Can Coffee and Intermittent Fasting Work Together?

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Last updated on September 5, 2022

Intermittent fasting (IF) seems to be all the rage nowadays. You have probably heard and read about celebrities singing the benefits of intermittent fasting as a way of melting the pounds away as well as provide a longer lifespan.

Does coffee disrupt intermittent fasting?

Research published in the Oxford Academic studied the impact of coffee while fasting on triglycerides and found they were not altered and therefore not impacting the fat loss benefits when fasting.


As a general rule, drinking coffee in moderation will not disrupt an intermittent fat. A cup of black coffee is best as it does not have additional ingredients, is less that 4 calories and does not have carbohydrates or protein.  

Does coffee count as water intake ?

A study published in the US National Library of Medicine found that coffee, when consumed in moderation, would count towards your daily water intake and does not result in dehydration.


As a general rule, coffee does count towards your daily water intake when consumed in moderations as research has confirmed it does not cause dehydration. 

Does coffee with milk break intermittent fasting ?

Drinking coffee in moderation with a small amount of milk does not impact the weight loss benefits of intermittent fasting as it constitutes as a very low calorie drink.


As a general rule, drinking coffee in moderation with a teaspoon of milk will not break your intermittent fast as it is a very low calorie drink.  

What breaks an intermittent fast ?

Fasting involves abstaining from eating or drinking calories for a period of time and when this follows a defined timetable this is intermittent fasting.


As a general rule, eating or drinking anything that has calories will break your intermittent fat. The exception to this rule is zero or very low calorie drinks like water and a cup of black coffee.   

Does intermittent fasting work ?

Research published by the University of Illinois Chicago confirmed that intermittent fasting does help with significant weight loss and improvements in cholesterol levels, blood pressure and inflammation. It also made reference to studies which confirmed that participants lost up-to 8 percent of their body weight over an 8 week period.

Intermittent fasting works by restricting food consumption for prolonged periods resulting in our bodies to burn fat as energy when carbohydrates are not available. Research has confirmed significant weight loss can be achieved.  


11 health benefits of intermittent fasting

According to science, the benefits of intermittent fasting include:

  1. Enhances brain health, cerebral function as well as improving memory
  2. Helps prevent the risk of serious medical conditions such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes
  3. Lowers the levels of bad cholesterol
  4. Helps prevent the risk of neurodegenerative conditions such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
  5. Helps prevent the risk of type 2 diabetes by lowering the chances of acquiring insulin resistance
  6. Enhances Autophagy (the self-eating process of the body to “eat” defective tissues to make way for new tissues) and cellular repair
  7. Weight loss
  8. Strengthens cells of the body
  9. Anti-aging by strengthening the mitochondria
  10. Energy enhancer
  11. Contributes toward a longer lifespan

How to start an intermittent fasting program

Intermittent fasting takes on varied forms with the eight-hour window as the most common one. Going with the 16:8 IF means that you are allowed to eat for 8 hours followed by a 16-hour period of fasting per day.

Using this IF method gives your body a rest from digesting food continually, but allows you to eat as well. The goal behind the 16:8 intermittent fasting methods is to provide the body a time to repair and clean its various systems. Optimum health is seen to be the end result of this method.

Intermittent Fasting Methods

The best intermittent fasting method is the one that best works for you. So, having read through them you may wish to try a few of them out in order to determine which one works the best for your lifestyle. Give each one at least a month’s test drive.

24 Hour Fasts (eat-stop-eat) 

The 24-hour fast, more commonly known as eat-stop-eat, involves fasting for a full 24-hour period twice per week. On the remaining five days you eat responsibly, but you do not count calories or restrict the number of meals that you eat.

On this version of intermittent fasting you do eat something every day. For instance, if you were to fast from 8am one day until 8am the next day, then you would eat before 8am on the first day.

16/8 (Lean gains)

16/8 Lean gains is one of the most popular variations of intermittent fasting. It involves dividing each 24-hour period into a 16 hour fasting window and 8-hour eating windows. This process allows your body the time it needs to process the nutrients you digest during your feeding window. At the same time, it promotes fat burn for energy.

On the 16/8 Lean gains diet, you have the freedom to select the timing of your eating windows. A large portion of that time will be during the hours that you are sleeping, with many people beginning it after their evening meal at around 7pm. This would take them through until 11am the following day.


The 20/4 Intermittent Fasting protocol is essentially an extension of 16/8 that pushes the fasting window out to 20 hours, leaving you with just four-hour eating windows. Many people who follow 20/4 follow a ketogenic diet during their four-hour feeding window. Users have freedom to time their feeding and fasting window to suit their lifestyle.

There is considerable research to show that an extended fasting period will maximize the production of human growth hormone while also encouraging greater fat burn.

