Some studies have shown that intermittent fasting may enhance weight loss and reduce the risk of some health conditions, like Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and heart disease (1).
Many people wonder if it is right to break a fast with coffee. We will address that in this article. Can you drink coffee during intermittent fasting? Let’s find out.
Does Black Coffee Break Your Fast?
Do you know that drinking black coffee doesn’t compromise your fast? Yes! Drinking moderate amounts of low-calorie beverages like black coffee during a fast does not significantly affect your fast.
Nutritional studies have shown that a cup of black coffee (equivalent to 240ml) contains three calories and minimal amount of fat, proteins, and trace minerals (2).
In most cases, the nutrient in a cup of coffee is not enough to cause a significant change to the body’s metabolism, such that it would break a fast (3,4).
Coffee also tends to suppress appetite. This is beneficial because it helps you to stick with your fast. Note that this appetite-suppressing effect of black coffee is not scientifically proven (5).
Generally, taking moderate amounts of coffee will not disrupt your fast. However, you must keep it black and not add any extra ingredients.
Coffee May Enhance the Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
Coffee seems to have a bolstering effect on the benefits of fasting.
These include anti-inflammatory effects, improved brain function, and reduction of heart disease risk and blood sugar (1).
Most illnesses are a result of chronic inflammation. Some nutritional researches suggest that taking coffee during intermittent fasting can reduce inflammation (1,6).
Studies suggest that taking coffee in large amounts decreases the risk of metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is an inflammatory condition with features including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, increased blood sugar levels, and excess body fat (7,8).
Research also suggests a link between coffee consumption and a reduction in the risk of type 2 diabetes. Also, taking 3 cups of coffee (equivalent to 710 ml) per day reduces the risk of death due to heart disease by 19% (9,10,11).
Drinking Coffee During Intermittent Fasting May Improve Brain Health
Intermittent fasting may improve brain health and also protect against neurological diseases.
What’s more? Most of these benefits may be complemented by coffee.
Regular intake of coffee, like intermittent fasting, reduces the risk of cognitive decline, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease (12).
When you are fasting, your body gets its energy from ketones. The production of energy from ketones is linked to improved brain function. Research has shown that the caffeine present in coffee can boost the production of ketones (13,14).
Another way that intermittent fasting improves brain health is through increased autophagy (14).
Autophagy is an automatic process in which your body replaces dead and damaged cells with healthy ones. Studies have shown that autophagy may protect against age-related cognitive decline (16).
A rodent study showed that coffee intake caused a significant increase in autophagy (17).
Thus, taking moderate amounts of coffee during your intermittent fast may be beneficial.
Lacing Your coffee with Extra Ingredients May Reduce the Benefits
Taking coffee alone may not break your fast, but adding more ingredients to it can disrupt your fast. That’s for sure! Adding sugar and milk to your coffee can disrupt your fast, thus reducing the benefits that come with combining intermittent fasting with coffee.
There are reports on some media and health outlets that you won’t break your fast so long as your calories don’t exceed 50-75 during each fasting session. But then, these claims have not been backed by any scientific evidence.
Rather than lacing your coffee with additives, you should eat very few calories during a fasting window.
Avoid sweetened coffee drinks, cappuccinos, and lattes during your fast.
Your best bet is pure black coffee. However, if you must add something, then a teaspoon of coconut oil or heavy cream will do. Both options have no significant effect on your blood sugar levels or calorie consumption.
So, Is It Okay to Drink Coffee While Fasting?
Taking coffee during a fast depends on personal preference.
If you are not a fan of coffee, then you don’t have to start. Eating nutritious foods can give you the same benefits and more.
But if you think you’ll be happier with a hot cup of coffee, then you have no reason to quit. The important thing is that you moderate your intake and avoid lacing it with extra ingredients.
If you are taking excess coffee or having difficulty sleeping, then reduce the amount you drink, and concentrate on intermittent fasting.