Is It Okay To Drink Coffee During Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting has recently gained immense popularity among celebrities and fitness enthusiasts all over the world. Right from Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to Hollywood celebrities like Hugh Jack and Kourtney Kardashian swear by the benefits of this dieting trend. Intermittent fasting is also one of the top-searched diets in 2019 according to Google Trends data [14]. As the name suggests, it involves eating during a certain number of hours in a day and fasting the rest of the time. 

What is Intermittent Fasting?
Whenever you eat, you get energy from glucose (sugar) in the food. Insulin secreted by the pancreas helps deliver glucose to the body’s cells. There, glucose is either used immediately or stocked for later access. In intermittent fasting, insulin production in your body is reduced as your body uses the stored glucose for energy. Once that glucose is gone, it relies on fat and leads to weight loss. The latest study published in the translational research journal reported that intermittent fasting can result in a 3-8% weight loss within 3-24 weeks [1]. This dieting trend also offers a myriad of other health benefits such as improving blood pressure [2], increasing sensitivity to insulin [3], and lowering cholesterol [4].

Can You Drink Coffee During IF?
If you are new to intermittent fasting, you may wonder whether you are allowed to drink coffee. Coffee, in itself, is a fat-free and almost zero-calorie beverage. It is what you add to the drink that increases the calorie count! As long as you feed your body with more calories, it won’t utilize the glucose that is stored in the fat cells and prevent you from getting the desired results. When you add sugar or milk to your coffee, it would add calories, fat, and glucose thereby breaking the fast. Black coffee is the safest beverage during intermittent fasting. 

Benefits of Drinking Coffee during IF
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), a cup of regular black coffee brewed from ground beans contains just two calories [5]. Therefore, it does not considerably affect your fasting, in fact, it can be beneficial.

  1. Aids in weight loss
    According to a report published in the Journal of Basic and Clinical Physiology and Pharmacology in 2017, the caffeine contained in coffee can increase your metabolism and helps promote weight loss [6]. Caffeine and other constituents of coffee, such as chlorogenic acid and quinides also aid in weight loss [7]. Therefore a moderate coffee consumption is good for you while following an intermittent fasting routine.

  1. Improves brain function
    One of the main reasons behind the popularity of intermittent fasting is its potential to improve brain health and prevent age-associated neurological disorders. During fasting your body produces energy from fat in the form of ketones, a process that enables improved brain function [8]. Surprisingly, coffee also promotes ketone production [9]. Studies have also reported that coffee consumption reduces the risks of developing stroke, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease [10]. The caffeine contained in coffee increases alertness, improves mood, and concentration enabling you to stick to the fasting routine.
  1. Reduces inflammation
    In a study published in Cell [11], Mount Sinai researchers mentioned that intermittent fasting reduces inflammation and improves chronic inflammatory diseases without affecting the immune system’s response to acute infections. Coffee contains polyphenols and other anti-inflammatory compounds, which may prevent inflammation [12]. Therefore, intermittent fasting and coffee intake may help reduce inflammation.

Just like the saying ‘excess of anything is bad’, you need to moderate your black coffee intake during fasting as it affects sleep quality or even causes cardiovascular function impairments [13]. 

References:

  1. https://www.translationalres.com/article/S1931-5244(14)00200-X/fulltext
  2. https://www.fasebj.org/doi/full/10.1096/fj.05-5263com
  3. https://www.mdpi.com/2076-328X/7/1/4/htm
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9363296?dopt=Abstract
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27824614
  6. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/171890/nutrients
  7. https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/84/4/682/4633022
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29086496
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28177691
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26677204
  11. https://www.cell.com/cell/fulltext/S0092-8674(19)30850-5
  12. https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/83/5/1039/4649470
  13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28603504
  14. https://trends.google.com/trends/yis/2019/US/?utm_source=social-influencer&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=yis2019

How to Calculate The Calories for Losing 1 Kg Of Weight

When it comes to losing weight, we often talk about shedding calories, but it’s essential to have a fair understanding of what calories are and how it affects your fitness goals. Having some knowledge about your daily calorie requirements helps you be on track to lose weight. Here, we explain how to calculate the exact number of calories to be burned for shedding one kilogram of weight.

What are calories?
Calories are a measure of units of energy as per the international system of units. The number of calories in a food is a measure of how much energy that food possesses. Your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE), the number of calories you burn each day plays a vital role in maintaining your weight. 

Exercise, Diet & Calories
Exercise can regulate energy balance by affecting the intake and expenditure of calories. The more intense the exercise, the more calories you will burn. For instance, when researchers compared runners and walkers within a period of six years, they found that calories burned through running led to 90 percent more weight loss than calories burned through walking [2]. A study states that low-calorie diets (one that restricts your intake to 1,200 to 1,600 calories per day for men, and 1,000 to 1,200 calories per day for women) are a safe strategy for weight loss [3].

Calorie Requirement for Weight Loss
Your BMR (basal metabolic rate) is responsible for burning 60 to 70 percent of the total calories you burn in a day. Calculating it is the first step to find out the calories for losing weight. Listed below are two formulas for calculating the BMR : 

  1. Mifflin-St Jeor Formula
    Mifflin-St Jeor formula is believed to give the most accurate results [4]. Here is how to estimate your Basal Metabolic Rate using the Mifflin-St Jeor formula:

Formula for estimating BMR in women:

(9.99 x bodyweight (in kilograms)) + (6.25 x height (in centimeters)) – (4.92 x age) – 161

Formula for estimating BMR in men:

(9.99 x bodyweight (in kilograms) + (6.25 x height (in centimeters)) – (4.92 x age) + 5

  1. Harris-Benedict formula for estimating BMR in women:
    It is one of the oldest and most commonly used formulas for calculating BMR.

