Black Coffee and Intermittent Fasting: Can They Go Together?

Welcome to today’s blog post. Today, we will be discussing an interesting topic – the relationship between black coffee and intermittent fasting. Can you drink black coffee while doing an intermittent fast? Let’s see.

Intermittent fasting is a diet technique in which a person cycles between periods of fasting and eating.

Studies have shown that intermittent fasting has a number of health benefits such as enhancement of weight loss and reduction of risk factors for some chronic conditions, like Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, and diabetes (1).

For those who have just started an intermittent fast, the question on your mind may be “Can I drink my black coffee during an intermittent fast?”

Well, this article will help you to answer this question.

black coffee and intermittent fasting
Photo Credit: LiveScience

BLACK COFFEE WILL NOT COMPROMISE YOUR FAST

This is very true. Drinking black coffee or any other zero, or low-calorie beverages will have no significant negative effects on your intermittent fast.

A cup of black coffee (approx. 240ml) has just three calories, and very insignificant amounts of minerals, fat, and protein (2).

Metabolic activities in most individuals will not be altered by this small amount of nutrients (3, 4).

Some people believe that coffee acts as an appetite suppressant, thus enhancing their ability to fast in the long term. This has not been scientifically proven (5).

Summarily, black coffee and intermittent fasting are friends, especially when taken in moderate amounts. It will not disrupt your intermittent fast. However, you must keep it black. Don’t add any extra ingredients.

COFFEE BOLSTER’S THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF INTERMITTENT FASTING

Coffee gives a boost to the many health benefits of intermittent fasting.

These benefits include an improvement in cognitive function, anti-inflammatory actions, reduced blood sugar, and a reduction in the risks of heart disease (1).

Effects on metabolism

Most illnesses are caused by chronic inflammation. Studies have shown that black coffee and intermittent fasting may have anti-inflammatory effects (1, 6).

Studies have shown that increased consumption of coffee is associated with a reduction in the risk of metabolic syndrome. Features of metabolic syndrome include excess body fat, high blood pressure, hyperglycemia (increased blood sugar levels), and high cholesterol (7, 8).

Research has also shown that coffee reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes. Also, the daily consumption of 710ml (3 cups) of coffee daily reduces the risk of death from heart disease by 19% (9, 10, 11).

Effect on brain health

Another major health benefit of intermittent fasting is its ability to boost brain health and also offer protection against neurological defects.

The good news is that most of these benefits are also shared by coffee.

Black coffee and intermittent fasting is linked to a reduced risk of cognitive defects, as well as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases (12).

When you are fasting, your body switches to a state of ketosis. In ketosis, energy is produced from fat sources (ketones) rather than carbohydrates. Ketosis is linked to improved brain function. Studies have shown that the caffeine present in coffee also enhances ketone production (13, 14).

LEARN MORE: DOING THE KETOGENIC DIET THE RIGHT WAY

Intermittent fasting boosts brain health through a process known as autophagy. In a nutshell, intermittent fasting increases autophagy (14).

Autophagy refers to a process where your body replaces dead or damaged cells with healthy ones. Studies have shown that autophagy protects against mental decline due to aging (16).

An animal study showed that coffee caused a significant improvement in autophagy (17).

Thus, a combined regime of black coffee and intermittent fasting may be especially beneficial to your cognitive and mental health.  

ADDED INGREDIENTS MAY REDUCE THE HEALTH BENEFITS ASSOCIATED WITH BLACK COFFEE AND INTERMITTENT FASTING

Black coffee on its own may not break your fast. However, added ingredients most certainly will.

High-calorie ingredients like sugar and milk can act as a barrier to the health benefits of intermittent fasting.

There are claims by some health outlets that you’ll still get the full benefits of an intermittent fast so long as you don’t go beyond 50-75 calories during each fast period. Well, these claims have not been verified by any scientific studies.

Rather, you should regulate your intake of calories during fast periods.

For example, you should put away all sweetened coffee drinks, lattes, and cappuccinos during fast periods.

Pure black coffee and intermittent fasting go hand-in-hand, but if you wish to add some extra ingredient, then a teaspoon of coconut oil or heavy cream will be just okay, as they do not have the potential to alter your level of blood sugar or total calorie consumption.

OTHER FACTS ABOUT BLACK COFFEE AND INTERMITTENT FASTING

240ml or a cup of black coffee has approximately 100 grams of caffeine (2).

Excessive intake of caffeine is associated with some side effects, such as blood pressure increases (temporary) and heart palpitations (18).

Results from a study showed that excessive intake of coffee increased one’s level of fasting insulin, suggesting a short-term decrease in insulin sensitivity (3).

If you hope to improve your insulin sensitivity or fasting insulin levels, then you should watch your coffee intake

Also, high consumption of caffeine impacts negatively on a person’s sleep quality. Poor sleep impairs metabolic health, which could alter the health benefits of intermittent fasting (19, 20).

Studies have shown that daily consumption of coffee up to 400mg is safe. This may be more or less 3-4 cups per day (18).

SO, DOES BLACK COFFEE AND INTERMITTENT FASTING GO TOGETHER? CAN I DRINK BLACK COFFEE WHILE FASTING?

The decision to drink coffee during an intermittent fast is yours at the end of the day.

If you are not a coffee drinker, there’s no reason why you should start it. Other rich and healthy foods can give you similar health benefits.

However, if a hot cup of coffee eases your fasting, then you can get on with it. You do not have any reason to quit do you? Just be sure that you moderate the amount and drink it black.

If your coffee consumption is on the high side or you are finding it difficult to sleep, you may want to stop drinking it and focus on intermittent fasting.

THE SUMMARY

Black coffee can be taken in moderate amounts during intermittent fasting. This is due to its low-calorie content.

As a matter of fact, coffee may bolster the effects of intermittent fasting including improved mental function and anti-inflammatory functions.

To enhance these benefits, you should avoid adding high-calorie ingredients to your coffee.

You should also regulate your intake as overconsumption may be harmful to your health.

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