Today, it seems like everyone is trying a fast-style diet. Fasting, specifically intermittent fasting, has become a prominent health routine, especially among younger generations.
Fasting is a great way to ensure your body sheds more calories than you consume. Decreasing your calorie intake to a healthy level is critical for weight loss. Intermittent fasting can also benefit those who don’t have weight loss as a top priority. You can practice certain methods of fasting to gain muscle while staying lean.
While fasting can be beneficial, it’s not suitable for everyone. Make sure to do your research before you decide if fasting is a good option for you. Additionally, there are often a lot of questions that come from people that are about to start a fast.
The most commonly asked question is what specifically breaks a fast. In other words, what can you consume during a fasting period that won’t harm the routine you’re trying to master?
Many people have a solid routine in place, and it can be challenging to make a major change to something you’re accustomed to. For example, a cup or two of coffee in the morning is a common routine that can be hard to break, fast or not.
Below, we’ll discuss what exactly a fast is, the benefits, and if you can drink coffee during it.
Fasting is the practice of not eating food for a set period. Traditionally, fasting was practiced for religious and political reasons. While this remains true, controlled fasting has recently become a popular weight-loss method.
One of the most effective ways to utilize fasting to lose weight is through intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting is a massive help with weight loss and may even help reduce your risk of chronic diseases.
Intermittent fasting is the same idea as traditional fasting, except you have set periods where you are allowed to eat food throughout the day. For example, a common and popular way of intermittent fasting is called the 16/8 method.
The 16/8 method is simple: no eating for 16 hours with an 8-hour eating window included throughout each day. It’s the most popular method because it’s the easiest for people who haven’t tried fasting before. Not to mention, we sleep for around 7-9 hours each day, which takes a lot of time out of the 16 hours.
While there are tons of other methods to intermittent fasting, we’re going to focus on what is considered a break in a fast and what isn’t.
By definition, you can’t eat anything during a fast. However, there are many things that you can drink to keep your energy levels up throughout your fasting period.
If you aren’t eating food for an extended period, your body isn’t getting a lot of nutrients. Nutrients provide your body with energy, so you will likely feel tired and fatigued before the adjustment period, especially towards the end of your fasting window.
This fatigue is why what you drink during a fast is so important. The right beverage can provide the energy that your body needs throughout the day.
Just as foods can break your fast, some drinks can break it as well. Drinks that are exceptionally high in unhealthy sugars, calories, and carbs will be detrimental to your fast and are considered a break.
Soda, energy drinks, and even coffee with added sugar, flavor, or creamer are all drinks that will break your fast. So, if you’re like us and can’t make it through your morning without a cup of coffee or two, you’re going to have to get adjusted to black coffee.
An average cup of coffee with no added ingredients contains about three calories. For most people, this isn’t nearly enough to break a fast.
If you’re not a fan of black coffee, we get it. It’s an acquired taste, but black coffee is better than no coffee for many. Also, you are allowed to add a few drops of milk or cream if you need to. It might technically break your fast, but minimal amounts won’t destroy the benefits of fasting.
Additionally, coffee may even help suppress your appetite. While this isn’t proven, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that coffee may subside hunger, making it easier to make it through a fasting window.
Another considerable benefit of caffeine is the energy boost it provides. We drink caffeine regularly to either wake up or stay up. This intention won’t change because of a fast, and the energy you’ll receive from just one cup is invaluable.
Be cautious not to overindulge in caffeine, which can lead to crashing. A caffeine crash will do the opposite of providing sustainable energy, making you jittery, followed by sluggishness and fatigue.
A good rule to follow is no more than two average-sized cups of coffee in the morning. If you find yourself truly in need of a boost, there are better alternatives than a third, or even fourth cup. However, if you really can’t find anything else, a third cup isn’t going to hurt you as long as you space them out.
So, in short, the answer is yes! You can drink caffeine while fasting.
First, make sure the coffee you drink is black. Added sugars, flavors, and cream can break your fast. Second, drinking too much caffeine on an empty stomach will usually have adverse effects, so try not to drink more than two cups, or at least space them out if you need more.
Suppose you aren’t a fan of coffee or can’t get used to the taste of it without any extras. No worries — here are some other things you can drink to make up for the energy you’re losing without breaking your fast.
Remember that drinks high in sugar, calories, and carbs will break your fast. So, if we’re also taking black coffee out of the equation, what else is there?
To be brutally honest, there isn’t much. But, not much is often better than nothing at all!
No calories, no problem! Regular or carbonated, water is one of the best natural energy sources out of any drink.
If you find yourself tired throughout a fast, drinking a ton of water is essential. Hydration is vital during times of exhaustion, especially in the middle of a fast. Drinking an abundant amount of water will keep you fresh and ready to go.
Tea, especially green tea, is arguably even better than coffee. It contains more natural nutrients and helps boost your metabolism.
Don’t forget that tea also contains caffeine, just less than coffee. Unsweetened tea is one of the healthiest drinks, and there are so many options in terms of benefits and taste. The taste is a little lighter and more versatile than coffee, and you’ll get a lot more of the nutrients your body is missing out on during a fast.
There is a big emphasis on the unsweetened part, as many brand-name teas contain as much sugar and unhealthy properties as soda and energy drinks.
You now know what does and doesn’t break a fast, specifically that you can drink plain black coffee throughout any fasting window. If you’re looking to start fasting, you’re going to need something that can help you track your progress and keep you motivated.
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Fasting: The History, Pathophysiology and Complications | US National Library of Medicine
Impact of intermittent fasting on health and disease processes | PubMed
Coffee | US Department of Agriculture