Intermittent Fasting: Cream in Your Coffee?

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A quick post since I get a lot of questions about adding cream in coffee during a fast.

A “fasted state” is merely a definition of a specific metabolic state — no food whatsoever in the gut. This, for fasting purists, is the only metabolic state to be in when fasting.

While it’s true that this defines a “true fast,” I don’t agree with its practicality. The metabolism is a multi-state, dynamic machine. It responds and adjusts to internal and external influences, including the amount of consumed food. Not everything is black and white.

While it’s true that, in a true fasting state, the metabolism draws a significant amount of its energy from stored fat, any small amount of calories coming in (cream in your coffee, for example) would nudge the body away from metabolizing fat only partially and temporarily, until those calories are used up.

Of course, a large amount of food would elicit enough insulin that fat metabolism would diminish, since insulin discourages lipolysis. But here we are talking about cream in our coffee, which is not only low in calories but it is mostly fat and therefore does not stimulate the release of insulin.

Keeping this metabolic process in simple mathematical terms, if you drink 50 calories of fat in your coffee, it probably means you’re diverting only a certain percentage away from fasting metabolism. In relationship to the calories from cream you just took in (50 calories), you might have slowed fat metabolism by about, say, half. Or 25 calories.

That’s hardly anything at all, and it’s what I call a “blip” in fasting metabolism. I have never let this stop me from enjoying a couple cups of coffee and full cream during my day.

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10 Responses to Intermittent Fasting: Cream in Your Coffee?

  1. Earth Beauty says:

    I’ve had a hankering for cream in a double espresso for a week now.

  2. KevinT says:

    I’m kinda curious why so many people have a big concern for cream in their coffee and why they gotta drink it throughout the day while fasting. I’m not a coffee drinker, so I guess I probably don’t get it.

    On a slight side note, just to poke a little fun … when I grew up, my dad always called coffee with cream and/or sugar “Sissy Coffee”. So every time I read about this coffee & cream concern, it makes me laugh a little bit. 🙂

    • Johnny says:


      I hear you on the coffee and cream. For me coffee just tastes good with cream! It’s like fudge tastes better with ice cream. But, for what it’s worth, I love a pint of black and tan, too.

      Anyway, I think people here enjoy drinking coffee (with or without cream) during the day, whether they fast or not, just like any other coffee drinker.


  3. Shaw557 says:

    If I up my coffee to a bigger mug, can I deduct the calories from resistance training?

    • Johnny says:

      Hi Shaw,

      From a mathematical standpoint, yes (calorie-in and calorie-out). From a practical standpoint, I wouldn’t get obsessed with the equation.


  4. Jake says:

    Here is my theory. Only protein and carbs affect your insulin level. So some pure fat is OK to get you over the hunger pangs. I use coconut oil in my coffee instead of cream.

  5. lolo says:

    i heard coffee is a good appetite suppressant. To bad a never drank a cup of coffee in my life (nor alcohol) so when i fast is only water 2 me, and when i eat, is always big! ( big but with almost 2 years now and no bread, no pasta, 0 % wheat, @ panu @ heartscanblog > my skin looks flawless now, and my digestive issues are gone) , cream? ( 200g) usually i eat it with 6 yolks + 2t of dark cacao plus a bit of sucrose. ( yep ice cream) delicious !

  6. Marc says:

    I love espresso….no cream needed
    And…I love my cup of coffee with a dash of heavy ceam.

    Now I want an espresso….

  7. Of interest, Robb Wolf contends that caffeine is more fat soluble than water soluble so the cream increases the caffeine uptake. I’m not sure I notice a difference all the time but it’s food for thought.


  8. Pingback: Blackbeard's 10 weeks of starvation for the British. - Page 5

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