There are a few agreed-upon pleasures in life: Food is definitely one of them, coffee’s a close second, followed by photos of Chris Evans doing literally anything.
Intermittent fasting—while, yeah, can help with weight loss—takes away one of those pleasures for hours on end (if you’re doing the 16:8 diet, for example, you go 16 hours each day without food).
So here’s my question: You can look at all the Chris Evans photos you want in that 16-hour fasting time frame…but that won’t satiate you (no offense, Chris). So can you at least have coffee, or does the world continue to be a cruel and unusual place?
Can you have coffee while fasting?
Good news: You can have coffee in the morning—as long as your coffee doesn’t have calories, says Abbey Sharp, RD, dietitian and blogger at Abbey’s Kitchen. That means you need to drink it black. “You cannot add sugar or dairy because that would add calories, fat, sugar, and therefore stop the fast,” she says. (FYI: Liquid calories count during fasting, too).
If you can’t stomach black coffee (and tbh, not everyone can), no-calorie sweeteners like Stevia can help you out; they’re still allowed while fasting because they don’t impact insulin or blood-sugar levels, says Sharp.
So, coffee lovers can officially breathe a sigh of relief—but there is something you should keep in mind: Coffee on an empty stomach can irritate your gut and worsen symptoms of heartburn or irritable bowel syndrome, says Sharp. Even more: “Having coffee on an empty stomach may also amplify any feeling of jitteriness and anxiety, because it’s absorbed much faster,” she says. But that’s only a possibility, since coffee affects everyone differently.
And even if you’re not a coffee drinker, you don’t have to solely stick to water while intermittent fasting; any calorie-free drinks—like sparkling water, black tea, and even your fave LaCroix is totally fair game, says Sharp.
So it looks like you can resume your daily routine of checking Chris Evans’s social media accounts over a cup of coffee. Wait…is that just me?
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