Intermittent Fasting & Coffee

Intermittent Fasting & Coffee

Intermittent Fasting (IF) has become one of the most popular diet trends in the world.

While forms of the diet strategy have been commonplace among bodybuilders and fitness pros for decades (remember your fasted cardio phase?)  – it seems that everyone today is utilising IF to shred weight and stay lean.

But this isn’t just another newly minted fad.

The emergence of intermittent fasting in both fitness programs (with protocol like Lean Gains) and in academic research has provided strong backing that IF is an effective strategy to getting and staying lean, as well a whole host of longevity and health benefits.

While there’s many forms of intermittent fasting (this complete guide on intermittent fasting is a helpful place to start), the most commonly used is the 16:8 protocol – where you only eat within an 8 hour window, fasting 16 hours from dinner into midday the following day. This protocol was most recently popularized by actor Hugh Jackman getting absolutely for his role as Wolverine.

Jackman attributed 16:8 intermittent fasting to getting complete cut up while also building muscle – a strategy he said the The Rock gave him.

“I feel so much better on it,” he says. The diet, which allows for an eight-hour window in which to eat followed by a 16-hour, fat-burning fast, is especially useful for the actor, who’s constantly having to bulk and cut for roles. “I haven’t put on nearly the amount of fat I normally would,” he says. “And the great thing about this diet is, I sleep so much better.”

hugh jackman deadlift

Chances are – the recommendation of the Rock and Wolverine sold you on giving it a go.

And while you might be confident on skipping breakfast and not eating in morning, you’re probably a lot less confident giving up your morning coffee.

So the real question – can I drink coffee while intermittent fasting?!

The short answer is – yes.  In fact, at Cannonball, we’d say hell yes.

But there’s a catch.

The positive news is that with a cup black coffee containing around 5 calories, it’s not enough to break your body’s fasting mechanisms. In fact, research has showed that coffee can actually act synergistically to IF goals such as:

Caffeine can upregulate ketosis

Caffeine increases fat mobilization and burning

Coffee reduces insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance

Coffee (in rodents) supports cellular autophagy

Your strong cup of morning coffee certainly won’t hinder your fast – it may actually support it (not to mention let you kick ass through the morning).

So… what’s the catch?

While your cup of black coffee won’t break your fast – adding cream, sugar, or anything else likely will.

There’s some room for argument here depending on your fasting goals, but the primary point is that the any consumption of substantial calories will break your fast.

Even milk or cream?!

While some people need to add some milk or cream to their coffee – even an ounce of cream has roughly 1 gram of carbohydrate and protein. While this may not seem like much, any carb or protein will turn off the mechanisms associated with fasting.

There is a potential loophole here – adding fat.

Adding coconut oil, butter, or any other pure fat to coffee has become popular alongside side intermittent fasting recently – and while at 100+ calories, it certainly breaks your fast – it also has no effect on insulin, blood glucose, or other indicators of a breaking fast.

While this might be a “hack” to allow you to more easily complete longer fasts – for the sake of getting leaning and Wolverine level shredded, it’s recommended just sticking to strong black coffee!


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