The Most Important Dos & Don'ts When Drinking Coffee While Fasting
If you practice intermittent fasting yet enjoy your morning java, you might wonder if you can have coffee at such times without "breaking" your fast. You may also be asking if drinking coffee on an empty stomach has any positive effects on your health or completely negates the advantages of fasting. In this in-depth blog about drinking coffee while fasting we discuss the advantages, disadvantages, and best practices for improving metabolic health and extending life. It was created after extensive research and consultation with health and nutrition specialists.
The benefits of fasting.
Cycling between times of fasting and periods of nutrient ingestion is known as intermittent fasting. Time-restricted eating (TRE) is a sort of intermittent fasting that entails consuming only a little amount of food every hour of the day and fasting the rest of the time. Examples of ratios include 16:8 and 18:6, where the first number represents the number of hours in a day that you go without eating.
Fasting intervals have positive effects on your metabolic health, regardless of the intermittent fasting technique you choose. Fundamentally, intermittent fasting helps people rewire their relationship with food, eating, and fullness signals.
Food or lack of food can help regulate our internal clocks, turning our genes on and off and regulating metabolism. Independent of weight loss, people who practice time-restricted eating have improved blood pressure and insulin and glucose levels.
Fasting also has advantages that extend beyond metabolic health and may promote longevity. Eating in a narrower window each day, particularly if most of the calories are taken in the morning and early afternoon, has been shown to increase the amount of time the body spends making vital repairs that can save us from diseases we don't yet have and might halt or even reverse some diseases we do.
You might consider the time you fast as your body enters "cellular housekeeping" mode. Patching up damaged or miscopied DNA, producing more antioxidants to fend off the daily assault from free radicals, and increasing autophagy, which is the recycling of worn-out cellular parts, are among the repairs the body accelerates during time-restricted eating.
The questions we want answers too still remains….Does coffee impede progress? Does coffee break a fast? And is it possible to drink coffee without impairing the advantages of time-restricted eating?
The solutions are not that simple. There are approximately just two calories in one cup of black coffee, thus the caloric influence on the fast is probably negligible. Although it's unclear how much caffeine interferes with the advantages of fasting, it will theoretically damage your fast. What we know for sure is that even a small amount of caffeine, particularly in the morning, resets our circadian clocks, but to what extent morning caffeine also fires up our metabolism and pulls us out of our body's fasting-and-repair mode is, so far as I know, still uncertain. We do know that several common coffee ingredients will further break your fast. Coffee may induce insulin release even without sugar or carbs. What breaks any fast, is when you cause an insulin spike, which would be caused by eating carbohydrates or taking sugar in your coffee, for example.
Anything that contains a calorie can affect fasting. Specifically, this goes for carbs, fats, proteins, and alcohol. These nutrients activate our internal clocks and essentially 'break' our time-restricted eating window. This means that whether or not to consume coffee while fasting (and how to do so) is ultimately primarily a personal choice. It depends on how devoted to fasting you are and how highly you regard your morning cup of coffee. When deciding whether or not to consume caffeine, it's important to keep in mind that coffee drinking in general may have some benefits for your metabolism.
Drinking coffee during fasting: Dos and Don'ts.
DO: Stick to a single cup.
During your fast, if you decide to make coffee or visit your favourite barista, you might want to stick to one serving. Unfortunately, we don't have good data to say whether the amount of coffee matters, but one would expect that the more caffeine, the more disruption to the fast.
DON'T: Consume it later in the day.
You should always abide by this advice whether or not you are fasting. Drinking caffeine after noon or 2 p.m. for most individuals will interrupt the quality of their sleep, even if that is occurring many hours later. This is because caffeine has a rather lengthy half-life.
DO: If you can, sip it black.
Additionally, if you can, experts advise sticking to black coffee throughout a fast. If plain coffee isn't your thing, some additions will lessen the advantages of a fast than others.
