If you are fasting and a coffee drinker, you may be wondering whether or not you can have your favorite brew during the fasting period. Read on to find out about drinking coffee while fasting.
People fast for many different reasons, whether for a medical procedure, religious purposes, for weight loss or even just as part of a health diet. And many people who choose to fast enjoy the benefits of coffee as part of their everyday lifestyle and may not want to give up their cup of joe during fasting time.
Of course, their crucial question is ‘will my morning coffee break my fast?’. The answer is a complex one and depends on several variables, including the reasons for fasting and the type of coffee drink chosen during the fasting window.
Typically, if you’re doing a time-restricted fast, you can have coffee during the eating window. However, you should be careful when having coffee after hours of not consuming any calories, as a strong black coffee can be harsh on an empty stomach.
Fasting And Coffee Consumption
Technically speaking, most view fasting as deliberately not consuming any calories for a specific length of time. Thus, black coffee, with little to no calories, is often held up as the ideal drink when taking part in this practice.
It’s not always that straightforward, though. The deciding factor can often come down to why you’re fasting in the first place, with different types of fasting having different goals and rules.
For instance, if you are fasting for medical tests, your caffeine intake can affect the results and often has to be limited.
Thus, medical fasting isn’t the same as fasting for weight loss, as calories aren’t an important element. Instead, the fact that you are altering your body when it is being examined is the issue.
On the other hand, if you are fasting for religious reasons, you may not be able to take any water (so no coffee) or a specific period of time. As this demonstrates, there are different reasons for fasting and because of this, there are different answers to the question of ‘can you drink coffee while fasting?’.
What Coffee Can You Drink While Fasting
You must take your coffee without additives like sugar and creamer if you’re doing a strict fast, and particularly if you want to achieve weight loss.
They add calories that the body must break down and this breaks a fasting period. Strict fasts also don’t allow for less calorific additives and sweeteners, such as stevia, even though they are healthier and less calorific than plain sugar.
For strict fasting, it must also be black coffee. Lattes and cappuccinos should be avoided because milk contains protein, fat, and carbohydrates that will break your fast. And yes, this even includes alternative options, such as oat and almond milk.
Creamer and flavored coffees should also be avoided, as these also have calories and can take you out of the fasted state.
However, it doesn’t matter whether you opt for a dark or light roast, Arabica or Robusta, course or fine grinds. If drinking coffee is part of your fast and is helping you with hunger, you might as well have your favorite type of black coffee. The choice is yours in this instance.
It sounds obvious, but your favorite carb snack is also a no-go when it comes to the fasting period. You will have to wait until fasting is over to add that to your coffee routine.
Suppose you are not fasting but instead just drinking coffee as part of a clean diet, then black coffee could be something to add to your lifestyle. Here, there are certain coffees that are considered to contain more health benefits than others.
Technically, the popular bulletproof coffee shouldn’t be consumed while fasting. That is because you are not supposed to consume calories during a strict fast. However, if you aren’t on a completely strict fast but instead on a keto diet, then Bulletproof Coffee might be for you.
Bulletproof Coffee contains MCT oil in the form of coconut oil, which drives up its fat content. You will consume a lot of fat on a ketogenic diet, encouraging your body to stay in ketosis for longer. And that is exactly what bulletproof coffee can do for you.
However, this is a beverage that you should drink in moderation. One or two cups during your morning coffee break should be sufficient. That is because it has a lot of calories and may not be the ideal caffeine drink for you to consume more than a few times per day.
A final note on fasting for health reasons is that it should always be done as part of a balanced and healthy diet. If fasting for medical reasons, you also need to consult your medical doctor about what you can and cannot consume. And, if fasting is for personal issues, you should still be getting your daily recommended calorie intake as per your doctor or nutritionist’s recommendations.
3 Reasons For Fasting And Whether You Can Drink Coffee Or Not
1. Intermittent Fasting And Your Cup Of Coffee
Intermittent fasting is a diet that is growing in popularity. In its most simple terms, it involves alternating between time-restricted fasting and eating regularly. One of the more popular versions of intermittent fasting is the 8-16 diet, where you consume your daily calorie intake in eight hours of a given day, abstaining from food for the other 16 hours.
