Is it ok to have milk in my coffee or tea during a fast or will it ruin my fast completely?
This seems to cause a lot of confusion for intermittent fasters and is the one of the most commonly asked questions when starting out. For some reason, even one cup of coffee or tea with milk seems to help us get through our fasts so much easier than going milkless.
Especially during the last few hours of a fast. It’s just that much more satisfying.
If you’re ‘True Fasting’ (fasting with no calories at all for 16 to 24 hours at a time) then usually it would be a no-no. But if it means that you actually finish your fast and is the difference between doing a 24 hour fast instead of 20 hours then it’s definitely going to be more beneficial.
No Need to Be So Strict
Even our ancestors in the Paleolitic era, whom we model intermittent fasting from, wouldn’t have really ‘true fasted’ all of the time. Being hunter gatherers we would’ve found the odd berry or nut at the very least in between finding or hunting the next meal. So there’s no need to be super strict about it. You’ll still get the benefits of your fast.
I recommend a low calorie milk (and non-dairy option but that’s just me) like unsweetended almond milk. It’s not as thick as regular milk but it does the trick and is arguably much better for your body too.
So How Much Milk is OK?
For true fasters around 20 cals or 100kJ of milk per day/fast would be the absolute maximum though. So have that in one cup or spread it out over two or three cups, it’s up to you.
If you’re doing a fast like the 5:2 Method of intermittent fasting where you’re only allowed 500 calories and you want to be strict about it, then just count the almond milk as part of those.
But seriously, the additional 20 cals wont make a difference. Just make sure that you measure your milk first so you don’t accidentally drink too many calories by adding a little bit to every cup of tea you have.
So at the end of the day, if you’re more likely to get through your fast by having an additional 10 or 20 cals of milk in there somewhere then that’s ok, it won’t break the bank.
So give yourself a pat on the back for even deciding to fast in the first place. And if you need to have a bit of milk have the milk!