Are you wondering what sorts of drinks break your fast? I’ll break it all down HERE for you!
I’ve been doing intermittent fasting for two years now and absolutely love it! It’s so convenient to get up in the morning and not have to worry about making breakfast. I can go about my entire morning without having to make anything to eat.
But I was wondering lately if drinking coffee with whipping cream or having some branch chain amino acids or even consuming the infamous Bulletproof Coffee would actually break my fast?
What Is Bulletproof Coffee?
First, let me clarify what I mean by bulletproof coffee.
There is the actual brand, Bulletproof, which makes a line of products with that name. One of those products is their coffee beans. Bulletproof coffee beans are processed a certain way:
“Every batch of beans goes through independent lab testing for 27 different toxins (including mold toxins that can easily survive coffee-roasting temperatures) to guarantee each cup leaves you clear-headed, energized, and focused.”
But for the sake of this article, when I mention bulletproof coffee, I’m actually referring to the recipe!
Okay, so what is bulletproof coffee:
- It all starts with the beans. Brew 1 cup (8-12 ounces) of coffee using filtered water with 2 ½ heaping tablespoons of freshly ground Bulletproof Coffee Beans. Use a French Press for ease of use and to preserve beneficial coffee oils that paper filters keep out.
- Add 1 teaspoon to 2 tablespoons of Brain Octane Oil. Start with 1 teaspoon per cup and work your way up to 1-2 tablespoons over several days.
- Add 1-2 tablespoons of grass-fed, unsalted butter or grass-fed ghee. You read that right. It says butter. Don’t worry. This mixture also makes the creamiest, most delicious cup of coffee you’ve ever had. Oh, and make sure your butter is unsalted. Salty coffee is gross.
- Mix it all in a blender for 20-30 seconds until it looks like a foamy latte.
Bulletproof coffee started when the founder of Bulletproof, Dave Asprey, was taking a trek up a mountain in Tibet, and the locals gave him some yak butter tea. Apparently, it have him a lot of energy and that’s how the “Bulletproof Coffee” concept was born.
Will Bulletproof Coffee Break My Fast?
One of the most common questions I get in my Drop a Dress Size groups is:
“Will drinking XYZ break my fast?”
XYZ can stand for coffee, tea, coffee with cream, tea with cream, bulletproof coffee, rocket fuel latte, branch chain amino acids (BCAA’s,) etc.
There are a lot of opinions about whether or not having any calories during fasting will actually “break” your fast. And I have to admit, I’ve tried both (not having anything vs drinking some calories.)
Let’s start with why some experts say that having a drink like a bulletproof coffee or a rocket fuel latte won’t break your fast…
The reason some people say it doesn’t “break” your fast is because you are consuming fat, and consuming fat doesn’t raise insulin and therefore keeps you in fat burning mode.
- Fat won’t mess with your blood sugar levels like sugar or carbohydrates. It’s actually too many carbohydrates that lead to unbalanced blood sugar and fluctuating hormones, which ultimately leads to fat storage.
- Fat slows the absorption of carbohydrates, which keeps blood sugar levels under control. Balanced blood sugar is the key to lowering stress hormones and inflammation.
- Fat makes you feel fuller longer. Try upping the healthy fats in your diet. You’ll actually eat less.
- Quality fats often contain fat-soluble vitamins like vitamins A, D, E, and K. Eating fat alongside other nutrient-dense foods will increase the fat-soluble nutrients you absorb from them, too.
Now, let’s look at the other side; why having a drink like bulletproof coffee does break your fast…
If you break down the amount of calories in a typical cup of bulletproof coffee, it would look something like this:
1-2 cups coffee: 0 calories
1-2 Tbsp butter: 100 – 200 calories
1-2 Tbsp MCT oil: 125 – 250 calories
One serving of bulletproof coffee can have up to 450 calories!
If you’re fasting for a few hours in the morning and consuming one or more of these coffee’s, then you could be consuming over 900 calories. While it’s true that consuming this coffee does keep insulin down, I think it’s important to keep in mind the number of calories being consumed. Add that to the rest of your meals during your eating window and you could be eating a lot.
Let me be clear, I personally feel that calories don’t really matter. If you’re eating when you’re hungry and stopping when you’re full, then calories in vs. calories out don’t matter! You can read more about that HERE.
But for those people trying to lose weight and see better results, I feel that things like bulletproof coffee could be holding them back.
My advice would be to try it out! If you find that fasting is really difficult, try having a cup of bulletproof coffee and see how it affects you. If you find it’s not holding you back from reaching your goals, then great, keep it going. But if you feel that you aren’t seeing the results you like, maybe try cutting it out and see how that goes.
I want to also add that coffee on an empty stomach can affect some people in a negative way, especially if you have any sort of adrenal fatigue or thyroid issues. Coffee can raise cortisol levels, so if you’re dealing with any sort of hormone imbalance, I don’t recommend having coffee before you break your fast. But again, YOU know what’s best for you 🙂
Will Drinking BCAA’s Break My Fast?
Another popular drink to have while fasting is branch chain amino acids (BCAA’s.) I myself used to drink these all the time during my fast. They usually contain very little calories (just make sure to read the label) so most people think they don’t break your fast.
But, let me tell you why I think they may indeed break your fast.
They’re extremely insulinogenic. The production of insulin shuts down the production of growth hormone, so dosing with BCAAs may negate some of the benefits of fasting.
Of course, this is up for debate, but my opinion is, if you’re focused on insulin management, I would not consume BCAA’s until after your workout (assuming you’re going to eat 30 minutes after your workout.) But, if you’re not concerned about your insulin response, then go for it! They may help you stay satiated until it’s time to break your fast.
When I fast, I like to have NOTHING except water or plain herbal tea. I feel that I get the full benefits of fasting when I don’t consume any calories. Some of these benefits include:
- Autophagy: Your cells create membranes that hunt out scraps of dead, diseased, or worn-out cells; gobble them up; strip ’em for parts; and use the resulting molecules for energy or to make new cell parts.
- Improved immunity
- More growth hormone being produced
- Reduced insulin resistance
- Reduced inflammation
My eating window is from 10:30 am – 6:30 pm.
I workout around 10 am each morning and have my Energize during my workout (which is about 40 calories.) This helps give me the boost of energy I need to power through my intense workouts. Right after my workout, I have my Recover in order to give my muscles the quick burning carbs and BCAA’s they need to recover. Then shortly after that, I’ll have my first meal of the day which consists of protein and healthy fats.
To conclude, I think it’s important to figure out what works for you. If consuming something like bulletproof coffee works, then great..enjoy! But if you feel that having anything before you break your fast may be holding you back from experiencing the benefits of pure fasting, then try having water or plain herbal tea.