Intermittent fasting has become a popular approach for weight management. It revolves around the timing of meals, rather than specific dietary restrictions. Many people wonder if they can drink coffee when fasting without compromising the benefits.
Understanding Intermittent Fasting
This is a structured eating pattern that alternates between fasting periods and eating windows. It doesn't prescribe specific foods, but instead, it focuses on when you should eat. Common methods include the 16/8 method, where you fast for 16 hours and eat during an 8-hour window, and the 5:2 method, which involves consuming a limited number of calories on two non-consecutive days each week. Co-Founder Ben is a particular fan of the 16/8 method - often opting for coffee instead of breakfast first thing!
Coffee and Fasting: Can They Coexist?
The simple answer is yes, you can enjoy coffee while fasting. However, there are specific factors to consider when incorporating coffee into your routine.
1. Black Coffee: Black coffee is the preferred choice. It typically contains less than 5 calories per cup and has a minimal impact on your fasting state. Dr. Jason Fung, a leading expert, states, "Black coffee is your fasting friend. It can help control hunger, boost your metabolism, and make fasting more manageable."
2. Coffee with Cream, Milk, or Sugar: Adding cream, milk, sugar, or flavoured syrups to your coffee increases its calorie content and basically counts as food! These additions can provide energy that may disrupt the fasting state. It's advisable to avoid them during the window, besides, black coffee tastes better anyway! Adding sugar and milk to your coffee can add over 100 calories to your cup.
3. Bulletproof Coffee: Bulletproof coffee, made with coffee, butter, and MCT oil, has gained popularity among intermittent fasters. It's higher in calories due to the added fats but is often consumed during the fasting window without breaking the fast for some individuals. We have been a fan of the founder of Bulletproof for a while, bio-hacker Dave Asprey is a really interesting guy!
The Role of Coffee in Curbing Your Appetite
One of the key benefits of including coffee in your routine is its potential to curb appetite. Caffeine, the active component in coffee, has been shown to have appetite-suppressing effects. This can make it easier to adhere to your schedule, particularly during the initial adjustment phase when your body is adapting to the new eating pattern. Dr. Peter Attia, a prominent physician and proponent of intermittent fasting, underscores the importance of coffee, saying, "Coffee can help you to extend your fasting window by reducing hunger and enhancing mental alertness. Just be cautious with calorie-laden additives." So, really, coffee is a good thing to add to your lifestyle.
What Can I Put In My Coffee That Won't Break My Fast?
The general rule is that you should consume zero calories during fasting periods. However, as much as we love black coffee here at RISE coffee box, its not for everyone. Here are a few things which are low in calories
- A small sprinkle of cinnamon
- A dash of nutmeg
- A touch of cocoa
- Virtually no calorie sweeteners like Stevia (Healthline recommends a number of healthy sweeteners that you may enjoy).
- If you are feeling adventurous you could try Monk fruit sweetener.
Also be careful of things like unsweetened almond milk in your coffee— as these can contain too many calories.
Hydration and Coffee
Proper hydration is critical during fasting. While coffee can contribute to your fluid intake, it should not replace water entirely! Be sure to consume enough water throughout to remain adequately hydrated, especially in the heat!
What Can You Drink When Intermittent Fasting?
Water is the number one go to drink during fasting. If you get bored of drinking water, add some fresh lemon or lime juice or add some cucumber to your water filter. Don't eat the fruit or veg, just use it to add flavour. You can also drink unsweetened tea.
A few things you can't drink are things like smoothies or fruit juices. Even though it is in liquid form, it will still defeat the purpose.
In conclusion, the incorporation of coffee into your fasting routine is not only something to consider but can actually help you fast! Including helping with appetite suppression and giving you enhanced energy. It's crucial to choose black coffee, or you’ll break your fast without meaning to! If you do decide to try it, as always, we recommend seeking proper guidance from a healthcare professional (like your GP or a nutritionist), they can really help you get the balance just right whilst making sure you are caring for your body.