and fasting can’t be enjoyed simultaneously. Thanks for reaching out – Happy vaping!

  5. That study you site near the end is only about insulin ‘resistance’, however when fasting surely what we want to know is if vaping causes an insulin ‘response’ (as this is what will take you out of fasting and stop ketosis)?

    1. Hi Benito, thanks for the comment. I cited the study about insulin resistance because our ‘sensitivity’ to insulin is a big factor in whether vaping affects a diet or period of fasting. I know any sweet taste can potentially cause an insulin spike or reaction but this will vary considerably from person to person.

      Your best bet is to get yourself a home glucose testing kit and test yourself while fasting. Test yourself before vaping and approx 30 – 60 minutes after vaping. If your glucose level went down then you know you had an insulin reaction to your vape/e-juice.

      I would also recommend taking a look at the many vaping forums. It’s anecdotal, but I found many vapers on the keto diet who claimed vaping had no effect on their ability to stay in a state of keto.

      Hope this helps mate

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