Intermittent fasting can be a great way to live a healthier life. Studies have shown that fasting for several hours when you wake up in the morning, or for extending periods in moderation can be beneficial to your health. But it isn’t easy! You’ll inevitably get hungry and be tempted to break your fast. That’s where espresso comes in. But does espresso break a fast?
The short answer is no, espresso does not break a fast – if you drink pure espresso with nothing added to it. As soon as you add milk, cream, or sugar, you’re breaking your fast. These items all have calories in them, which by definition breaks your fast.
We actually recommend using espresso and coffee to help augment your fasting schedule. Why? Because espresso and coffee both have caffeine in them which is a natural appetite inhibitor. They’re also a very (if not zero) calorie drink when drank straight, which can give you something to sip on to take your mind off of being hungry.
In this article, we’ll go over exactly why espresso doesn’t break a fast, the best ways to consume espresso and coffee while fasting, and much more. We’ll also discuss the different types of fasting augmentation with espresso.
Let’s get started!
Why Does Espresso Not Break Your Fast?
As we mentioned above, espresso does not break your fast because it has very little to no calories. Espresso is made from hot water and coffee grounds. Sure, there may be a very small amount of calories in the ground sediment at the bottom of your shot, but it is so minimal it might as well be zero.
By definition then, you aren’t adding any calories to your system. So your fast continues.
Author Note: The issue happens when people add additional ingredients to their espresso, like turning it into a latte by adding milk or adding sugar. These items obviously have calories in them (and with sugar, a lot), which will then break your fast.
The same goes for other coffee-based drinks like iced coffee. If you drink it straight you won’t be ingesting any calories and you will continue to fast. If you add sugar and cream to it, then you will break your fast.
Is Espresso OK for Intermittent Fasting?
Yes! We would actually argue that not only is it OK, but it’s actually great. Why? Because it can help you stick to your fast longer and avoid breaking too soon. This is because espresso has caffeine in it which is a natural appetite inhibitor.
The caffeine will keep you feeling not hungry for longer, which will allow you to complete your target fasting period easier. Espresso works especially well trying to intermittent fast in the morning. We’ve found that having a shot of espresso to sip on when we wake up helps us fast until it’s time for lunch.
What Can I Add to my Espresso That Won’t Break My Fast?
If you can’t stand drinking espresso straight, then we have a few items you can add that might help. These ingredients either have no calories are so little that you won’t really be breaking your fast.
The most obvious answer is to add an artificial sweetener like Stevia, Aspartame, or Xylitol. You can find plenty of artificial sweeteners at your local grocery store. Just add as much as tastes right to you, and you’re good to go.
There is some controversy as to how healthy artificial sweeteners are, but in small amounts, they have been shown to be fine.
Another obvious one, but if you don’t like how strong your espresso is you can easily water it down with warm water or tonic water. Simply heat some water up in the microwave while you’re making your espresso shot.
Or plan on having an iced sparkling espresso by adding ice and seltzer water. We like using both plain seltzer water and mint or lime flavored seltzer water if you want to mix it up. Just be sure to not stir the drink too much or you’ll lose the fizzy bubbles.
Salt is a controversial ingredient to add to your espresso or coffee. But we think that a small amount can really change the flavor in a good way. Adding salt neutralizes the bitterness component of the coffee flavor profile which many people don’t like.
We recommend trying it next time you pull a shot of espresso to see if you like it.
If you don’t like any of the above options, you can always add a low-calorie creamer as a last resort. Will this break your fast? Technically yes. But depending on how low calorie of a creamer you choose, it might not be by much.
Top Tip: This is where it becomes subjective. If your goal is to lose some weight and break bad habits in the morning, then adding a small amount of low-calorie creamer is probably not going to hurt your goals that much (if at all).
On the other hand, if you are intensely dieting or feeling more hardcore about your fasting then you should probably stick to the above options. Adding creamer will add calories, which is against the rules of fasting!
If you’re also worried you might slip and start adding more caloric items to your coffee or espresso, then stick to adding nothing.
How Often Can I Drink Espresso or Coffee While Fasting?
This depends on your body weight and how long you are fasting. If you are fasting for multiple hours a day, we recommend not drinking more than a few shots of espresso. But it also depends on how strong you make your espresso, and your body weight.
A shot of espresso is going to have a much larger effect on someone who weighs 120 lbs versus a 300 lb football player. We recommend paying attention to your body. What do we mean by that? If you start to feel light-headed or jittery, stop drinking espresso!
Use common sense and you should be fine. However, don’t take what you read on this site as medical advice – always consult a professional first!
When to Drink Espresso While Fasting
The two most common times to intermittent fast are from when you wake up to lunch, and from lunch to the next morning. Let’s discuss how you can use espresso to help you stick to these fasting goals.
From When You Wake Up to Lunch
This is the most common time period to intermittent fast, probably because it is relatively easy to hold off on eating when you wake up in the morning. This is because your metabolism is low and you often go to sit at a desk for most of the morning (and don’t burn calories).
Lucky for you, it’s also a great time to use espresso to help you fast. We like to make a shot espresso to enjoy right when we wake up then one or two more mid-morning. Strategically pacing your espresso consumption will ensure you don’t over caffeinate yourself as well as keep your appetite at bay.
That being said, the most difficult time will be from 11 am to noon – this is when you’ll feel the most hungry. So we like to save the last shot for around 10:30 or 10:45. This will ensure you have coverage until it’s time to eat at noon.
It’s also worth noting that depending on when you wake up you might want to eat lunch earlier than noon. Some of our friends who intermittent fast in the morning wake up at 5 am to start their day. These friends usually don’t wait to eat lunch at noon; they often eat lunch at 11 am or earlier.
It all depends on your schedule!
From Lunch to the Next Morning
This time period for fasting is definitely more difficult than the morning fast. But for those fasters who are looking for solid results, it can work really well. We recommend enjoying your espresso mid-afternoon to around 5 pm for this strategy.
This will help you either skip dinner or eat a very small meal before going to bed. Enjoying espresso in the afternoon can also be beneficial to your work schedule. Some people feel much more lethargic in the afternoon, and having an espresso helps them stay productive until they are done with their work.
Night Shift Espresso
We’ve also recently been getting questions about drinking espresso during a night shift or fasting during a night shift. What do we mean by night shift? Night shifts are when your working hours are primarily at night.
Because this often shifts your entire schedule to be during the night, we don’t see a problem with drinking espresso during this time period. You’re most likely switching your sleeping pattern to be during the day, so having espresso at night is fine.
Author Note: Just be aware of how much sleep you are getting and adjust as necessary. You should not be using espresso to keep yourself awake for long periods of time.
We’ve had many people ask does espresso break fast – because fasting is hard! As you may have just learned, if you drink straight espresso it does not break a fast. The trick is keeping yourself from adding anything caloric to the espresso or sneaking a snack in afterward.
We hope you found this article useful and informative. Do you have your own tips on using espresso to help with fasting? Great! Feel free to share them with us in the comments below.
Stay caffeinated friends!