Coffee, caffeine and fasting
If you’re following me on social media, then you’ll know I’m a HUUGGE fan of coffee. But, what effects does it have whilst fasting, and is it beneficial to consume?
After years of fasting, I think it’s important to address a number of benefits which are associated with both coffee and caffeine. It’s also important to note here, that even though the title singles out coffee, most hot beverages which contain caffeine will share many of the benefits below.
Food is thermogenic which means it generates heat in the body, so it’s more than likely that you’ll feel a little colder during your fasting hours, especially during a longer one. In my opinion, this is probably one of the main reasons why hot beverages are so popular amongst fasters - it certainly is with me.
This is an interesting one, and for years seemed more anecdotal than anything, but a 2012 study confirms the science is there. In fact, it actually showed that decaffeinated coffee suppressed appetite the most compared to a placebo and caffeinated coffee, which is great for those of you who may be finding it harder during your adaptation phase or don’t have a high tolerance for caffeine.
I personally like to drink a decaf coffee first in the morning, since caffeine raises cortisol levels (the stress hormone), which is already naturally high during the first few hours of waking – therefore I try and ride with wave for as long as possible before consuming caffeine. I also enjoy a decaf coffee after lunch or early in the afternoon to help manage my evening hunger if I’m fasting.
We know that during a fasted state, fats are a preferred fuel source for the body, but what about in the presence of caffeine? Well, research shows that after ingesting a caffeinated coffee, free fatty acids are elevated indicating the presence of fat being used as fuel – so you can begin to see how this can aid in your fat-loss pursuit when combined.
What also caught my eye in this study is their reference to how the body reacted to sugar - “The administration of sucrose significantly reduced the immediate free fatty acids response” - and empathises the importance of breaking your fast properly (low-carb and -sugar), especially when it comes to fat-loss. As soon as sugar was consumed the body reduced its use of fats for fuel.
Decaf, caffeinated and hot beverages can all play a vital role in your fasting and health journey, especially when used correctly. As always, remember that a black coffee is best when it comes to maximising your fasting results, but a little milk or full fat cream won’t hurt here and there.
This is also a great time to point out that a coffee alone wont ‘burn fat’, especially since most people consume it with high amounts of sugar – both in their diets and drinks. A regular (16oz) Frappuccino for instance, contains 66g of sugar, over double the recommended daily intake in just one serving, which most tend to consume before breakfast.
If you’re interested in learning more about fasting or how to minimise your sugar intake, be sure to check out some more of blogs, eBooks and The Fasting Playbook.
I’d love to hear about how your fasting journey is going so please leave a comment below.
Speak soon, JC.
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JC and The Nutri-Team