Cold brew and intermittent fasting are two of the most popular and enduring trends of recent years. Both have their own dedicated followings, both require time and patience, and both have their own claims to fame in the health world. So, just how compatible are cold brew and intermittent fasting? Will a cup of cold brew in the morning break your fast?
For those who love both their cold brew and intermittent fasting, the good news is that if you prepare your morning cup of cold brew correctly, then it will not break your overnight fast. In fact, it could be a great asset in helping to prolong your fast and can actually enhance its fat-burning effects.
We have put together a guide to help you understand the role that cold brew can play in your intermittent fasting journey, including the best time to have your cold brew and the things you should avoid to prevent breaking your fast.
What is intermittent fasting?
In its most basic terms, intermittent fasting does exactly what the name implies: it is an eating pattern or habit that sees adherents cycle between periods of eating and periods of fasting.
Unlike a diet, intermittent fasting does not require the avoidance of any foods. It simply requires you to restrict the time periods in which you eat.
Practically, this is actually much easier than it first sounds. Unless you are an avid midnight snacker, you probably spend at least eight hours in a fasted state while you are sleeping. All that is required in intermittent fasting is to prolong this fasted state for a few more hours.
It is thought that intermittent fasting can assist with many health and wellbeing issues, including weight loss, metabolism, and certain diseases. Some studies have even shown that intermittent fasting can help improve both cardiovascular and brain function, as well as reduce blood pressure and help reduce insulin sensitivity.
How does intermittent fasting work?
One of the most appealing things about intermittent fasting is that it is very easy to adapt to your lifestyle. There are several methods of intermittent fasting, but one of the most popular is the time restricted method, also known as 16:8 or 14:10.
Under this method, adherents fast for either 16 or 14 hours, and restrict their eating window to only 8 or 10 hours. For example, a 16:8 follower might have their last meal of the day at 8pm and not eat again until 12pm the next day.
There are no hard and fast rules around time restricted fasting. If you are one of those people who need to eat breakfast, just make sure you eat an earlier dinner to keep your eating window within the 8-10 hour threshold.
If you are new to intermittent fasting, you might find that you need to start as a 12:12 faster, and slowly build yourself up to a longer fasting period.
How does cold brew help with intermittent fasting?
So how does your cold brew fit in with intermittent fasting?
Well, a fast is considered to be broken when a significant metabolic change occurs. This normally happens when the faster ingests a significant number of calories, usually in the form of breakfast (hence the name!).
Given that cold brew in its purest form is black coffee, there are not enough calories in a cup of cold brew to instigate this metabolic change. Of course, this only applies if you drink your cold brew as straight black coffee; adding milk, sugar, or cream to your cold brew will significantly increase the calories in your cup and end up breaking your fast.
Besides providing a great caffeine hit, there are many other benefits to incorporating a morning cup of cold brew into your intermittent fasting routine.
For many people, coffee is an appetite suppressant, meaning that it can help you extend your fast by decreasing feelings of hunger.
Additionally, a cup of cold brew can help enhance all the great benefits of intermittent fasting, such as reducing inflammation, and enhancing brain and metabolic function. On its own, coffee has been proven to reduce several inflammatory markers, including those that impair your metabolism.
As well as this, coffee consumption has also been linked to improvements in brain health, including the prevention of cognitive decline, and reduced risk of developing stroke, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
What are the other health benefits of cold brew?
As far as cold brew and intermittent fasting go, it seems like a match made in heaven. But what other benefits does cold brew have?
Besides improving your brain and metabolic function, cold brew has several great health benefits. It is full of antioxidants, which help boost the body’s natural anti-inflammatory process. This has many benefits, including anti-aging effects and free radical-fighting impacts.
Cold brew can assist with anti-aging by protecting your skin from nasty particles that might be floating around in the air, as well as helping to guard against UV rays. It also contains far more free radical-fighting compounds than other types of caffeinated beverages, which can help reduce certain types of cancer.
Cold brew is also a good option for caffeine lovers who are sensitive to normal, hot-brewed coffee. The cold brew method results in far fewer bitter notes and acidic oils being released into the coffee as these elements are only released at higher temperatures.
As such, cold brew coffee is not only smoother and sweeter than hot-brewed coffee, it is also less likely to cause any flare ups in sensitive stomachs. If you suffer from acid reflux or an illness such as IBS, cold brew might be a good option for your daily coffee fix.
Cold brew is not only helpful for boosting the effects of intermittent fasting, it is also a powerful health elixir in its own right. If you are starting out with intermittent fasting, or find yourself in need of a caffeinated pick-me-up to get through your fasting window, then cold brew is a great option for you.