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Can You Drink Coffee While Fasting? Does Coffee Break A Fast?

Emma

Updated on - Written by
Medically reviewed by Kimberly Langdon, MD

can you drink coffee while fasting

Intermittent fasting is probably one of the most beneficial self-cleansing rituals that any person can subscribe to. Health junkies and caffeine addicts all likely have one question in common when first getting started: can I drink coffee while fasting?

The short answer? Sort of. Coffee while fasting usually won’t be an issue as far as your fast is concerned. More important than your coffee intake will inevitably be the stuff that you add to each mug, like sugar and heavy cream. 
This will be a no-brainer to seasoned fasters, but the neophytes out there might not be as keen. Here’s the 411 for anybody interested in losing weight on an empty stomach.

Can You Drink Coffee While Intermittent Fasting?

Can you drink coffee with creamer while fasting? You sure can, but you won’t be subject to the many health benefits of a true fasting window. Why? 

Any amount of caloric intake will disrupt the metabolism of your fast as your body reacts to it both chemically and biomechanically. You can’t trick your system—if it detects calories, the fast is over, at least as far as your metabolic health is concerned.

Before getting too ahead of ourselves, we should first clarify what intermittent fasting means in a clinical sense[1]—essentially, you choose a large block of every 24-hour period where you pledge to not eat a crumb. Ten-hour fasting windows, fifteen-hour fasting windows, and even “warrior diet” eating plans wherein you literally only eat one meal per day are all common ways to play.

The health benefits of intermittent fasting go deep, according to many studies[2]. They may include everything from weight loss, improvements in cardiovascular health, and even a greatly-boosted metabolism.

In order to see these benefits, however, you’ll need to commit to the program wholeheartedly, without cheating between your planned eating periods. Even a friendly splash of milk between these meals will work against you—any amount of calories, no matter how small, will totally throw your eating plan off biochemically.

Coffee Accouterment That Won’t Break Your Fast

Many intermittent fasters simply drink black coffee (although the most devoted among us will remind you that a 16-ounce cup of black coffee[3] contains approximately five calories on its own). What if you prefer something a bit sweeter, though?

If your favorite flavored syrup amounts to zero calories, you’re in the clear. Some of our favorite calorie-free coffee additives include:

  • Stevia
  • Monkfruit extract
  • Skinny syrups
  • Splenda
  • Other calorie-free sweeteners

Unfortunately, milk, half-and-half, creamer, and especially the butter, coconut oil, or MCT in bulletproof coffee[4] are all totally off the table for coffee consumption during your fasting period. It’s a small price to pay for glory.

How Much Coffee Can You Drink While Intermittent Fasting?

For non-diabetics, up to five or so cups of unsweetened black coffee daily are highly unlikely to impact your fasting blood glucose levels or jar your system out of ketosis.

With that being said, however, drinking too much coffee may make you feel more anxious or uneasy than usual[5], especially on an empty stomach. While it can act as an appetite suppressant[6] in support of your fasting windows, drinking too much coffee might not be the best way to pass the time by. Many expert trainers recommend staying busy and productive as an alternative to pacifying yourself with a mug.

Can You Drink Coffee While Fasting for a Blood Test?

Drinking something like a latte right before a blood test is not advisable—the milk and the sugar drinks like lattes contain will invariably impact[7] your fasting blood glucose levels. What about drinking black coffee or tea, though.

Some good news: as long as your drink contains no cream, sugar, or calories of any kind, it’s not likely to alter[8] your fasting triglyceride or blood glucose. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should, however. We can always recommend consulting your physician before stopping at Starbucks on the way to the doctor’s, especially if the blood test is important.

Other Things to Drink While Fasting

There’s really only one thing you’re looking for when quenching your thirst during an intermittent fast: zero-calorie drinks. Intermittent fasting, for example, isn’t impeded when you drink water throughout the day or the night.

What else can you drink during your fasting period? You’ve got a few options:

  • Water, as mentioned above
  • Sparkling water (it can even be flavored, as long as it contains no calories)
  • Tea or yerba maté, as long as you follow the same recommendations as you would for a cup of coffee
  • Apple cider vinegar and other types of flavorful vinegar diluted in either hot or iced water
  • Calorie-free soda pop
  • Pure fruit juices from low-sugar fruits and vegetables, like greens, cucumbers, and lemons
  • Many colloquial examples also speak to the power of drinking broth between meals when you’re first getting started, but few types of broth are truly zero-calorie beverages—bone broth and other drinks in this area may help you make the transition, but they will, in fact, break your fast

Alcohol, of course, should be avoided outside of your feeding window under all circumstances. In the case of somebody trying out dry fasting, even drinking water will be strictly off-limits during these times. Water-only fasting means that you simply drink water[9] during each “eating” period instead of food—there are a million different ways to try intermittent fasting out.

