Does half-and-half break a fast? — Explained by SIMPLE
If you’re a caffeine fiend, you’re probably thrilled black coffee is on our list of what you can drink while fasting.
But what if black coffee isn’t your thing? Does coffee with half-and-half break a fast? Does half-and-half break a fast in any form?
Here’s the deal about half-and-half and intermittent fasting.
Will half-and-half break a fast?
Does half-and-half break intermittent fasting?
Technically, consuming anything with more than 10 calories during a fasting window will break a fast by triggering an insulin response and raising your blood glucose levels — and a typical serving of half-and-half (and most dairy / non-dairy creamers) contains more calories than that.
However, the answer to “Does half-and-half in coffee break a fast?” isn’t universal. So, how do you know if coffee with half-and-half will break a fast?
Consider your fasting goals, your unique body, and how big of a serving size you have.
Everyone’s fasting needs are different, and being calorie-free during a fasting window isn’t always necessary to see benefits like weight loss or fat burning. Plus, maybe you only want a splash (not a full serving!) of half-and-half.
Since it’s tricky to work out if you can have half-and-half while fasting or whether half-and-half breaks your fast — and if intermittent fasting is safe for you — we always recommend consulting your healthcare provider. They always know better than the internet about what’s right for you.
Looking to drink up more advice on what breaks a fast or sip on some insight into questions like “Does fasting lower blood pressure?” We’re here to spill the tea — er, coffee! Just take our SIMPLE quiz and tell us about you and your fasting goals to get access to expert guidance and personalized tips.
What is half-and-half?
Half-and-half is an equal mixture of whole milk and cream. With its natural richness, it’s often used as a coffee creamer, but it can also be used in curries, stews, gravies, and other sauce-heavy dishes to add flavor and thickness.
By definition, fat-free half-and-half isn’t technically “half-and-half” since it contains less cream, low- to no-fat milk, and additional thickening agents / flavor additives, like corn syrup.
The standard serving size of half-and-half (two tablespoons / 30 mL) contains 40 calories. Specific amounts of nutrients can vary based on the brand and the pasteurization process, but on average, each serving has:
- 3 to 3.5 g of fat
- 1 g of carbs
- less than 1 g of protein
Fat-free half-and-half contains less fat but several more grams of carbs.
Health benefits and possible drawbacks of using half-and-half while intermittent fasting
Although drinking coffee has been scientifically linked to a variety of health benefits, there isn’t much research about intermittent fasting and half-and-half specifically.
Half-and-half on its own can benefit bone density and blood pressure thanks to its rich calcium content.
If you’re intermittent fasting, coffee with half-and-half may also help satisfy cravings for more substance during a fasting window. However, if you’re concerned with intermittent fasting and insulin resistance or intermittent fasting and blood sugar, it’s useful to consider your diet as a whole, too.
Tips on using half-and-half during a fast
- Aim for a splash rather than a heavy pour. A small amount of half-and-half (1–2 tsp) likely won’t break your fast.
- Get creative with other flavor sources. Boost black coffee flavor without adding calories by sprinkling in spices like cinnamon or nutmeg. Artificial sweeteners (like stevia or Splenda) can work in moderation, too, but more research is needed into their effect on glycemic impact and overall health.
- Schedule your eating windows to overlap prime coffee-drinking hours. No need to worry about “Will half-and-half break my fast?” or “Can I have half-and-half while fasting?” if you only have it during your eating windows.
Fill up on nutrient-dense foods. Fight off hunger pains and cravings during fasting by focusing on health-promoting foods during eating windows. Use our guide on what to eat during fasting for ideas!
- Poole R, Kennedy OJ, Roderick P, Fallowfield JA, Hayes PC, Parkes J. Coffee consumption and health: umbrella review of meta-analyses of multiple health outcomes. BMJ. 2017 Nov 22;359:j5024.
- Cormick G, Belizán JM. Calcium Intake and Health. Nutrients [Internet]. 2019 Jul 15;11(7).
- Pang MD, Goossens GH, Blaak EE. The Impact of Artificial Sweeteners on Body Weight Control and Glucose Homeostasis. Front Nutr. 2020;7:598340.