Warrior Diet

The Warrior Diet is a modified form of fasting where you do not completely abstain from food throughout the day. You eat a small amount of food for the bulk of the day and then, in the evening, you are able to eat an unrestricted number of calories.

The Warrior Diet claims to be based on our naturl cyclical eating pattern of eating sparingly throughout the day and then eating a lot at night. The two divisions of the nervous system that are directly affected by fasting are the sympathetic and the parasympathetic nervous systems. The sympathetic system controls the body’s fight or flight response to stress. The parasympathetic system regulates the rest and digestive functions of the body.

The Warrior Diet works from the premise that we should be completely within the sympathetic system during the day and in the parasympathetic system at night. Fasting during the day helps to achieve this.

During the undereating phase, which takes up most the day, when you are active, very little energy is devoted to the digestive process, allowing more energy to be devoted to detoxifying, cleansing, burning body fat and regulating hormone levels. While in the undereating phase, the only things you eat are raw, fresh produce and a little protein.

When you pass into the overeating phase, you purposefully eat more than you normally would. But you only do this with your main evening meal. Be sure to get a full complement of proteins, fats and carbs and eat until you are completely satiated. You should, of course, be eating healthy foods.

When you overeat after breaking your fast, the body uses those excess calories far more effectively. Studies have shown that the fasted body will:

  • Burn fat cells
  • Assimilate nutrients
  • Build lean muscle mass
  • Secrete growth hormone

faster when you overeat post fasting. Therefore, these are the benefits of fasting and breaking your fast cycle.

Can the Ketogenic diet make it easier to stick to IF?

It will be a tough and hard journey for any person who decides to go with IF as a way to lose weight and become healthy at the same time. Nothing can make a person feel grumpier than feeling hungry. Relationships and even work performance can be affected by hunger.

This is where the Ketogenic diet comes in. Going with the high-fat, medium-protein, and low-carb principle behind the Ketogenic diet ensures that your body will go into a state of ketosis. Achieving and maintaining ketosis means that your metabolism will be jacked up to an all-time high. This is because the body’s stored fat is burned efficiently when there’s an absence of carbs. The good news with going Keto is that you’ll never have to skip meals or fast for long periods. For those looking to learn more about Keto go to our article Keto Diet vs. Atkins: What Actually Is the Difference?

Can Intermittent Fasting and Coffee work together for your health goals?

IF or intermittent fasting is a modified form of eating program that is meant to imitate fasting as a way of earning its numerous health benefits. It’s not only the waistline that benefits from intermittent fasting. Other benefits such as it reduces inflammation and stabilizing blood sugar levels have proven true.

It is a common fact that coffee drinks are America’s favorite energy booster at the start and at any time of the day, every day. Regular coffee drinkers have been known to become more amiable and social only after the first cup. The question now is whether intermittent fasting and coffee or tea can work well together. Is it OK for a person on an intermittent fasting and coffee program to continue their java habit?

Your choice of regular tea or coffee drinks and your reason for doing intermittent fasting both impact upon allowing coffee to be included. Are you with intermittent fasting because you want to benefit from its potential anti-aging benefits? Or is it more for weight loss purposes? Alternatively, is it because you want to live as long as possible?

Coffee effects on weight loss goals

Weight loss goals will not be met when the bulletproof coffee of the Keto diet program is the choice to be included in the IF diet program. For one, the MCT / coconut oil and grass-fed butter content of the Keto bulletproof coffee drinks will make it harder for a person to achieve weight loss.

On the other hand, plain black coffee while doing intermittent fasting for weight loss is fine. The zero calories of plain black coffee plus its appetite suppressing effects is a better way to quickly meet weight loss goals.

However, when anti-aging is the sole purpose of the IF diet, then coffee is, unfortunately, out of the list. The reason is that Autophagy is interrupted in the presence of plain black coffee or any other form of tea or coffee drinks. Autophagy is the most important process gained from IT and any disruption will do more harm than good. The body will no longer be able to do its self-cleaning processes when coffee is consumed during the diet.


The final word is this: going with IF is always a great choice regardless of the goals you have in mind. If you think you can’t stick with IF because of the coffee issue, then go ahead and drink tea or coffee drinks. Remember, the zero calories in black coffee makes it a good choice compared to other which contain caloriesThe thing is any kind of fasting is a better option than no fasting at all. It may probably work to your benefit even with an occasional cup of coffee during the day.

The jury is out on the issue of whether drinking coffee should or should not be allowed in the intermittent fasting diet. Some doctors state that drinking coffee might hinder the Autophagy process. Some say to go ahead. However, despite these conflicting views, one thing they share in common is this: any form of fasting is beneficial to the health of any practitioner.

Steve Theunissen has qualified from the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) and is a certified Personal Trainer and Nutritionist. He has over 30 years experience in fitness and nutrition and currently working with famous fitness professionals. He is currently living in New Zealand with is wife and daughter.

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