Intermittent Fasting is a great tool to help achieve a weight loss or gut health goal. And best part... coffee can be part of the Intermittent Fast and still see results!
But what about coffee with sugar during the fast?
Let's dive into it.
Key Point: Sugar from sources such as cane sugar, sugar in the raw, honey, maple syrup and other caloric sugars will break an Intermittent Fast. However SOME zero calorie sweeteners can be used in small amounts.
Can You Drink Coffee With Sugar During Intermittent Fasting?
Whether or not something breaks a fast depends on your goal with Intermittent Fasting. The two main goals with Intermittent Fasting can be boiled down to gut health or weight loss (or both).
From a gut health perspective, anything other than water and electrolytes has the potential to break a fast. This is because Intermittent Fasting helps to turn on the gut cleaning process called the Migrating Motor Complex. This system flushes out left behind food and bacteria that can cause bloating or gut issues. Anything that requires digestion will turn off this benefit of Intermittent Fasting.
Because coffee with sugar contains energy that needs to be broken down by the gut, this would break this type of fast. Even black coffee has the potential to break a fast that's focused on gut health. (You can read about that with my blog post HERE.)
From a fat burning/weight loss perspective, it's important to remove anything that could spike the storing hormone insulin during the fast. One of the main perks of Intermittent Fasting is that it helps to naturally lower insulin (the storing hormone). When this is low, it turns on fat burning (lipolysis). This can help reduce hunger while burning internal fat as fuel.
This also means you have a bit of flexibility with what you can have during your fast without it ruining your results, including what you can put in your coffee.
In fact, you can checkout the video below with the top 10 things you can add to coffee while fasting and still see results.
In our Complete Intermittent Fasting Bundle, we follow the "One Gram Rule" with what can be used during the fast. Essentially it means that you can consume small amount of pure fat foods (such as heavy cream or half and half in your coffee).
This is because fat does not spike the storing hormone insulin and therefore will help keep the body in a fat burning state.
However, both carbs and protein do spike insulin and therefore can't be used during the fast. And it turns out that sugar is a type of carb.
Psssst... curious how long YOUR Intermittent Fast should be? Take my FREE Intermittent Fasting Schedule Quiz by clicking the button below!
Taking a look at sugar in coffee specifically, any amount of sugar from real sugar sources will break a fast because it raises the storing hormone insulin.
Sugar from sources such as cane sugar, sugar in the raw, honey, maple syrup and other caloric sugars will break an Intermittent Fast.
But that leaves us with the other types of sugars - natural and artificial zero sugar sweeteners.
Do Artificial Sweeteners Break a Fast?
Technically speaking, aspartame is not a source of real sugar and therefore could potentially not break a fast.
Although aspartame is NOT a significant source of sugar/carbohydrates and therefore does NOT stimulate the release of inulin, it CAN have a negative effect on blood glucose levels and weight loss goals. In fact, scientists have found that these artificial sweeteners actually increase hunger and can lead to increased food intake.(1)
This is likely due to the fact that when we taste something sweet, the brain and body expects the carbohydrates to follow. When they don't - the brain may boost hunger in order to seek out the carbohydrates it was expecting. Other studies have even found that artificial sweeteners can lead to glucose intolerance and insulin resistance (2)... which is the exact OPPOSITE of what you're looking to achieve with Intermittent Fasting.
Do Natural Zero Sugar Sweeteners Break a Fast?
Natural sweeteners like stevia and monk fruit do not contain carbohydrates and therefore can be added in small amounts during the fast. When choosing a monk fruit or stevia to add into your coffee, make sure to look at the ingredients. Avoid any products that contain other forms of caloric sugar like cane sugar and maltodextrin. Ideally you want to use monk fruit or stevia in its pure form or paired with a little bit of sugar alcohols.
However, it's important to note that not everyone can use these sweeteners during the fast.
There has been some research that monk fruit (and other non-nutritive sweeteners, such as stevia) can cause an insulin response in some individuals while in others it doesn't. Because this varies from person-to-person, it's important to test it out on yourself and see how your body responds. I personally prefer to err on the side of safety and not include monk fruit in my drinks while fasting to ensure it does not break a fast.
Unlock the Intermittent Fasting tips, meal plans and recipes that have helped thousands of men and women around the world with the Complete Intermittent Fasting Bundle!
100+ recipes, 8 weeks of meal planning, science-backed Intermittent Fasting tips and so much more!
Head over HERE to get started!
Autumn Elle Nutrition