However, both of these eating plans take the concept of intermittent fasting to the extreme. If you’re just getting started, any zero-calorie drink can be taken confidently between eating windows without breaking your fast, as can other aids like sugar-free gum.

Can You Drink Black Coffee While Fasting?

The verdict, according to the research, is a resounding “yes.” With this in mind, however, if coffee makes you antsy or nervous, we can definitely recommend swapping it out for something more soothing, such as a hot mug of herbal tea.

No matter what your jive is, your fast will go on uninterrupted as long as you follow this one simple rule. Even when intermittent fasting, coffee time can still be all the time, and we couldn’t be more grateful.

Final Thought

Apple cider vinegar baths are a new trend that might be incredibly beneficial and have many medicinal purposes. Its powerful antimicrobial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties make it an affordable and easy-to-use tool for preventing infections and diseases, helping you balance out your skin’s pH, retaining moisture, and preventing dry skin, in addition to promoting overall healthy skin. The only trick is to not overdo it and take it one step at a time.


+ 9 sources

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  1. Kang, S.H., Park, Y.S., Ahn, S.-H. and Kim, H.-H. (2020). Intermittent Fasting: Current Evidence in Clinical Practice. Journal of Obesity & Metabolic Syndrome, [online] 29(2), pp.81–83. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7338490/.
  2. ‌Wilkinson, M.J., Manoogian, E.N.C., Zadourian, A., Lo, H., Fakhouri, S., Shoghi, A., Wang, X., Fleischer, J.G., Navlakha, S., Panda, S. and Taub, P.R. (2020). Ten-Hour Time-Restricted Eating Reduces Weight, Blood Pressure, and Atherogenic Lipids in Patients with Metabolic Syndrome. Cell Metabolism, [online] 31(1), pp.92-104.e5. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31813824/.
  3. ‌Allan, G.M., Korownyk, C. and Mannarino, M. (2013). Coffee: advice for our vice? Canadian family physician Medecin de famille canadien, [online] 59(3), p.269. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3596204/.
  4. ‌Baumeister, A., Gardemann, J., Fobker, M., Spiegler, V. and Fischer, T. (2021). Short-Term Influence of Caffeine and Medium-Chain Triglycerides on Ketogenesis: A Controlled Double-Blind Intervention Study. Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, [online] 2021, pp.1–9. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8221889/.
  5. ‌Alasmari, F. (2020). Caffeine induces neurobehavioral effects through modulating neurotransmitters. Saudi Pharmaceutical Journal, [online] 28(4), pp.445–451. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7132598/.
  6. Gavrieli, A., Karfopoulou, E., Kardatou, E., Spyreli, E., Fragopoulou, E., Mantzoros, C.S. and Yannakoulia, M. (2013). Effect of different amounts of coffee on dietary intake and appetite of normal-weight and overweight/obese individuals. Obesity, [online] 21(6), pp.1127–1132. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23671022/.
  7. ‌Zargar, A., Auttapibarn, C., Hong, S.H., Larson, T.J., Hayworth, K.H. and Ito, M.K. (2013). The effect of acute café latte ingestion on fasting serum lipid levels in healthy individuals. Journal of Clinical Lipidology, [online] 7(2), pp.165–168. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23415436/.
  8. Keirns, B., Elliott, D., Sciarrillo, C., Koemel, N., Poindexter, K. and Emerson, S. (2020). Effect of Black Coffee on Fasting Metabolic Markers and an Abbreviated Fat Tolerance Test. Current Developments in Nutrition, [online] 4(Supplement_2), pp.639–639. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7258390/.
  9. ‌Ogłodek, E. and Pilis, Prof., W. (2021). Is Water-Only Fasting Safe? Global Advances in Health and Medicine, [online] 10, p.216495612110311. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC836.9953/.
Emma

Medically reviewed by:

Kimberly Langdon

Emma Garofalo is a writer based in Pittsburgh, PA. A lover of science, art, and all things culinary, few things excite her more than the opportunity to learn about something new." It is now in the sheet in the onboarding paperwork, apologies!!

Medically reviewed by:

Kimberly Langdon

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