Formula for estimating BMR in women:

BMR = 655 + (9.6 × weight in kg) + (1.8 × height in cm) – (4.7 × age in years)

Formula for estimating BMR in men:

BMR = 66 + (13.7 × weight in kg) + (5 × height in cm) – (6.8 × age in years)

After you estimate your BMR using the Harris-Benedict formula, the next step is to include the number of calories you burn during daily activities based on your lifestyle: 

Sedentary: If you do minimal or no exercise at all, multiply your BMR by 1.2.

Lightly active: If you exercise lightly for one or three days a week, multiply your BMR by 1.375.

Moderately active: If you exercise moderately for three to five days a week, multiply your BMR by 1.55.

Very active: If you perform hard workouts almost six to seven days a week, multiply your BMR by 1.725.

Extra active: If you engage in a very hard workout for six to seven days a week or have a physical job, multiply your BMR by 1.9.

The final number will be the approximate calories you require daily for maintaining your weight.

According to a study [5], a pound of fat is around 3,500 calories, therefore to lose 1 kg per week, you need to cut 7,700 calories from your diet each week or 1,100 each day. However, this number may vary depending on various factors such as gender, age, height, bodyweight, metabolic health, etc. Having a better understanding of calorie calculation can help you determine the best activities, both exercise, and non-exercise for meeting your fitness goals.

References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3630467/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23190592
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1319349/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15883556
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2376744/

 

Diet & IVF Treatment: Is There A Connection?

It’s been almost 40 years since the first baby was born through in vitro fertilization (IVF) and today many people are opting for this treatment. IVF is the most effective form of assisted reproductive technology. During this process, mature eggs are retrieved from ovaries and fertilized by sperm in a lab. Then the fertilized egg (embryo) or eggs (embryos) are transferred to a uterus. 

Several studies have reported that the success rate of IVF treatment is relatively high when combined with a tailored diet [1]. It helps manage issues such as ovulatory infertility [2], sperm DNA damage [3], poor semen quality [4], polycystic ovaries [5], and endometriosis [6].

What to Nutrients to Have During IVF Treatment?

  1. Folate-rich foods
    Folate can improve your fertility rate by increasing progesterone levels and reducing risks of ovulatory infertility [7]. It is also a vital nutrient for men who are trying to conceive. Studies have proven that folate consumption can improve sperm concentration and motility [8]. For including folate in your diet, consume daily servings of vegetables such as  broccoli, spinach, cabbage, and beetroot [9]. Fruits such as papaya, pineapple, orange, and other citrus fruits are excellent sources of folate. Legumes such as beans, peas, and lentils are also rich in folate.

  1. Iron-rich foods
    Research says that proper iron nutrition is essential for lowering the risk of ovulatory infertility, an inability to produce healthy eggs [10]. Include iron-rich foods in your diet such as meat, poultry, fish, green leafy vegetables, whole grains, eggs, raisins, etc. Also, to enhance iron absorption, it is necessary  to pair them with vitamin-C-rich foods [11].
  1. Healthy fats
    Healthy fats include monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats (omega-3 and omega-6). According to a study [12], omega-3 fatty acids can promote fertility in men by improving sperm morphology. Another one quotes that omega-3 acids can lead to improved pregnancy rates in overweight and obese women undertaking IVF treatment [13].

What Not to Have During IVF Treatment?
Just like how certain foods improve the chances of conception during IVF. There are certain foods that both men and women should avoid while undergoing this treatment, they are discussed below:

  1. Unhealthy fats
    Unhealthy fats such as saturated fats and trans fats can have a negative impact when consumed in excess. For example, processed red meat, an important source of saturated fat can lower sperm concentration and total sperm count [14]. Trans fats are usually found in fried foods, processed and baked foods. Therefore, refrain from such foods during IVF treatment.
  1. Alcohol
    Studies suggest that women who are planning to conceive should abstain from consuming alcohol as it can disrupt the normal menstrual cycle [15].  Alcohol can also affect the health of eggs and lead to fetus impairment.

  1. Caffeinated Beverages
    Limit the consumption of tea and coffee while undergoing IVF treatment. A recent study has revealed that  there is an increased rate of spontaneous abortion with more than 300mg caffeine/day [16]. Therefore do not consume more than 300 mg of caffeine per day during IVF treatment. If you can, refrain from it completely.

Diet plays a crucial role in increasing the success rate of your IVF treatment. A Mediterranean diet is one of the most recommended diets while undergoing fertility treatment. According to the latest study, this diet can improve the embryo yield in IVF [17]. It focuses on  high consumption of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, and whole grains, moderate consumption of poultry, eggs, and dairy products, and limited consumption of red meat. The healthier you are, the better your chances of conceiving and having a healthy baby. 

References

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6079277/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17209201?dopt=Abstract
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22935557?dopt=Abstract
  4. https://academic.oup.com/humrep/article/20/4/1006/701270
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3752890/
  6. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/325092608_Endometriosis_and_food_habits_Can_diet_make_the_difference
  7. https://www.fertstert.org/article/S0015-0282(07)00828-X/fulltext
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4614702/
  9. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/1541-4337.12193
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17077236
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2507689
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22416013/
  13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26742065/
  14. https://academic.oup.com/jn/article/144/7/1091/4615605
  15. https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh26-4/274-281.htm
  16. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5733907/
  17. https://rbej.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12958-019-0520-9