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Many people need some coffee to get a start to their day. It’s become so deeply ingrained in our culture that many restaurants have abandoned former logos and slogans in favor of one that advertises the drink. But for those of us who are fasting coffee poses a bit of a conundrum- does coffee break a fast?
Before an actual answer can be reached it’s important to remember that coffee works the same way on your body regardless of what your health goals might be. That’s not going to change. So the effect it has isn’t really the issue, so much as whether or not that effect conflicts with your health goals. For example, some people use fasting as part of their weight loss regime. Drinking coffee is known to help with weight loss, though it’s not necessarily directly responsible for it. But black coffee has zero calories, while coffee that’s loaded with sugar and milk or creamer does.
Depending on how often you drink caffeinated coffee, giving it up for a fast may cause a caffeine withdrawal. This can make your fasting very difficult because withdrawals usually involve headaches, anxiety, fatigue, and lack of energy. Fasting while experiencing a caffeine withdrawal can ultimately cause more harm than good because of how much your body is experiencing at once. If you plan to give up coffee while fasting, taper slowly off of it first. If you do give it up and experience a withdrawal small amounts of decaf will help alleviate the withdrawal symptoms without breaking your fast.
Intermittent fasting can be beneficial for gut health both by restoring microbe diversity and increasing your tolerance to ‘bad’ gut microbes. As many of us know from personal experience, coffee can make it very difficult for your gastrointestinal system to rest. If you’re trying to give your gut a break then coffee is going to break your fast because it’s known to trigger gastrointestinal functions. But when the fasting is done, remember that coffee is good for your gut for that same reason. You can find ways to work it into your custom meal planner, and a meal plan generator can give you more insight on how to prepare coffee specifically for promoting gut health.
A cup in the morning won’t break a fast but an entire pot can, especially if it’s caffeinated. Caffeine is a stimulant. It’s known to raise stress hormones like cortisol as well as epinephrine (also known as adrenaline). Too much can raise your blood sugar levels which will in turn delay ketosis. You can cut down on coffee or switch to decaf while fasting, but decaf coffee still has trace amounts of caffeine in it so an entire pot in the morning is still a bad idea.
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