If you decide to try intermittent fasting, you’ve probably mentally prepared yourself to get through the morning without your favorite oatmeal or breakfast smoothie. It’s worth a little adjustment for all of the benefits, right?
But one thing you may have forgotten to consider is your morning cup of coffee.
Will your much-needed pick-me-up break your fast? And if it will, is that a deal-breaker for your plan to attempt intermittent fasting?
In this article, we’ll discuss how coffee can interfere with intermittent fasting, and how it could actually benefit your fast.
We’ll also talk about the best way to fast without giving up your coffee habit, and the best things to eat when you’re ready to break your fast.
Does black coffee break intermittent fasting?
Good news - black coffee won’t interfere with intermittent fasting. The key factor for what will or won’t break your fast is calories. If what you’re consuming is calorie-free (or around 5 calories or less per serving), your fast will continue.
Keeping your body in a fasting state all comes down to blood sugar. When you’re in the middle of a fast, your blood sugar is stable. However, consuming calories causes your blood sugar to increase and ends your fast.
Some other calorie-free beverages that are safe for fasting include zero-calorie club soda, black tea, green tea, and water.
Does half and half in a coffee break a fast?
It’s easy to assume that since half and half isn’t flavored, adding a little to your coffee won’t do any harm. However, even a small amount can derail your fast.
Once you start pouring your favorite add-ins into your coffee, you add calories, fat, and sugar.
Even just a small amount of milk will affect your blood sugar enough to break your fast. Other coffee mix-ins to avoid in order to keep your fast include:
- Protein Powder
How Does Coffee Affect the Benefits of Intermittent Fasting?
Plain black coffee is more than just okay for your fast. It can actually add to the benefits of intermittent fasting.
First and foremost, coffee helps you feel like you’re consuming something. For many people, this is really important to make fasting a sustainable habit. Even if it’s not providing calories, having something to sip is helpful to stay satisfied during a fast.
Here are some other ways coffee supports the benefits of intermittent fasting:
Promotes blood sugar control
Intermittent fasting is best known for blood sugar control and reducing insulin resistance. Drinking coffee has also been linked to better blood sugar control, which can boost potential benefits like preventing type 2 diabetes.
Fasting has been shown to decrease markers of chronic inflammation and therefore lower the risk for disease. Coffee has actually been shown to have the same effect, with the added benefit of antioxidants (try to go for high-quality organic coffee if you can).
Supports brain function
Although more research is needed, some studies show a link between fasting and improved brain health. Some of the benefits come from decreased inflammation. People who fast often report that they experience more mental clarity.
It’s no secret that coffee makes us feel more alert and sharp, which only adds to the benefits you could experience from fasting.
Boosts metabolism and reduces appetite
Intermittent fasting helps some people consume fewer calories and can even boost metabolism. One study even found that fasting promotes fat loss while preserving muscle more effectively than simple calorie restriction.
Coffee is also known to temporarily boost metabolism and suppress appetite, which may add to your calorie deficit and boost weight loss.
What can I put in my coffee that won't break a fast?
Now that we know that our favorite creamer is off the table while we’re in the middle of a fast, is there any way to flavor our coffee that won’t interfere?
For most people, the best way to do this is with an artificial sweetener. Choose something like Stevia or monk fruit that provides sweetness without calories or sugar. Many prefer these over other artificial sweeteners like aspartame because they’re more natural.
If sweeteners aren’t your thing, a sprinkle of cinnamon only gives a hint of flavor, but could still do the trick.
What is the best way to properly break a fast?
Ideally, you won’t break a fast with a huge meal. You’ll feel better if you ease back into eating so your digestive system has a chance to wake up.
A meal that’s high in fat, fiber, sugar, or sodium will probably leave you feeling bloated and ready for a nap. Instead, try eating something balanced and light like:
- Smoothie - Easy to digest and you can easily boost the nutrition with a gut-friendly supplement like Naked Greens and Naked Collagen.
- Vegetables - Cooked veggies are easier to digest. Something starchy like sweet potato is a great option.
- Dried fruit - Gives you a lot of energy in a small portion so you can ease back into eating.
- Eggs - Provide the perfect ratio of healthy fat and protein in a small serving.
- Yogurt - Gives you the added benefit of probiotics to promote gut health.
The key to breaking a fast is to give your body time to adjust. If you’re new to fasting, you might have to experiment and see what works for you.
You can definitely drink coffee while intermittent fasting. However, you’ll need to leave out your cream and sugar and opt for black coffee or artificial sweeteners instead.
Drinking coffee gives you something to sip on, which makes a fast a little more enjoyable for some people. Coffee also brings some additional health benefits to your fast, like a small metabolism boost, appetite suppression, reduced inflammation, and mental clarity.
When you’re ready to break your fast, the most important thing is to go easy on your digestive system. Plan to eat something that packs a lot of nutrition in small, easy-to-digest does like a smoothie.