Cinnamon offers roughly 6 calories per teaspoon. For individuals who are severe about fasting, a small sprinkling of cinnamon in their black coffee won't affect their fast any more than the coffee itself, making it an excellent flavouring choice. Additionally, cinnamon has positive benefits on blood sugar levels in persons with Type 2 diabetes or prediabetes.
REMOVE: Adding sugar.
Four grams of granulated sugar, or one level teaspoon, has around 16 calories. Your fast will be broken by sugar. Consuming added sugar also promotes insulin resistance and has a role in metabolic illnesses such Type 2 diabetes12 and cardiovascular disease.
AVOID: Adding milk.
In the form of the sugar lactose, one ounce of whole milk has roughly 17 calories and 1.3 grams of carbs. Milk will so also help you break your fast. Dairy can also result in a high insulin response.
REMOVE: Adding cream.
1 tablespoon of cream can have anywhere between 10 and 50 calories, depending on the variety. You can end your fast with cream. Many flavoured coffee creamers also have extra sugar, which increases calories and is bad for your metabolism.
MAYBE: add MCT oil,.
The medium-chain triglycerides, or MCTs, will technically break your fast with more than 100 calories per tablespoon. However, MCT oil is only made up of fat and has neither protein or carbs, making it suitable for the ketogenic diet. A ketogenic diet promotes ketone body synthesis, which may also promote autophagy. MCT oil may promote weight control and other metabolic health benefits. The ingestion of fat might provide you energy, make you feel more satisfied, and stop the subsequent blood glucose (sugar) decline caused by the caffeine-induced insulin release.
Some people do quite well with coffee, butter, and MCT oil without tanking their blood glucose, and these individuals may be able to have coffee early in the morning while still fasting and maintain the fasted state until lunchtime in the afternoon. Using MCT oil during a fasting window can increase ketone levels and improve cognitive function. It all relies on someone's intentions in this scenario.
MAYBE: Add coconut oil
MCT oil will be 100% MCTs, however, coconut oil will only contain around 65% MCTs. Coconut oil is a major source of MCTs. Because of this, if you're thinking about adding oil to your coffee while fasting, you might want to go for MCT oil. A study published in the journal Physiology & Behavior suggests that MCT oil may be superior to coconut oil in terms of advantages related to feeling fuller. Both choices, though, are keto-friendly.
MAYBE: Add some olive oil
Olive oil will end your fast because it has more than 100 calories per tablespoon. However, olive oil provides fat-based calories, similar to MCT oil, making it keto-friendly and advantageous for metabolic health.
MAYBE: Add unsweetened almond or nut milk
About 5 calories are included in one ounce of ordinary, unsweetened almond milk. Therefore, it will technically end your fast. But if you simply want a little bit to perk up your coffee, most likely a little splash won't change it much from what the coffee is already doing. Make sure it is unsweetened, though.
POSSIBLY: add butter or ghee.
Over 100 calories are included in one tablespoon of butter or ghee, a form of clarified butter. So theoretically speaking, butter will end your fast. Butter won't raise blood sugar however because it is an all-fat food source. To help them get by until their next meal, many people who are on intermittent fasting or are on the ketogenic diet would add MCT oil, butter, or ghee to their coffee.
The advantages of coffee consumption on a fast.
Coffee drinking may offer health advantages when combined with intermittent fasting. There is an improvement in glucose management and a little rise in weight reduction in persons who consume these during fasting.
According to science, this combination may be advantageous:
1. It can aid in maintaining a healthy metabolism.
One's risk of Type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome, which is present when a person has three or more of the following: high blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides, or waist circumference, can be decreased by drinking coffee in moderation, according to research. Numerous chronic illnesses, including Type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome, are characterised by low-grade inflammation. Pro-inflammatory indicators specifically (not simply caffeine) are decreased by coffee consumption.
The polyphenols that coffee contains are primarily responsible for its health advantages. Plant substances known as polyphenols function as antioxidants.
