Does Coffee Break Your Fast?

Human Window Staff
By Human Window Staff
Updated on January 28, 2020

If you regularly practice intermittent fasting, it’s important that know what foods and drinks break your fast and which ones are safe to consume. So, where does coffee fit into the mix?

Drinking coffee in the morning is a regular ritual for millions of people all over the world, but there are a few things to bear in mind when it comes to using it with an intermittent fasting protocol.

Intermittent fasting has becoming incredibly popular in recent years thanks to its supposed health benefits. As a result, more and more people are trying this new way of eating as they look to take control of their health and longevity.

Fasting can be a great tool, but the problem is knowing exactly what you can and can’t be consuming during your fasting window.

So where does coffee fit in to all of this? There is some debate about the use of coffee during intermittent fasting, but generally speaking there is a consensus about it.

In this article, we’re going to take a detailed look at coffee and intermittent fasting, and the best way to use it if you fast on a regular basis.

So, with the introductions out of the way, let’s start by looking at the basic things you need to know about intermittent fasting in general.

What is Intermittent Fasting?

If you’ve landed on this page, the chances are that you probably already know the basic key points about intermittent fasting. But let’s cover them quickly anyhow.

In case you didn’t know, Intermittent Fasting (sometimes simply called IF), is simply a general term for various eating patterns that involve fasting (not eating) for short periods of time.

The word ‘fast’ can make the whole thing seem pretty dramatic, but that’s actually not the case. Oftentimes, fasting simply requires you to reschedule one of your meals.

The idea behind intermittent fasting is that it is a relatively straightforward (and probably more natural) way of eating.

Intermittent Fasting

(Photo: Adobe Stock)

When you think about it, our ancestors from thousands of years ago probably did not have 24-hour access to food, and so their eating patterns would have likely been quite different to ours today.

Simply put, if you practice intermittent fasting, it simply means that you are sticking to a shorter ‘eating window’ than you would normally. What does that mean?

Well, there are lots of different intermittent fasting protocols, and you can choose one to suit your lifestyle the best.

But one popular intermittent fasting method is a daily 16-hour minimum fast with an eight-hour ‘eating window’.

An example of the above protocol would be that if you finish eating at 8pm, for example, you would fast until 12pm the following day. As you can see, it’s not as dramatic as it sounds, and that would involve simply skipping breakfast for most people.

Other variations include slightly more intense protocols, such as a 24-hour fast, one day a week.

One of the main ideas behind fasting is that by giving your body some ‘time off’ from constantly digesting food, you can potentially reap the rewards of some health benefits.

There are also some potential psychological benefits to intermittent fasting. For example, going for longer periods without eating anything means that you are more likely to automatically ‘tune in’ to your body’s hunger cues, so that you can feel more connected and make better dietary decisions.

If you are keen to learn more about the basics of intermittent fasting, be sure to check out our exclusive interview with 2 Meal Day founder Max Lowery.

The Bottom Line: Intermittent fasting is a name given to a way of eating that involves sticking to shorter ‘eating windows’. It is thought to have a number of potential health benefits. There are a number of different intermittent fasting protocols. One popular one is a 16-hour fast, with an eight-hour eating window.

What is Coffee?

Coffee is a morning ritual for millions of people across the planet.

Coffee is a hot drink that is brewed from roasted coffee beans, which are the seeds of berries from certain Coffea species.

Coffee

A cup of Espresso Coffee (Photo: Adobe Stock)

You probably already know that coffee is one of the most popular hot drinks on the planet, and it is consumed by millions of people on a daily basis.

Aside from its awesome taste and aroma, one of other main reasons people drink coffee is because it contains a stimulant called Caffeine, which can help to make you feel more awake and alert.

There are many different ways to brew coffee. Coffee is also often mixed with milk to make a longer drink.

Drinking coffee is a great natural way to get some of the benefits from Caffeine.

Coffee works well as a pre workout before a gym or exercise session, and lots of people choose to use it because it’s a clean and natural way to experience some of the benefits of caffeine without any other unnecessary ingredients. (Plus it tastes amazing!).

The Bottom Line: Coffee is a hot drink brewed from roasted coffee beans, which are the seeds of berries from certain Coffea species. It is consumed by millions of people daily and contains the stimulant Caffeine.

Does Coffee Break Your Fast?

So, now that we’ve looked at both coffee and intermittent fasting in a bit more detail, it’s time to take a closer look at the focus point of this article – does coffee break a fast?

There is no simple answer to this question as it depends on a number of factors, including how strictly you are following your intermittent fasting protocol and whether the coffee you’re drinking contains other ingredients.

That said, it is generally accepted that drinking a cup of black coffee will not bring you out of the fasted state.

Adding things such as sugar, sweeteners or milk to your coffee would bring you out of the fasted state, so this is generally not recommended.

There are some experts out there who say that because black coffee does contain a few calories, it technically will break a fast.

Coffee and Caffeine

Black Coffee (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Whether you choose to consume coffee while fasting or not really depends on you, your goals and how strict you are being with your intermittent fasting protocol.

The Bottom Line: Generally, it is accepted that black coffee will not break a fast. If you want to make sure you stay in a fasted state, do not add ingredients such as milk, sugar or other sweeteners to your coffee.

Expert Comment

We spoke to intermittent fasting expert Max Lowery to get his thoughts on the intermittent fasting coffee conundrum.

Max Lowery is a British personal trainer and online health coach

Max Lowery is a British personal trainer and online health coach

Here’s what he had to say about coffee and fasting: “Black Coffee is fine, Green Tea is fine, Herbal Tea is fine. There will be a thermic effect of these things on the body, so your body temperature might increase but that won’t take you out of the fasted state.

“A splash of milk is probably fine in your Tea or Coffee. But it really depends on what your goals are (from Intermittent Fasting).

“If your only goal is weight loss, then having a splash of milk in your Coffee or Tea is not going to stop you from losing weight.

“But if you’re looking at getting the digestive benefits, the insulin sensitivity benefits and resetting your body, then maybe you should be a bit more strict with it.

“When you start adding butter, and other things, into Tea and Coffee, that certainly takes you out of your fasted state.

“The reason they do it with [things like] Bulletproof Coffee is because it’s pure fat. You’ll still be burning fat, but you’ll be out of the fasted state. You are upping the calories a bit and it’s allowing people to not eat for a bit longer.”

Anything Else to Consider?

As always, make sure that you speak to a certified medical professional before thinking about making any dramatic lifestyle changes or trying intermittent fasting.

You should never practice intermittent fasting without speaking to a healthcare professional if you have any underlying medical condition.

Although intermittent fasting can have some great effects for some people, it is not for everyone.

It’s also always worth remembering that sticking to a healthy diet and making sure you do some regular exercise are key for your health overall.

Coffee can be a great tool but remember to enjoy it in moderation. It can be quite easy to over-consume it, and too much Caffeine can have some pretty nasty negative effects.

It’s always a good idea to make sure that you do not consume any caffeine within six hours of going to bed at night.

Conclusion – Our Final Thoughts

That brings us to the end of our look at Coffee and whether it breaks a fast or not.

We’ve walked you through the basic things you need to know about intermittent fasting and coffee in general, and revealed how these things can work together if used correctly.

Generally speaking, consuming some black coffee while on a fast will not bring you out of a fasted state.

Just make sure not to add any sweeteners, sugar or milk to your coffee to ensure that you’ll remain in the fasted state and reap the benefits from your intermittent fasting protocol.

Be sure to check out our other guides with answers to questions such as: does a pre workout break your fast? – and does lemon water break your fast?