Coffee while Intermittent Fasting: Accelerator or Destroyer?

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Coffee while Intermittent Fasting: Accelerator or Destroyer? – Thomas DeLauer

Does black coffee break your fast? Does it eradicate all the benefits that you would normally get from fasting when you have that single cup of joe? I’m gonna break it down in this video, I’m gonna give you some food for thought when it comes down to what you’re truly trying to get out of your fast.

All right, let’s get down to the science for a minute. So when you look at coffee, we have to really understand what we’re trying to get from both coffee but also what we’re trying to get out of our fast. We know that coffee can induce some kind of fat-burning effects. We also know that fasting can induce all kinds of fat-burning effects, but we have to look at when they work together and when they don’t. You see, if you are fasting because you’re trying to completely abstain from food and beverages altogether, then it’s pretty simple, it’s pretty cut and dry, no, you shouldn’t have coffee, but if you’re trying to fast because you’re looking for metabolic effect and the autophagy effects which is where you basically recycle cells and consolidate cells, then actually, coffee can be very beneficial for you. I’m gonna help you understand in this video.

When we look at fasting, we have to look at the two key benefits that most of us are probably seeking out. One is fat loss. Fasting boosts fat loss via the production of catecholamines, adrenaline, noradrenaline, epinephrine, stimulating what is called hormone sensitive lipase. Basically it turns on fat burning at the cellular and hormonal level, but additionally fasting has a huge benefit when it comes down to autophagy. I sound like a broken record because you’ve probably heard me talk about this in other videos, but autophagy is simply where the body recycles cells. If we have old cells that are kinda decrepit and not doing a good job anymore, stronger cells are going to go through and they’re going to eat those cells and they’re going to consolidate and become one stronger cell. Basically autophagy when you’re in a fuel-deprived state encourages cells to get stronger by getting rid of the weaker ones.

All right, this sounds like a great thing, right? Guess what? Coffee has now been shown to boost autophagy, even when you’re not fasting. Let’s break this down a little bit. Autophagy requires what is called the inhibition of mammalian target of rapamycin, also known as mTOR. What mTOR is is a very anabolic pathway, and I don’t want you to freak out when I say that we need to reduce mTOR. It does not mean that you’re gonna lose your muscle. Autophagy by definition is not anabolic, so anabolic means you’re building muscle. It means you’re growing, it means cells are growing. Literally by definition, autophagy is the breakdown and the recycling and the consolidation of cells. In no way, shape or form could that ever be construed as anabolic, so don’t freak out. Anyway, I’m gonna make some sense of all of this.

There is a study that was published in The Journal Cell Cycle and it took a look at two different groups. These two different groups were given either caffeinated coffee or decaffeinated coffee and they wanted to measure what would happen to autophagy after the consumption of either decaf or caffeinated coffee. Guess what? After one to four hours of consuming the coffee, decaf or not, there was a massive increase in autophagy. That means the level of autophagosomes had increased, producing more of a cell recycling effect, after any kind of coffee.

What they’ve found is that the polyphenols in either decaf or regular initiate the inhibition of mTOR. This inhibition of mTOR is what allows us to start autophagy, so we turn off the anabolic system temporarily so that the cells can recycle and do their job.


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3) Caffeine promotes autophagy in skeletal muscle cells by increasing the calcium-dependent activation of AMP-activated protein kinase. (n.d.). Retrieved from

4) Mathew TS , et al. (n.d.). Caffeine promotes autophagy in skeletal muscle cells by increasing the calcium-dependent activation of AMP-activated protein kinase. – PubMed – NCBI. Retrieved from