“Can I drink coffee while intermittent fasting?” This is by far one of the most common questions new fasters have. I know I did and I also wondered what other beverages wouldn’t break a fast. Let’s find out what you can and can’t drink on an intermittent fasting plan.
Ketosis, Insulin Sensitivity, and Autophagy
The point of intermittent fasting is to get into ketosis, and there’s little doubt you will get into this state if you’re fasting. Your body will be forced to burn fat if you aren’t ingesting any calories. The question really is then: “Does coffee interfere with ketosis? The answer seems to be a resounding, “No!” In fact, coffee has been found to Stimulate ketosis, and increase fat burning.
Another benefit of intermittent fasting is to improve insulin sensitivity. This means your body responds better to insulin signaling. Another bit of good news is that, over time, coffee can actually improve insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance.
Autophagy is a huge benefit of intermittent fasting. This metabolic process occurs during fasted states, and is the body’s way of detoxifying and repairing itself. Think of it sort of like a recycling program where faulty cell parts are disassembled and eliminated. It’s an important process in keeping inflammation at bay, preventing cancer and other chronic diseases, and supporting immunity.
[Read More: Keto for Dummies [The Ketogenic Diet Explained]
What Beverages Are Safe During An Intermittent Fast?
1. Coffee – Stick to one cup per day or drink decaf.
2. Tea – This is fine to drink in small amounts.
3. Diet Soda – Sodas with aspartame are not okay as they will raise insulin. Diet sodas containing xylitol or stevia are fine.
4. Apple Cider Vinegar– ACV is great for blood-sugar regulation and digestion. The acetic acid in it will also help you absorb the minerals in the foods you ate at your previous meals. This is important because minerals are depleted during fasting.
5. Nut milks – Be sure and buy the unsweetened versions, and use only small amounts.
6. Water – Add electrolytes by adding 1/4 teaspoon of Himalayan sea salt to your water. Fasting depletes electrolytes so this is a helpful strategy to replenish them. Adding a bit of cream of tartar to your water will help with potassium depletion.
7. Sparkling water – I like adding a splash of apple cider vinegar to my San Pellegrino. Carbonation does not interfere with fasting or ketosis.
8. Bone broth – This low-calorie powerhouse can be eaten between meals, and is a good source of nutrition and electrolytes. This is controversial. Some proponents of intermittent fasting don’t view this as an acceptable beverage.
Does Caffeine Raise Blood Sugar?
Tea and coffee both have caffeine. Large amounts of caffeine will stimulate insulin so as long as you’re drinking small amounts, your fast will not be negatively affected. Decaffeinated coffee is a good choice, and you won’t have to worry about issues with insulin. Since we all react differently to the caffeine in coffee, determine how it affects you, and drink accordingly.
Coffee can have side effects, causing jitters in some people, indigestion, and mood swings. These symptoms may be worse when caffeine is taken on an empty stomach. It can also cause an energy crash, which can be exacerbated when fasting.
The bottom line: keep coffee consumption to one cup a day. Too much coffee will raise blood sugar by stimulating the adrenal glands. This elevation in cortisol will activate insulin, knocking you out of a fasted state.
Is Cream In My Coffee Okay?
Yes, small amounts of cream and milk in your coffee are okay. See the pattern here? The amount does matter. Small amounts of coffee, and small amounts of whatever you put in it are just fine. Adding too much fat, as in the case of butter, will stimulate insulin, ending your fast.
If you’re not a black coffee lover, you can sweeten your coffee with xylitol or erythritol will no ill effects, just don’t add sugar. It’s pretty simple – stick to one cup of coffee with small amounts of cream, and a pinch of one of the sugar alcohols to sweeten. Juice, alcohol, or any beverage containing sugar are not appropriate when fasting, and will knock you out of fat burning.
What Can I Eat During Intermittent Fasting?
Here’s a tactic to help you get enough minerals when fasting. This is important since minerals are depleted during calorie restriction. Eat a huge salad between meals. Salads contain much-need fiber and nutrition, but are so low in calories that insulin won’t be stimulated. Sprinkle a concoction of apple cider vinegar and lemon juice on your salad to spice it up.
You can also add a little lemon juice to your apple cider vinegar beverage. Both are acidic so make sure to dilute before drinking. Sipping through a straw will protect the enamel on your teeth. Don’t like lemon? Try adding some cucumber slices to your water to freshen the taste.
The whole idea behind fasting is to lower insulin levels to allow for fat burning. Small amounts of low calorie foods like cucumber and lemon juice that don’t stimulate insulin are safe to consume.
If you’re hungry before bed, try a cup of chamomile tea for relaxation. Teas are good for hydration, and don’t interrupt the fat-burning process. A hot cup of tea can provide needed comfort when faced with the deprivation of fasting. There are a variety of herbal teas to suit your taste so experiment to find ones you love.
Fasting makes you hungry! You can extend your fast by an hour or two by drinking a cup of coffee or another acceptable beverage. I think it’s a useful tool when intermittent fasting.
Are you an intermittent faster? What are some strategies you use to make it easier? Let me know in the comments:)