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Is Coffee OK During Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting (IF) is a modified eating approach that seeks to replicate the benefits of fasting but with a more moderate and achievable protocol.  IF benefits more than just your waistline; it also helps to stabilize blood sugar levels, reduce inflammation and keep your heart healthy.

So is coffee OK during intermittent fasting? The answer is, that it depends.

It actually depends on why the person is doing intermittent fasting. What are their goals? Are they doing it for weight loss or more for longevity and anti-aging purposes?

One basic question is what do they mean by coffee – just black coffee or bulletproof coffee, which often has butter, coconut oil and/or MCT oil. I think that bulletproof coffee is probably NOT a good idea for either goal, because of the high calorie count.

If someone is primarily doing it for weight loss, then plain black coffee, which has 0 calories, is fine. In fact, the appetite suppressing effects of coffee are probably beneficial.

If someone is doing IF more for anti-aging purposes then coffee is probably not a good idea. The reason is that even black coffee disrupts the process of autophagy which is the main way that intermittent fasting promotes longevity.

Autophagy is the self cleaning process by which the body’s cells break down and recycle damaged proteins and components. This is activated by intermittent fasting, but anything other than water (even black coffee) disrupts it to some extent. Autophagy is a very important process that was elucidated recently in research that was awarded the Nobel Prize in medicine.

The final caveat is that some fasting is better than none. So if having a regular or even bulletproof coffee is the only way that you can stick with the practice of intermittent fasting, then it’s probably worth it. What’s been your experience with coffee and intermittent fasting? Please share in comments below.

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18 Comments

  1. Shea April 18, 2018 at 10:41 am - Reply

    I am practicing fasting for weight loss and anti-aging. I am hoping the autophagy helps with loose skin. I switched from BPC, to black coffee with Erythritol. I noticed my blood sugar spiking after consumption, so I switched the black coffee. This was huge for me. Unfortunately my blood sugar is STILL spiking 20-30pts after drinking black coffee. I am not diabetic, but I am insulin resistant.

  2. Holly May 11, 2018 at 1:58 pm - Reply

    I too have spikes with coffee. I do fatty tea in the am. I have experienced a calmer demeanor and less hot flashes. After eliminating coffee and switching to tea I did an experiment and added it back several days later, I felt horrible. It kind of clouded my head and gave me a stomach ache. Go Figure!

  3. Sandra Ruiz Prudencio June 8, 2018 at 5:54 am - Reply

    I have a question: Even green tea or Rooibos would disrupt it? I´ve been practising IF (16/8) for 2 years but I stick really good with black coffee.

    • oskyadmin June 14, 2018 at 9:54 am - Reply

      If the coffee helps you practice IF then stick with it!

  4. Daniel Barras July 18, 2018 at 11:26 am - Reply

    Studies show exactly the opposite effect from coffee. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4111762/

    • oskyadmin July 22, 2018 at 6:10 pm - Reply

      interesting study with animals – hope we get more human data soon – thank you for sharing!

      • Franck February 20, 2019 at 2:53 am - Reply

        Hello oskyadmin. We agree that studies with mice do not prove results (caffeine inducing autophagy) will be the same with humans. Yet it’s a good start to believe it will, when we see how efficient it is with mice on many organs (liver, heart, muscle..). But in your article you affirm the opposite as a fact : “even black coffee disrupts the process of autophagy”. Can you please name your sources ??? Thank you.

    • Shawn Kelly July 27, 2018 at 5:04 pm - Reply

      Thank you for posting the study link . Seems the whole coffee stopping autotphagy may just be so oft repeated that people are mistaking it for a fact.

    • jmr January 26, 2019 at 10:41 am - Reply

      This study is not showing the opposite effect, because the study does not look at the effect of coffee while fasting. They are not looking at the same scenario. Perhaps other studies have been made on this scenario, but I’ve not found one yet.

    • jmr January 26, 2019 at 10:44 am - Reply

      Daniel, this study does not show the opposite effect, because it is not looking at coffee consumption while also fasting. Fasting is not addressed at all in that study, and coffee consumption while intermittent fasting is what this article is addressing.

  5. Vineeth Sastry August 8, 2018 at 3:28 am - Reply

    Sir, the question I cannot find an answer to is can I add sugar to my coffee and if so how much? Thank you

    • brian November 25, 2018 at 9:26 am - Reply

      no to sugar , only very small amount of milk or cream is acceptable. however i’ve watched this interesting youtube video
      https://youtu.be/m6KClPkotxM?t=441

    • Mike S January 10, 2019 at 6:58 am - Reply

      I’m no expert but adding sugar likely detracts from IF and would be considered breaking the fast window.

    • Rhonda March 25, 2019 at 11:00 am - Reply

      Do not add sugar if you are fasting.

  6. Amit January 15, 2019 at 11:36 pm - Reply

    > even black coffee disrupts the process of autophagy

    Sir, do you have any references to research studies about this?

  7. TAFANI FRANCK February 20, 2019 at 3:01 am - Reply

    Hello Sir, we agree that studies on animals do not prove the same results on humans. This being said, when we see how efficient it is on mice (caffeine inducing autophagy very quickly on liver, heart, muscle..) we can be confident for humans that at least it will not have negative effects. But you affirm the opposite : “even black coffee disrupts the process of autophagy”. Can you please name your sources ?? Thank you.

  8. Michael March 3, 2019 at 3:37 pm - Reply

    None of the comments on coffee stopping autophagy are in anyway supported by peer reviewed research. There is no evidence whatsoever to support the theory that black coffee has any negative effect on water fasting. If anything the opposite is true.

  9. Rhonda March 25, 2019 at 11:00 am - Reply

    You say coffee stops autophagy: where is the research to prove that? Everything I’ve read says the exact opposite. Here is one such research/study:

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4111762/

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