Are you curious about what intermittent fasting and its benefits are? If so, look no further. We’re here to delve into the topic and more importantly, if coffee can be consumed during a fast. 

What’s more important than caffeine, right? 

What is Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent Fasting (IF) is one of the most popular weight loss trends to date. Unlike a typical diet, intermittent fasting is about when you eat, instead of what you eat. This trend requires a set eating schedule and consistent fasting times to be truly effective. 

An eating pattern rather than a conventional diet, the belief is that periods of fasting are more normal than eating 3 square meals per day because ancient hunter-gatherers would go through regular periods of scarcity due to an inability to find food.

There are a variety of fasting schedules and plans that have been designed to accelerate weight loss through metabolic switching.

Essentially, when your body is fasting, it uses stored body fat for energy. Levels of Human Growth Hormone (HGH) increase up to 5 times their regular amount, which induces fat loss and muscle gain, and insulin levels drop to make stored fat more immediately accessible. 

Hormone changes may also cause your metabolic rate to increase, leading to more calories burned.

Your cells also begin repair processes like autophagy, in which your cells digest old, unusable cellular protein build-up.

Prior to beginning an intermittent fasting schedule, approval should be given by your primary care provider. They can answer any questions you may have regarding intermittent fasting and how it will affect your personal physical health and mental wellness. 

Schedules and Plans

As mentioned, intermittent fasting is a daily practice. It requires consistency and dedication to your chosen fasting schedule for results. 

It is also important to make sure that you don’t eat more during your eating periods than you typically would to compensate for your fasting periods. In order for IF to work, the faster one needs to create a caloric deficit.

The 16/8 Diet

One of the most popular fasting schedules is eating only during a six to eight hour period each day, or the 16/8 approach. The 16/8 approach means you would eat for 8 hours during the day and fast for the other 16. 

This means, if you were to begin eating after you woke up at 7:00 am, you would need to begin your fast, or stop eating, at 3:00 pm. Alternatively, you could stop eating after dinner at 7:00 pm and not begin eating again until lunch the next day at 11:00 am. Part of your 16 hour fast can include sleeping hours.

This schedule would be followed daily. As one of the easiest IF fasting schedules, the 6/18 diet is one of the most popular IF approaches.

The 5:2 Approach

One other popular fasting plan is the 5:2 approach. During the 5:2 approach, an individual would eat regularly five days a week and on two scheduled days they would eat only one 500-600 calorie meal. In this approach, the two fasting days are selected by the individual practicing intermittent fasting. 

Eat-Stop-Eat

While the 16/8 diet and 5:2 approach each involve periods of fasting every day, eat-stop-eat requires an individual to perform a full 24 hours of fasting once or twice a week. 

Is Intermittent Fasting Hard to Start?

Adjusting to intermittent fasting may be difficult for some at first. Hunger, nausea, lack of focus and even fatigue may be experienced at the beginning. 

Not to worry, these feelings should subside once an established routine is maintained. If they do not, consult with your primary care doctor. 

If you haven't had any type of eating schedule in the past, it’s important to be patient with yourself and your body. 

Instead of immediately jumping into an eat-stop-eat routine or a 16/8 diet, slowly ease yourself into fasting periods by skipping breakfast, or simply delaying breakfast until later in the day. 

After a few days of delaying breakfast, you can start skipping it altogether, or incorporating a “no snacking after dinner” rule. Over time, these incremental changes will add up to an entire 16/8 fast.

What Should I Eat While I’m Intermittent Fasting?

It’s important to note, during scheduled eating times, it is important that healthy, nutritious foods be consumed. Just because you’re fasting doesn’t mean that eating clean isn't necessary!  

As much as intermittent fasting is based around timing, your diet remains equally as important to lose weight. Intermittent fasting has been found to increase mindful consumption, meaning those who practice intermittent fasting are much more conscious about their eating habits. Meal planning is an effective way to stay on track during eating times. 

But just because you’re eating clean doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice taste. Whether you’re eating a green power smoothie or peanut butter protein s’mores, BioHealth Nutrition offers clean ingredients and nutrient-packed formulas without sacrificing texture or taste.

By following a consistent fasting plan and consuming nutritious foods during scheduled eating periods, you will begin to see the many health benefits of intermittent fasting. 

Is Intermittent Fasting Safe?

People can begin intermittent fasting for a variety of reasons. Some may begin to lose and manage weight and while others may be using intermittent fasting to address other health issues that could use a change in diet. 

Regardless of reasoning, anyone planning to begin IF should consult and receive approval from their primary care doctor. If you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, or have medical problems like, intermittent fasting may not be right for you.

If you begin intermittent fasting and experience unusual headaches, mental health disturbances such as anxiety or depression or have unusual changes in mood, consult with your primary healthcare provider to determine the best strategy or plan for your individual wellness. 

Intermittent fasting is not for everyone. Even if intermittent fasting is safe for you, it might not be the right diet for you. 

If you find that IF makes you feel good and supports your health journey, that’s wonderful! You’re joining a large community of fasters who have also found that IF enriches their life. If you find that intermittent fasting triggers disordered eating habits, makes you feel icky, or otherwise isn’t the best option for your nutritional needs, that’s OK too! There is no “one size fits all” approach to health.

Finally.... Can you drink coffee while fasting?

The moment you waited for… 

Can you consume coffee while intermittent fasting? The answer is…

YES! (well… almost.) 

If you need a caffeine fix while you’re intermittent fasting, it must be a cup of black coffee. A brewed cup of coffee is about 5 calories and contains no fat, therefore it can be consumed during periods of fasting. If creamer, sugar, milk, or flavor syrup is added to the black coffee, the fast has been broken. Thankfully, black coffee is an approved, safe beverage to consume during intermittent fasting. 

Conclusion

To recap, Intermittent fasting is a set eating scheduled to optimize metabolism and increase weight loss. If practiced correctly, Intermittent fasting can be a major lifestyle change that leads to weight loss and weight management. 

The two most popular approaches to intermittent fasting are the 16/8 approach and the 5:2 approach. An individual practicing the 16/8 approach will eat during one eight hour period of the day and fast for the remaining sixteen hours. The 5:2 approach requires the individual to eat regularly, but healthy for five days of the week, and ‘fast’ or eat 500-600 calories on chosen days out of the week. 

Intermittent fasting can be practiced by all different types of people. After a doctor's approval, intermittent fasting can be practiced safely and regularly. Oh, and we mentioned black coffee is intermittent fasting approved, right? 

Yes, you can consume a black coffee during the fasting period if desired. 

Unfortunately none of the fun add-ins such as creamer, sugar or flavoring are welcome due to caloric and fat content, but some caffeine is better than none! 

If you choose to wait until your fasting period is over for your daily caffeine boost, check out BioHealth Nutrition’s pasture-fed, special edition Precision ISO CAFÉ Protein Powder. It’s a coffee-infused whey protein isolate with real caffeine to help fuel your body, build lean muscle, and aid with muscle recovery. 

BioHealth offers all-natural health supplements perfect for any diet, whether you’re intermittent fasting, vegan, or trying keto. We provide supplements with clean ingredients, exceptional flavors, and remarkable results. 

 

Sources:

Intermittent Fasting: What is it, and how does it work? | Johns Hopkins Medicine

Health benefits of meal planning | Beaumont

10 Intermittent Fasting Benefits: Weight Loss, Cell Repair & More | Healthline

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