Some links in this article are affiliate links, which means we earn from qualifying purchases. Learn more.
If you’re fasting, you likely already know some supplements will break a fast, but what about creatine?
- Taking creatine with water will not break your fast since it doesn’t contain calories and does not affect blood sugar or insulin levels.
- However, this is only if your creatine supplement has no added sugars or sweeteners (which wouldn’t be the case if you’re taking a creatine stack).
- Some people only consume creatine during their feeding window because there has been some animal research (not conducted on humans) pointing toward creatine impacting insulin; however, this is not a commonly held opinion.
Will Creatine Break Your Fast?
A creatine supplement that has no added sugars and is mixed in water will not break your fast, so therefore, it can safely be consumed in the hours before your eating window.
However, suppose your creatine supplement contains additional ingredients.
In that case, there is a possibility that this could cause you to break your fast, which would be the case if you’re taking a pre-workout supplement that has creatine rather than taking creatine on its own.
Let’s look at some examples:
- A pure creatine supplement, such as this Microingredients Pure Creatine Monohydrate Powder from Amazon contains only one ingredient: creatine monohydrate. Taking this supplement mixed with water will not throw you out of a fast and can be safely consumed outside of your eating window.
- On the other hand, a creatine supplement such as this one from MuscleTech has a few ingredients that could affect insulin levels, such as the following sweeteners: Acesulfame-Potassium and Sucralose.
There is debate as to whether artificial sweeteners that contain 0 calories will throw you out of a fast.
Some evidence supports the notion that ingesting artificial sweeteners can result in insulin secretion as the body mistakes it for sugar due to its sweet taste.
Although other scientific evidence is available stating that artificial sweeteners do not affect insulin levels.
So, it looks like the research is a bit inconclusive.
If you want to be on the safe side: I’d look for creatine supplements that don’t have these ingredients.
Similarly, what you decide to mix your creatine supplement with can determine whether or not you break your fast. Mixing an unflavoured creatine supplement in water is the best way to ensure that you do not break your fast.
If you decide to mix your creatine with a liquid that contains calories and sugar, such as juice (which is a common practice among bodybuilders), this will break your fast.
While there may be potential benefits to consuming your creatine with a carbohydrate, if you are fasting, it is best to stick with water as a mixing agent.
Is It Safe to Take Creatine In A Fasted State?
Creatine is a supplement that can be consumed on an empty stomach safely.
However, for certain individuals, it could result in symptoms such as nausea, diarrhea, and stomach discomfort. This is not normal but has been reported by a minority of creatine users.
Here’s how to reduce the likelihood of digestive issues while taking creatine in a fasted state:
- It is best to stick with smaller servings since research indicates that ingesting 10 grams of creatine or less daily (and breaking this amount up throughout the day) could help decrease the incidence of digestive problems.
- If you are in a creatine-loading phase where you are consuming large amounts of creatine for a short period (e.g., 20 grams per day for 5-7 days), then you might be better off scheduling your creatine supplement around a meal during your feeding window.
- It should also be noted here that certain studies have indicated that creatine loading phases are not necessary to maximize creatine stores in your muscles and that you can achieve the same effect by taking a small amount of creatine every day. This particular study illustrated that muscles could be fully saturated with creatine by taking 3 grams per day for 28 days.
Takehome point: This method of consuming smaller doses of creatine over a longer period of time will likely be a better option if your stomach is sensitive and you want to take your creatine during your fasting window.
Should You Take Creatine When Fasting or During a Feeding Window?
Whether you decide to take your creatine supplement during your fasting or feeding window will ultimately depend on personal preference along with your workout schedule and how you personally react to taking creatine in a fasted state.
Taking a creatine supplement on an empty stomach will not be for everyone since it does have the potential to cause some negative digestive symptoms, such as what I discussed in the previous section.
Not only that, but there is some evidence to support taking your creatine supplement in the presence of protein and carbohydrates can increase your results.
For example, this study determined that those who took their creatine with a meal containing protein and carbs had greater improvements in strength compared to those who ingested their creatine on its own.
Whether you decide to take your creatine during your fasting or feeding window might also depend on what time of the day you work out, since research shows that consuming creatine in the hours closest to your training session (either pre or post-workout) can enhance muscle strength and increase lean body mass compared to when it is ingested in the hours away from training.
