You might be asking, “Can you drink black coffee while fasting?” The answer is yes and no. It depends on why you are fasting.
People fast for many different reasons, whether it’s ahead of a medical procedure, for religious purposes, or part of a diet. So, the nitty-gritty of what technically is and is not acceptable to have on a fast really does depend on why you’re fasting to begin with.
If black coffee is just hot water and espresso, or hot water and some instant coffee, you might think it’s okay to drink while fasting as it’s essentially another form of water. In some cases, black coffee is viewed the same as water, but it’s not always that straightforward. The deciding factor depends on why you’re fasting in the first place.
Can You Drink Black Coffee While Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is a diet growing in popularity. In the most simple terms, it involves alternating between fasting and eating regularly.
On a fast like this, black coffee is okay. Coffee is mostly water and does not contain many calories, so it should not count as breaking your fast. If anything, the caffeine might perk you up if you’re feeling fatigued.
Another drink that people often talk about when intermittent fasting is white tea. However, white tea has more calories than black coffee, so if you can, stick to your cup of java.
Can You Drink Coffee Before Medical Exams?
If you're fasting ahead of a medical procedure, you generally can’t drink black coffee.
Usually, medical fasts mean you cannot eat anything after midnight ahead of your procedure. Depending on what you're having done, you might not even be able to drink water – so in that case, you definitely can’t drink black coffee.
One of the reasons you shouldn't drink black coffee if you’re fasting for a medical exam is because it might impact the results of blood tests. Coffee is also a diuretic, so it will undoubtedly get on your doctor's nerves if you need to pee.
Caffeine is what’s known as a vasoconstrictor. This means that it can decrease the size of your blood vessels, which will raise your blood pressure. So, if it’s essential to have an accurate blood pressure reading, you should avoid black coffee and all caffeine while fasting for a medical exam.
Decaff has substantially less caffeine than regular coffee – but not none – so you may be allowed to drink this while fasting, with your doctor’s permission.
In some instances, you might be able to have black coffee a few hours before the procedure. For example, if you’re having anesthesia, the cut-off point for liquids is two hours before the procedure. So, black coffee a few hours beforehand should be okay with your doctor’s permission – but do not add milk or sugar.
It’s best to confirm with your doctor before drinking black coffee in any medical fasting scenario.
Can You Drink Black Coffee During A Religious Fast?
The question of whether you can have coffee before a religious fast is a very complicated one, which varies case by case.
Unlike dieting, religious fasts often mean you can't have drink anything either. However, the strictness of the fast often depends on your own beliefs and your congregation. So if you have any queries, you should clarify them with your church before beginning a fast.
Fasting during Ramadam means no food or water from dawn until dusk for the full 29 to 30 days. So while you can have coffee and anything else you want before and after the fast, black coffee will be off-limits during the day.
Jewish people usually fast on Yom Kippur. It falls in September or October and begins on a Tuesday evening and ends Wednesday evening.
For this fast, participants fast just before sunset until just after nightfall the following evening. You can have coffee before or after the fast, but all food and drink are off-limits during the fast.
Some Christians will decide to fast on occasion, but Christianity does not have a dedicated fasting period like other religions do. Many individuals choose to fast for religious holidays or give up something during Lent, but they’re certainly not expected to fast for the full 40 days. So, you can choose to give up coffee during Lent, but there’s no hard rule saying not to drink it at all.
When it comes to fasting for religious purposes, some groups will make an exception if participants feel faint. That said, black coffee probably wouldn’t be the best thing to drink in that scenario. If you feel faint, it’s better to drink water or something sweet like orange juice to raise your blood sugar levels.