Does Black Coffee Break a Fast?

Does Black Coffee Break a Fast?
Dr. Mario Ost

Dr. Mario Ost | Author

Dr. Mario Ost is a renowned nutrition scientist, researcher and lecturer, deeply invested in enhancing our basic understanding on mitochondrial fitness, muscle health, and endocrine organ crosstalk in sports, aging and metabolic diseases. He's a founder of a young athlete health academy and serves as a scientific advisor at Fastic, focusing on personalized nutrition concepts, fasting-mimicking food-components (autophagy-inducers) and benefits of exercise for metabolic homeostasis and healthy aging. As a devoted father and pioneer, Dr. Ost is shaping a future where elite athletes achieve peak performance and obese patients regain their metabolic and muscle health through an evidence-based approach on personalized training and nutrient timing.

Are you one of those people who look forward to a warm cup of coffee every morning? Intermittent fasting does require you to change your eating habits. But, does it mean you also have to surrender your must-have morning cup of coffee? Let’s explore the relationship between black coffee and fasting to find the answer.

What Counts as Breaking a Fast?

Before determining whether black coffee breaks a fast, we must clarify what exactly counts as breaking a fast. It’s quite simple: food, including beverages, that contain macronutrients, also well-known as carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.   

When we drink or eat, these mostly large molecules need to be digested and broken down into smaller components, before they are absorbed in the small intestine and transferred to different tissues of our body. Where they will be metabolized to provide energy, rearranged for cell repair, growth, and many other physiological processes, or stored for future demand (mainly as body fat). 

Nutritional Benefits of Black Coffee

Black coffee is rich in antioxidants, boosts metabolism, provides alertness, and can even stimulate physical performance. Coffee is calorie-free, therefore it metabolically does not provide energy. In the short term, caffeine might boost the metabolic rate and increase fat burning. Cohort studies have confirmed that coffee consumption lowers the risk of diseases like chronic liver disease, certain cancer types, and type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Coffee doesn't make one expend more calories, it suppresses appetite and helps one feel better during the fasting window, giving the body the necessary alertness without the need for unhealthy additives.

Tip: Having your coffee of choice with a glass of water approx. 1-2 hours after waking up is an excellent way to start your eating window and enhance your alertness.

Does Drinking Black Coffee Break a Fast?

Surprisingly, and to one’s relief, research has demonstrated that drinking black coffee doesn’t affect basal blood glucose levels, therefore it won´t break your fast. Why doesn’t black coffee break a fast? The reason is that it contains low to zero grams of macronuritents, making them so insignificant that they will not stimulate an insulin response or reduce cellular autophagy rate.

Potential Benefits of Drinking Black Coffee When Fasting

In light of this encouraging news, let’s dive into the potential advantages of incorporating black coffee into your intermittent fasting plan.

Metabolic Effects 

Black coffee can increase your metabolic rate and fat oxidation. Caffeine stimulates the nervous system, promoting adrenaline release and encouraging metabolism. 

Mental Awareness

Caffeine is known to raise mental focus and alertness. Getting this alertness from coffee can be a lifesaver when you are low on energy halfway through the day.

When to Drink Black Coffee While Fasting?

Make smart health decisions while fasting and cease any natural stimulant intake. Doing so will allow your body to truly detoxify and encourage mental clarity. Nonetheless, if you really must have yourself a cup of coffee, go about it smartly. 

Research published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information states that our body’s cortisol levels peak 30 to 45 minutes after waking up and drop as the day progresses. Later around lunchtime, they peak again and subsequently start to decline again as the day comes to an end.

An example of how you can incorporate black coffee into your IF routine would be the following. After a 16-hour fast, break your fast with a cup of coffee at around 10 AM (with whatever additive you enjoy the most). By doing so, you can take care of the potential effects on cortisol levels right after waking up and don’t need to worry about the added calories in your coffee. 

If fasting takes a toll on you and you find ti hard to keep up with your liquid intake, use the Fastic app to lean on. Use it to receive timely hydration reminders and keep track of your daily consumption habits no matter what you drink.

can you drink coffee while intermittent fasting

Can Too Much Black Coffee Break a Fast?

So, how many cups of coffee can break a fast? High amounts of coffee may interfere with your sleep, additionally drinking coffee right after you wake up may also affect your circadian cortisol peak in the morning. Although the body’s response to morning coffee may vary from person to person, it is always better to abstain from drinking any type of stimulant, natural or not. 

Does Black Coffee with Additives Break a Fast? 

Additives in low amounts, like sugar, most likely won’t affect your fast and fasting effects. Nonetheless, studies did show that artificial sweetener use in coffee was associated with a higher BMI. This being said, it is recommended you avoid high amounts of additives like: 

  • Milk 

  • Creamers (flavored or unflavored)

  • Sweeteners

  • Flavored syrups (vanilla, caramel, etc.)

  • Sugar 

  • Honey

Fortunately, there are a couple of options that can add some flavor (and joy) to your cup of coffee without substantially increasing your calorie intake. Some natural alternatives you can opt for include:

  • Cinnamon

  • Nutmeg

  • Extracts (vanilla, hazelnut, coconut, almond, peppermint, etc.)

  • Powders (cocoa, ginger, etc.)

What if I don´t like or tolerate black coffee at all? Here is a little metabolic secret: a sip of milk (approx. 10 ml) in your cup most likely won’t affect your blood glucose levels and insulin secretion, as it adds up to less than 0.5 grams of glucose or protein.

All in all, it is advised you abstain from adding any kind of additives to your black coffee. All bodies react differently, and what may not stir an insulin reaction in one person, may do so in another. We recommend you play it safe and steer clear from additives altogether. Instead, drink water (add some herbs or fruits to give it a nice kick), do some 30-minute easy exercises, and get fresh air to increase your alertness during the morning or whenever you need an extra boost during the day.

Elevate Your Fasting Experience with Black Coffee

Now that you know how to squeeze your morning coffee into your IF routine you can enjoy the advantages of fasting without sacrificing it. Black coffee will provide you with an extra alertness boost when it’s most imperative throughout your day. Take the Fastic quiz to see which intermittent fasting regimen brews best with your coffee. 

Disclaimer: It is advised to speak with a health professional before beginning intermittent fasting or a diet program. There may be side effects for people with certain medical conditions.

With Fastic, millions of people have achieved their desired weight, overcome disease and regained their quality of life.

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