Can You Drink Coffee While Intermittent Fasting?

By guardian-elite
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Intermittent Fasting and Coffee
What is intermittent fasting?
Does Intermittent Fasting Include Coffee?
Drinking Coffee While Intermittent Fasting is OK
Intermittent Fasting and Coffee

Drinking coffee is a staple of many of our morning routines, but what happens when we are doing intermittent fasting too?

Diets are never fun. Fun and diet rarely–if ever–are combined in the same sentence.

Why?

Because diets are fun-suckers, that’s why.

But really, no matter what diet style, plan or lifestyle you choose, you will always have to make some necessary changes and give up some things in order to reach your goals.

In any normal dieting routine, where you are in a caloric deficit during the day, you can usually work in most foods you want to eat or drink, as long as they are within your diet plan.

Related: What Are Macronutrients, and How to Start Counting Macros For Weight Loss?

What about intermittent fasting though? You are in a caloric deficit technically, but the kicker here is that you are also in a fasted state for a certain period of time. Usually 16-20 hours out of the day.

What does that mean then, especially when it comes to that morning cup of joe? Can you drink coffee while in a fasted state, and stay in a fasted state?

What if I told you that yes, you can drink coffee and not break your fast!

But there is a catch and there are some rules guidelines you’ll need to follow to make sure you don’t end up breaking your fast after all.

I’ll explain why below. First let’s cover our bases on intermittent fasting.

What is intermittent fasting?

Intermittent fasting is a trendy buzz word that has worked its way from a small corner of the fitness community, to the mainstream. Looking at Google Trend information since 2004, the interest in intermittent fasting has exploded since 2017.

This increase in popularity has spawned many different forms, “protocols” as they’re called, do’s and don’ts. Even with all of the new information and teachings for what intermittent fasting is and isn’t, there is still mystery around how to actually make intermittent fasting work with our daily lives.What can I eat, and when? Can I drink water? When am I in a fasted state?In its simplest form, intermittent fasting can be explained as a periodic break from eating. Experts say that the body is officially considered to be in a fasted state anywhere from 8-12 hours after the last meal has been consumed.

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The premise behind being in the fasted state for an extended period of time is that you are depleting your body of carbohydrates to be used as an energy source, and instead your body will result to using its own fat stores for energy.

This idea has been expanded to fasting while exercising too. Although, it is unclear whether performing any exercise while being in a fasted state is the most efficient driver of fat loss.

Don’t believe me? See my blog post I wrote on Why You Should Stop Doing Fasted Cardio For Fat Loss.

But this doesn’t mean there aren’t benefits to intermittent fasting. Actually, the opposite is true according to the available research on the topic.

Science behind intermittent fasting

There have been quite a few scientific studies done on the topic of intermittent fasting, but they have so far been limited to animals. The results thus far have been pretty promising though.

In this article, “Intermittent Fasting: the science of going without”, Roger Collier explains in detail the benefits that were found in these scientific studies that could mean humans definitely could benefit from periods of fasting.

There is indeed a large body of research to support the health benefits of fasting, though most of it has been conducted on animals, not humans. Still, the results have been promising. Fasting has been shown to improve biomarkers of disease, reduce oxidative stress and preserve learning and memory functioning, according to Mark Mattson, senior investigator for the National Institute on Aging, part of the US National Institutes of Health. Mattson has investigated the health benefits of intermittent fasting on the cardiovascular system and brain in rodents, and has called for “well-controlled human studies” in people “across a range of body mass indexes” (J Nutr Biochem 2005;16:129–37).

Benefits of intermittent fasting

The most immediate and obvious of benefits of intermittent fasting would be overall fat loss. As long as you are not overeating to compensate during the eating hours of your day, you will lose body fat.

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This actually has less to do with the fact that you fasted and more to do with the fact that you have restricted your over-all calorie intake for the day. But the act of fasting itself, can present some unique benefits.

Studies have shown that intermittent fasting with animals, may reduce your risk of chronic diseases, like type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and even cancer

Does Intermittent Fasting Include Coffee?

For me personally, combining the effects of being super hangry from lack of food AND not being able to drink coffee might just push me over the edge.

I’m not the only one.The National Coffee Association (yeah, that’s actually a thing) conducted a fairly recent study that says 64% of Americans drink coffee. On top of that, 79% of those coffee drinkers are making their coffee at home.However, brewing a cup of black coffee will result in a big fat zero in the fat department and is basically zero calorie. So yes, you can drink black coffee in the morning (or whenever) and not break your fast!
What is in coffee?

What is coffee made up of? Why won’t it affect an intermittent fasting schedule?

Beans and water, right?

Yes. But let’s take a look at the compounds that make up coffee and why they are good.

Caffeine and Antioxidants

A typical cup of coffee contains 75-100mg of caffeine. In fact, the European Food safety authority says that a caffeine intake up to 400mg won’t have any adverse effects. It’s easy to see why so many people like to drink coffee, and the benefits of caffeine is a big part of that.

Caffeine can increase attention, alertness and even physical performance. One thing to be aware of though, which most coffee drinkers are already aware of, is the effects of drinking coffee and disturbing your sleep times and patterns. Although this can easily be avoided—don’t drink coffee before bed!

The antioxidants found in coffee, and many plant-based foods are good for you because they help to combat free radicals that can form in your body and reduce the chances of oxidative stress due to a lower level of antioxidants as compared to these free radicals.

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In more simpler terms, these antioxidants are good for you!

Other options to black coffee

Some of you frown upon a cup of bitter, straight black coffee. What are you to do if you need sweetener or creamer in your coffee, but don’t want to break your fast?

Sorry, but dairy and non-dairy creamers is all but out as an option if you don’t want to break your fast.

You do have some options though.

Studio Fitness came up with some “Almost Zero” additives that will not break your fast.

Black coffee
Dash of Ceylon Cinnamon
Very small amount of Pure Stevia Extract
Pinch of Himalayan Salt
Other zero calorie additives to try

Man Sports ISO-Amino coffee creamer includes BCAA powder—French vanilla

Walden Farms Naturally Flavored Calorie Free Coffee Creamer French Vanilla
NuNaturals NuStevia Sugar-Free Cocoa Syrup Natural Stevia Sweetener with 0 Calories, 0 Sugar, 0 Carb
Appetite suppressing effects of coffee

Research has shown that drinking coffee in moderation can suppress your appetite. The caffeine in coffee can work to temporarily reduce your appetite.

As if you needed another reason at this point to be celebrating the fact that you’re good to go drinking coffee during your fast. Coffee can also temporarily boost your metabolism.

Drinking Coffee While Intermittent Fasting is OK

Final word here. Yes, you can drink coffee while intermittent fasting and you will not break your fast.

Summary:

Stay away from sweeteners
Do not use traditional dairy and non-creamers
Black coffee is best
As with anything, drink in moderation
Experiment with zero calorie additives if desired

Dieting is bad enough at times, for those of you doing intermittent fasting, it could be even worse. Especially in the morning. It’s pretty good to know at least we can still have our coffee.

So drink up, friends.

Have you tried this?

We want to hear form you! What were your experiences? Have you tried a different additive that is awesome? Let us know in the comments!