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

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