Whether you should drink coffee or not while fasting is a matter of personal choice. Some people find it easy to adhere to fasting while sipping coffee once or twice a day, while others feel discomfort with coffee while fasting. Let's explore the benefits and precautions of drinking coffee while intermittent fasting. But before that, let's review what intermittent fasting is!
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Mandal S, Simmons N, Awan S, Chamari K, Ahmed I. Intermittent fasting: eating by the clock for health and exercise performance. BMJ Open Sport Exerc Med. 2022 Jan 7;8(1):e001206. doi: 10.1136/bmjsem-2021-001206. PMID: 35070352; PMCID: PMC8744103.
There are several different methods of intermittent fasting, some of the most common ones involves:
- 16/8 method: This involves daily fasting for 16 hours and restricting your eating window to 8 hours. For example, you might choose to eat between 12 pm and 8 pm and fast from 8 pm to 12 pm the next day.
- 18/6 method: The 18:6 intermittent fasting is a specific type of fasting technique where you fast for 18 hours every day and consume all your calories within a 6-hour window. During the fasting period, only water, and other non-caloric beverages are allowed.
- 5:2 diet: With this method, you eat normally for five days of the week and restrict your calorie intake to 500-600 calories on the remaining two days.
- Alternate-day fasting: This approach involves fasting every other day, where one day you eat normally and the next day you restrict calories to 500-600.
The benefits of intermittent fasting may include weight loss, improved blood sugar control, reduced inflammation, increased cellular repair, and improved heart health. However, it is always advisable to consult with a healthcare professional before making any significant changes to your eating patterns.
Can you Drink Coffee while Intermittent Fasting?
Sciarrillo CM, Keirns BH, Elliott DC, Emerson SR. The effect of black coffee on fasting metabolic markers and an abbreviated fat tolerance test. Clin Nutr ESPEN. 2021 Feb;41:439-442. doi: 10.1016/j.clnesp.2020.11.020. Epub 2021 Jan 19. PMID: 33487304.
However, it is important to avoid adding any milk, cream, sugar, or other high-calorie additives to your coffee as they can break your fast by stimulating insulin release and causing a calorie intake. Stick to plain black coffee or consider adding a small amount of stevia or a non-caloric sweetener if desired. You can learn more about the drinking coffee on empty stomatch for more information.
It's worth noting that the effects of coffee during fasting can vary from person to person, so it's best to listen to your body and adjust your intake accordingly. If you experience adverse effects like stomach discomfort or interrupted sleep from coffee, it may be wise to limit or avoid it during your fasting period.
How much coffee can I drink while fasting?
Does cream in coffee break a fast?
Cream in coffee can technically break a fast, as it contains calories. Consuming any amount of calories during a fasting period can disrupt the metabolic state of fasting. It is important to note that the effectiveness of fasting can vary depending on individual goals and preferences, so it is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice.
Can I drink coffee with sugar or milk during intermittent fasting?
The rules of intermittent fasting can vary depending on the specific plan you are following. However, in general, consuming black coffee or plain tea without any additives is usually permitted during the fasting period. This means that you can drink coffee while intermittent fasting as long as it is consumed without sugar, cream, milk, or any other caloric additions.
What can I put in my coffee that won't break my fast?
Intermittent Fasting: 10 Things You Can Add To Your Coffee That Won't Break Your Fast - Autumn Elle Nutrition
Soy milk creamer: Soy milk is mainly a diluted processed product, similar to oat and almond milk. However, the closest nutritional profile to that of cow's milk is found in soy milk. Even though soy milk does help people build muscle, it does so to a lesser extent than cow's milk, which leads to nutritional deficits in soy drinkers. 
What Can I Put in My Coffee While Fasting? (Without Breaking It) - Trainer Josh Fitness
- Cinnamon or spices: Sprinkling some cinnamon or other spices like nutmeg or cardamom into your coffee can add flavor without adding significant calories. These spices are calorie-free and may even have potential health benefits.
- Cream: Can you add cream to coffee while on intermittent fasting? This is one of the most googled questions. And, the answer depends on the type of cream you are adding. For instance, if you add a splash of cream, it won’t break your fast. Why? That’s because it's mostly fat (not all though). And, the fat won’t cause an appreciable blood sugar increase, hence no insulin spike.
