If you’re thinking about trying intermittent fasting, you must be pretty confident in your ability to go without food in the morning…and at lunch…and into the late afternoon (seriously, fasting is no joke). But what about skipping coffee? It might not be a food group, but I think we can all agree it is pretty essential. Can you actually get out of bed in the morning without the sweet promise of caffeine?!
And while we’re at it…what about other drinks? Would consuming things like lemon water or tea “ruin” your fasting—and the benefits, weight loss-related and otherwise, that are supposed to come with it?
A little background: Intermittent fasting may help improve blood pressure, reduce liver fat, and lower cholesterol on top of reducing body weight, according to the University of Michigan Health Lab. Why tho? Well, the science is still somewhat undercooked, TBH. Theoretically, there’s an exchange of sugar for energy that happens during intermittent fasting that could cause you to shed pounds.
When you deprive your body of calories, it goes into a temporary state of starvation and slowed metabolism that forces your fat cells to give up the glucose they’re storing in order to fuel your body, says registered dietitian Barbie Boules of Barbie Boules Longevity Nutrition. Over time, with repeated temporary fasting, this can lead to weight loss. (Fasting all the time would, in theory, permanently slow your metabolism and counteract the benefits, so you don’t want to under-eat around the clock.)
But again, all of that’s just a theory. “We don’t yet know conclusively what happens in humans [during fasting], and if it’s any more beneficial than simply reducing overall calories,” says Boules. What’s more, so far the studies that have shown those positive results have mostly been in rats, not humans.