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What does fasting mean before blood work?

Fasting for blood work means putting food and drinks on hold — including your morning cup of coffee. Other than water, food and drinks that you consume can add to or alter components in your blood that affect your sample and your doctor's interpretation of your health.

What can you have when fasting for blood work?

The process of fasting ensures that the results of your blood test will not be confused by foods that you have eaten during the last few hours that your body has not fully absorbed. You should not eat food, drink coffee or take some medications for eight to 12 hours before a fasting blood test, but most physicians agree that you can drink water.

How long should fasting before blood work?

There are three main tests that require fasting -- glucose, cholesterol and iron. Cholesterol screenings require you to fast for at least 9 to 12 hours prior to blood work, with a 24-hour break from alcohol prior to testing.

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