Here are some examples:
- If you normally fast between 6 pm and 10 am, and your workout is scheduled for 8 am, then you might benefit from consuming your creatine either before or after your workout on an empty stomach (as long as your stomach tolerates it).
- However, if you find that you need to eat something with your creatine consumption, then it would be best to schedule your workout during the hours of your feeding window (between 10 am and 6 pm) so that you can take your creatine with a pre or post-workout meal that contains protein and carbohydrates.
How to Take Creatine Without Breaking a Fast
To take a creatine supplement without breaking your fast, make sure that you are mixing your creatine powder or taking your capsules with plain water rather than mixing with a liquid that contains calories, such as juice.
In addition to this, it is best to choose a creatine supplement that is unflavoured and only contains creatine.
There are plenty of creatine supplements on the market that are unflavoured and contain only creatine, such as:
I love this brand for a few reasons, with the first being that it is an unflavoured form of creatine monohydrate containing no other additives or ingredients. In addition to this, Thorne supplements go through rigorous testing to make sure they are free of pesticides, heavy metals, and other contaminants.
Taking your creatine in a capsule is a great alternative if you prefer not to use a powder. I like this brand because of the minimal and simple ingredients, along with the fact that it is tested for banned substances. This brand also contains 2.5 g of creatine per capsule, meaning you only need to take 2 per day to reach a standard 5g daily serving.
Other Creatine Resources
If you want to learn more about proper creatine supplement supplementation, I invite you to explore our other articles:
- How Long For Creatine To Work?
- Does Creatine Make You Look Bigger
- What Happens When You Stop Creatine
- Does Creatine Make You More Vascular?
- Can You Build Muscle Without Creatine?
- Does Creatine Help You Lose Weight?
Rooney K, Bryson J, Phuyal J, Denyer G, Caterson I, Thompson C. Creatine supplementation alters insulin secretion and glucose homeostasis in vivo. Metabolism. 2002 Apr;51(4):518-22. doi: 10.1053/meta.2002.31330. PMID: 11912564.
Mathur K, Agrawal RK, Nagpure S, Deshpande D. Effect of artificial sweeteners on insulin resistance among type-2 diabetes mellitus patients. J Family Med Prim Care. 2020 Jan 28;9(1):69-71. doi: 10.4103/jfmpc.jfmpc_329_19. PMID: 32110567; PMCID: PMC7014832.
Daher MI, Matta JM, Abdel Nour AM. Non-nutritive sweeteners and type 2 diabetes: Should we ring the bell? Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 2019 Sep;155:107786. doi: 10.1016/j.diabres.2019.107786. Epub 2019 Jul 19. PMID: 31326455.
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.
Hultman E, Söderlund K, Timmons JA, Cederblad G, Greenhaff PL. Muscle creatine loading in men. J Appl Physiol (1985). 1996 Jul;81(1):232-7. doi: 10.1152/jappl.1918.104.22.168. PMID: 8828669.
CRIBB, PAUL J.1; WILLIAMS, ANDREW D.2; HAYES, ALAN1. A Creatine-Protein-Carbohydrate Supplement Enhances Responses to Resistance Training. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise 39(11):p 1960-1968, November 2007. | DOI: 10.1249/mss.0b013e31814fb52a
Cribb PJ, Hayes A. Effects of supplement timing and resistance exercise on skeletal muscle hypertrophy. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2006 Nov;38(11):1918-25. doi: 10.1249/01.mss.0000233790.08788.3e. PMID: 17095924.
About The Author
Colby Roy is a holistic health and nutrition coach. She is certified through Precision Nutrition and has a passion for all things nutrition and healing the body. More specifically, Colby likes to work with clients who want to optimize their gut health and energy levels.
Why Trust Our Content
On Staff at FeastGood.com, we have Registered Dietitians, coaches with PhDs in Human Nutrition, and internationally ranked athletes who contribute to our editorial process. This includes research, writing, editing, fact-checking, and product testing/reviews. At a bare minimum, all authors must be certified nutrition coaches by either the National Academy of Sports Medicine, International Sport Sciences Association, or Precision Nutrition. Learn more about our team here.
Have a Question?
If you have any questions or feedback about what you’ve read, you can reach out to us at email@example.com. We respond to every email within 1 business day.