- Unsweetened nut milk: If you prefer a creamy taste, you can add a small amount of unsweetened almond milk, coconut milk, or oat milk to your coffee. Make sure to choose options without added sweeteners or flavors.
- MCTs (Keto Coffee): MCTs (medium-chained triglycerides) can advance your fast and improve your outcomes. On paper, they appear to have some calories, but they aren't metabolised the same way as other calories. Rather, they are immediately sent to your liver, where they are transformed into ketones.
- Vanilla Extract: This hack is a game changer. Particularly when combined with heavy cream, the flavour is similar to that of a vanilla latte. It's incredible. Just be careful not to use more than one teaspoon of vanilla essence to avoid breaking a fast.
- L-Theanine: L-Theanine, if you do not know, is an amino acid that is isolated from green tea and has been shown in studies to help reduce anxiety. Some people, namely those who drink coffee, claim that L-theanine balances out the energy boost they experience from caffeine without causing jitters. Plus, L-theanine won't break a fast. Hence a great addition to your coffee while fasting.
It's important to note that while these options are generally considered safe for fasting, effects can vary from person to person. If you have specific dietary concerns or health conditions, it's always best to consult your healthcare provider before adding anything to your fasting routine.
Can I Put Honey in Coffee?
No. You can not. Since honey is almost all sugar, adding even some of it to your coffee will unquestionably end your fast. What makes up the majority of the sugar in honey is 30% glucose and 40% fructose. Although your liver breaks down fructose, the glucose will boost your blood sugar and cause insulin to break your fast. So when fasting, it's recommended to stay away from honey in your coffee.
Is Black Coffee better?
Is drinking coffee advisable while intermittent fasting? - The Indian Express
Can I enjoy caffeinated beverages like tea or soda?
This solely depends on the type of intermittent fasting schedule you are following. Generally, intermittent fasting involves abstaining from consuming calories for a specified period, usually 16-20 hours, followed by a specific eating window.
During the fasting period, it is recommended to avoid consuming any calories, including caffeinated beverages. This includes beverages like tea or soda, which contain caffeine and may also have added sugars or artificial sweeteners.
However, if you practice a more flexible form of intermittent fasting, such as the 16/8 method, where you have an eating window of 8 hours and fast for 16 hours, you may be able to enjoy low-calorie or zero-calorie beverages like unsweetened tea or black coffee during the fasting period. These beverages are usually low in calories and do not significantly affect your insulin levels, allowing you to continue the fasting state.
It's important to note that opinions on this topic can vary, and you should consider consulting with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian for personalized advice based on your specific needs and goals. You can read more in our detailed comparison for coffee vs energy drinks.
Coffee itself is a low-calorie beverage that contains no protein or carbohydrates, which are typically the main culprits behind breaking a fast. Therefore, consuming black coffee without any additives such as sugar, milk, or cream is generally considered safe and would not disrupt a fast.
However, it's important to note that individual responses to coffee while fasting may vary. Some people may experience negative side effects such as stomach discomfort, jitters, or disrupted sleep patterns due to the stimulant effects of caffeine. Also, certain individuals may have medical conditions or take medications that can be affected by caffeine consumption, so it's always advisable to consult a healthcare professional.
In conclusion, consuming black coffee without any additives is generally considered safe and may have certain benefits during fasting. However, it's important to listen to your body and make decisions that align with your specific health needs and fitness goals.
- Mandal S, Simmons N, Awan S, Chamari K, Ahmed I. Intermittent fasting: eating by the clock for health and exercise performance. BMJ Open Sport Exerc Med. 2022 Jan 7;8(1):e001206. doi: 10.1136/bmjsem-2021-001206. PMID: 35070352; PMCID: PMC8744103.
- Sciarrillo CM, Keirns BH, Elliott DC, Emerson SR. The effect of black coffee on fasting metabolic markers and an abbreviated fat tolerance test. Clin Nutr ESPEN. 2021 Feb;41:439-442. doi: 10.1016/j.clnesp.2020.11.020. Epub 2021 Jan 19. PMID: 33487304.
- Can You Drink Coffee While Doing Intermittent Fasting? - Healthline
- Intermittent Fasting: 10 Things You Can Add To Your Coffee That Won't Break Your Fast - Autumn Elle Nutrition
- What Can I Put in My Coffee While Fasting? (Without Breaking It) - Trainer Josh Fitness
- Is drinking coffee advisable while intermittent fasting? - The Indian Express