Whether you’re a fan of Bulletproof coffee’s healthy fats, especially the brain-enhancing, metabolism-boosting coconut oil…or you’re really into tea since it’s carb-free…you may be wondering whether you can drink anything while fasting other than water.
If you drink a cup of coffee, does that yank your body away from using fat for fuel?
Good news: no! Some drinks can be consumed during a fast, without breaking the fast!
This might be a little confusing to hear, because if you’ve ever fasted, say, before getting a blood test, the doctor probably told you that the only think you can drink while fasting is water.
If you asked why, your doctor might have told you “I need to know your fasting blood sugar level,” or “I need to test the total number of cholesterols in your blood.”
…Which is all fine and dandy, except, plain black coffee shouldn’t affect any of that stuff, right?
Right! Well, mostly.
I know the whole question of what you can drink while fasting should be pretty straightforward.
Because it’s just a question of, is there ANYTHING I can drink without putting my body back into the fed state, triggering an insulin release…which means, as you know, shutting down that fat burning factory?
All sources seem to point to what you might have already heard, that 50 calories is the threshold where your body “realizes” you’re consuming energy (and goes back into the fed state).
You can think of it like you’re trying to sneak calories past your brain undetected… like a secret agent trying to tiptoe past security! You don’t want to accidentally trigger the alarms, or you’ll be swarmed by an army of insulin!
So that means black coffee and green/black tea are perfect. They’re low-calorie, below the 50 calorie mark.
In fact, as I’ve said, I love my black coffee in the morning, and since I get up at 7 and eat at 11, all I’m doing for IF is delaying food for the first four hours of the day. Not that hard, right?
Black coffee, tea…So what about adding sweeteners?
Well, they still have carbs, so it’s a no-go. Those starchy powders may very well “trigger the alarms” and put you back in a fed state. Stevia won’t do this, being an herb and all, but read this if you want my (not-so-positive) opinion on sweeteners!
Studies show that just tasting something sweet can trigger an insulin response. The brain is weird like that! Also, sweetening a drink with honey, etc. could stimulate insulin release due to the sugars, even if you’re only adding a single squeeze.
What about something like lemon water, is that okay? Well, many fitness experts say that lemon water with just a little bit of lemon should not break your fast.
Finally, as you all wanted to know, what about Bulletproof coffee?
I actually posted about this and unfortunately, the answer is, it will break your fast! It has around 230 calories, fat calories. Because it’s fat, it doesn’t cross what’s called the “blood-brain barrier” that tells your brain, “Food’s here!” and breaks your fast. Remember, glucose “triggers the alarms.”
But there are so many benefits to IF! Insulin regulation, growth hormone production and lean muscle improvement if you work out during the fast, disease prevention, longevity, eating bad cells…
Wait a minute.
Those last few benefits of fasting don’t happen if you’re drinking Bulletproof coffee, sorry! Consuming 230 calories of fat while fasted stops your body from destroying cells that need to die. (This process is called autophagy.) Like I said, fat doesn’t cross the blood-brain barrier, and produce an insulin spike.
But consuming more than 50 calories does stop that awesome disease-preventing, bad-cell-destroying process. I’d save the Bulletproof coffee for my eating window. In fact, that’s exactly what I actually do!
Black coffee, green tea, black tea (and other low-calorie, carb-free natural teas!), and also apple cider vinegar because that has virtually no carbs, either. Mix it with water, though — it’s acidic!
Not What You Expected?
Some of you may be a bit disheartened to know that a healthy acidic drink, and “boring” drinks, are your choices to drink while fasting, other than water…
But I’m hoping that there are many others who are pleasantly surprised to know that they can have their fasted morning cup of Joe!
(And, okay, maybe I’m secretly hoping to get some people on the black coffee train, or interested in herbal teas, because what’s not to love about that stuff?)