For a good cholesterol (lipid panel) or glucose (blood sugar) check the patient should have at least an 8 hour fast. Some places state that they want a 12 hour fast so those orders should be followed. If the patient was going to have blood drawn at 8:00 in the morning, then they shouldn't have anything to eat or drink after 12:00 at night. If it is 12 hour fast then no food or drink after 8:00 in the evening. However, we encourage people to drink water. One can drink as much water as they want and still be fasting. This accomplishes two things; the patient is well hydrated (which makes it easier to draw their blood) and two, the patient can take their medications. Also drinking water sometimes makes the patient feel like they have had something and they don't feel so hungry. The patient can drink black coffee or tea, but they cannot put sugar, creamer, cream or milk in these drinks.
Some medicines that a patient takes may require them to be taken with food. If these meds must be taken at a specific early morning time, a fasting blood specimen would not be feasible. When asked by the lab personnel if they are fasting they should say they "No, I'm not fasting because I have medications that need to be taken with food." These cases are very rare. A note will be put on the report that the patient was unable to fast due to medications they have to take with food.