According to research, polyphenols assist the liver in regulating blood glucose levels. This may help to explain some of the links between drinking coffee and a lower risk of Type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. But the connection certainly goes deeper than that. Coffee increases metabolic rate, which refers to utilising lipids as fuel, for up to 24 hours, as well as thermogenesis instantly. According to early studies, intermittent fasting, like coffee, promotes the protein galectin-326, which reduces inflammation. In addition to driving thermogenesis, fasting also promotes the browning of white adipose tissue, which is crucial for controlling weight and improving insulin sensitivity. Intermittent fasting also increases autophagy, Polyphenols also stimulate autophagy within the liver, clearing out dead and damaged cells.
2. It can benefit your brain both immediately and over time.
Studies indicate that coffee consumers had a lower chance of developing a variety of illnesses, including stroke, Alzheimers, and Parkinsons disease. Once more, polyphenols are probably at play here, but autophagy may also be a factor because it helps fend off age-related neurodegenerative decline.
Increased concentration and alertness in the mind, as well as improved athletic performance, are some of the short-term advantages of coffee for the body and brain. The caffeine is at work here, and if you're feeling low on energy from fasting, it can provide you with a pleasant jolt.
The hazards & side effects of drinking coffee while fasting.
According to Stanford neuroscientist Andrew Huberman, Ph.D., who is quoted on the Huberman Lab Podcast, "if you consume caffeine on an empty stomach, it will have a more potent stimulant effect and will also tend to increase the level of jitteriness that caffeine can produce."
Additionally, some coffee drinkers will experience this more than others. Even if the coffee is black or simply contains fat and no sugar, some people will still respond extremely strongly to coffee's ability to cause an insulin reaction. Blood sugar will decrease when the pancreas releases insulin, and within 30 to 60 minutes of consuming coffee, a blood sugar drop will result in unpleasant weakness, trembling, and cravings for carbohydrates or sweets.
There may be long-term effects from these frequent crashes. It may even result in the overconsumption of calories over the course of the rest of the day, which will generally result in weight gain.
You might want to postpone drinking coffee until after you break your fast if you feel these "crash" symptoms. As an alternative, waiting only 30 minutes before breaking your fast. In this manner, you can utilise meals to prevent a drop in blood sugar. Add MCT oil and ghee to your coffee as this may help prevent crashes. Additionally, consuming 100 mg of L-theanine can help reduce jitteriness.
Gastrointestinal discomfort is yet another potential negative effect of drinking coffee on an empty stomach. Excessive coffee drinking while fasting might eventually cause nausea and gastrointestinal pain. Coffee on an empty stomach can trigger the release of hydrochloric acid, leading to an acid stomach, heartburn, and acid reflux.
Avoid coffee, especially on an empty stomach, if you have a history of gallbladder issues. People with underlying gallstones may have symptoms after consuming coffee because it triggers the production of the hormone cholecystokinin, which causes gallbladder contractions.
Finally, be conscious of how much coffee you drink and whether any underlying medical issues preclude you from consuming caffeine. Excessive caffeine intake has risks, including poor sleep, high blood pressure, headaches, anxiety, and more. For adults, a daily caffeine intake of no more than 400 milligrams is advised.
What other beverages are available during a time-limited meal?
The least disruptive approach to keeping hydrated when fasting is to solely drink water. If you wish to mix in more drinks, we advise choosing those that are low in calories, caffeine-free, and free of substances and additives that can strain your digestive system. Here are some possibilities that are suitable for those who are fasting:
· sparkling liquid
· lemon-flavored hot water
· herbal teas without additional honey or sugar
· Electrolytes (without sugar)
If we're being strict about it, coffee does technically break a fast. However, a cup of coffee's effects will likely be minimal if you drink it black, and it could even complement certain intermittent fasting benefits. Some people may be sensitive to a blood sugar drop after coffee consumption on an empty stomach. If that's you and you're set on your java, keep things keto by adding MCT oil and ghee. You'll still reap some metabolic health benefits, despite breaking your fast.