Drinking moderate amounts of zero-calorie or low-calorie beverages will not break your 8-16 fast. This includes black coffee, as long as it is not sweetened. A single cup of espresso or black coffee only contains between two and three calories. Therefore, this should not ruin your fast.
There are numerous benefits of intermittent fasting with coffee as well. For example, consuming coffee while fasting may reduce inflammation throughout the body. If you are someone who suffers from aches and pains, it is thought intermittent fasting can help you reduce inflammation, making you feel more comfortable.
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, you might want to stick to your cup of java.
Research suggests that intermittent fasting may induce autophagy, and improve metabolic health and fat burning. However, it should be noted that adverse side effects of this type of fasting include severe hunger, lightheadedness, irritability, fatigue, and digestive issues.
Thus, it is recommended that you consult with a medical professional before undertaking this type of fasting. And if conducting this fast as a type of lifestyle, it is also important to ensure that you are eating enough calories during your eating windows.
2. Drinking Coffee Before Medical Exams
If you’re fasting before a medical procedure, you generally can’t drink black coffee.
Medical fasts can mean you cannot eat anything after midnight ahead of your procedure. Depending on what procedure you’re having done, you might not even be able to drink water – so in that case, you definitely can’t drink black coffee.
Of course, not every medical procedure requires you to undergo a fasting period beforehand. Thus, if you’re unsure, consult your medical team, and they will be able to let you know.
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.
However, there are also more complex medical reasons why you shouldn’t take a diuretic before procedures. As with all elements of fasting for medical reasons, if unsure, ask those caring for you.
Caffeine is what’s known as a vasoconstrictor. This means it can decrease blood vessels’ size, raising 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 this type of 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 too. For example, if you’re having anesthesia, the cut-off point for liquids is often two hours before the procedure. So, a few hours beforehand, black coffee should be okay (once again, with your doctor’s permission), but you may not be allowed to add milk or sugar. And, just to reiterate, it’s best to confirm with your doctor before drinking black coffee in any medical fasting scenario.
3. 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 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 typically 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, begins on a Tuesday evening, and ends on 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 fasting period.
Of course, whether you stick to these fasts and how you conduct them comes down to your own personal belief system. Religious beliefs are something that can be very different from person to person.
Some Christians will decide to fast occasionally, 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. However, they’re certainly not expected to fast for the full 40 days. So, if you are Christian, you can choose to give up coffee during Lent, but there’s no hard rule saying not to drink it at all.
Regarding 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. Low blood glucose can be a reason for feeling faint, so consuming coffee on an empty stomach is probably not a good solution.
Coffee As Part Of A Clean Diet
You now have a better idea about what coffee you can drink if you’re fasting. However, can you drink coffee if you’re not fasting and have just decided to embrace a cleaner diet?
As far back as I can remember, I have heard and read about how unhealthy coffee is. Together with fatty sausages, sizzling bacon, and toast with margarine, coffee has often been regarded as one of the unhealthy components of the typical Western diet.
Throughout much of my life, I have regarded coffee as one of the many unhealthy lifestyle choices we make in the West and as one of the culprits for ailments such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
Like so many other “truths” in my life, this popular narrative has turned out to be factually incorrect. In fact, according to multiple studies, coffee isn’t only not bad for us, it’s actually good for us (in moderation, of course).
Research has shown that moderate coffee drinking has all kinds of health benefits, including decreased risk of developing cardiovascular disease, risk of type 2 diabetes, and with brain health. To gain the most benefits from coffee, you want to drink it without sugar. This is especially so if you’re following a clean eating diet plan since these plans usually exclude sugary drinks.
Coffee contains multiple bioactive compounds, such as flavonols and antioxidants, that are really good for us. Surprisingly, many studies claim that your average American, Scandinavian, Japanese, and European receive more antioxidants from coffee than from any other dietary source.
There is even research showing that coffee can reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease and improve your overall health. All-in-all, coffee can be an excellent drink when enjoyed as part of a healthy and balanced diet. And when considering it and fasting, it can be something for you to look forward to at the end of a fast, or something you can consume during it. It all just depends.