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Coffee is drunk the world over and enjoyed by millions of Australians every single day. Many people swear by its rich nutrient health properties, other shun it as the work of the devil. I personally think its suits my lifestyle greatly, due to its health benefits including improved cognitive function but I accept that there is a point of diminishing returns whereby any health benefit is lost due to overconsumption. As with most things it’s important to get the dose right. 

With the popularity of fasting growing I’d thought I’d take the opportunity to unpack what it means to consume coffee during a fast. 

First of all, coffee is considered by many as a daily pleasure, so on many levels it’s important to maintain that ritual and pleasure so long as you don’t over consume - remembering that life is for living and enjoying. 

Lets look at 5 reasons that you might be doing the fast in the first place and then look at the impact that coffee will have on those reasons. 

Fasting will… 

1. Aid ketosis- Fasting is an uncomplicated way to enter or remain in ketosis. Simply because you have few calories coming in, the body will burn fat a primary fuel stimulating the production of ketones in your liver. Studies have shown that coffee acutely up-regulates ketosis. 

2. Improve fat-burning - we have established that fasting will elicit ketosis so it’s self-explanatory really that fasting promotes the fat burning and fat mobilisation as does coffee. 

3.Improve insulin sensitivity - over time fasting improves insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance. If worth noting that acutely fasting can reduce insulin sensitivity as the body responds to the reduced calories and carbs and redirects glucose to the brain through increasing insulin resistance in other parts of the body. Coffee has a similar affect in that acutely it will reduce insulin sensitivity but over time these variables are reversed and coffee has been shown to reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes 

4. Promoteautophagy - during fasting or ketosis your body will enter a particular energetic pathway called autophagy, whereby the cells cleanse. Cells will rid themselves of toxins, dead cells components and dysfunctional mitochondria - all these actions are very necessary for cellular health. Thankfully coffee has been seen to support autophagy and won’t break your fast for this reason. 

Lets have a quick look at the additions to coffee and whether any of them will break the fast when consumed. 

Long Black - this is my preferred sip and this low calorie coffee is likely to support the fast as seen in the points above 

Bulletproof Coffee - A coffee blended with MCT and grass-fed butter is technically breaking your fast since you’ll be consuming a number of calories in the one drink. That being said, fat has very little to no effect on insulin or blood glucose which are indicators of a broken fast, so although you are consuming calories it may benefit to includes these ingredients as you’ll more likely fast for a greater period of time. Also the amount of protein found in butter is not significant enough to inhibit autophagy. 

Coffee w Cream - Although the cream has some sugar (lactose) and protein it’s unlikely to be enough to knock you out your fast. 

Coffee w Nut Milk - adding a dash of nut milk to your coffee will unlikely knock you out of your fast so long as you’ve selected a nut milk which is free of added sweeteners. 

Coffee will help to support the fast by increasing satiety and helping to keep hunger at bay, but if in doubt just have a long black or an espresso. 

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Be healthy, be happy -
Scott Gooding

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