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Common Intermittent Fasting Questions

Colin Stuckert

Our recent Wild Guide to Fasting received a lot of positive feedback. Read it here.

Here are some of the questions we received after posting the article and emailing it to our Wild newsletter subscribers. (Join here if you haven't yet for first access to promos and new guides.)

Subscriber Question:

I have a question about intermittent fasting and butter coffee.  I've been trying to not eat after 6 in the evening and having my butter coffee the next morning and not eating till about noon.  I know I've asked you before and you said that putting protein powder in my coffee would break the fast. I have been using your oils and butter in it, but I want to know is does your raw chocolate powder and vanilla powder (both of which I have and use) break my fast?  I love it for the flavor and antioxidants. I use a bit of Lakanto or stevia, zero glycemic, for a sweetener.

So I'm a bit confused on what breaks the fast.  I know my cup of coffee has some calories to it, mostly from the fat, but it sustains me till noon.

My Response:

Anything sweet is going to break your fast much easier than protein. Fat is ideal for not breaking a fast, but even certain kinds of dairy fat can contribute to breaking it, so the kind of fat does matter. (Why we love butter and MCT oil so much.)

From some recent research I've seen by a Dr doing solid IF research, he has figured out a number that he thinks will give one many of the benefits of fasting while still consuming a small amount of calories, which is somewhere around ~500 a day if I recall correctly.

Based on this, and from what I've seen, I would recommend going with your whey as you have, as well as vanilla powder and cocoa as even more safe options, while trying to avoid sweetener as much as possible.

Even though something like stevia or xylitol can be no sugar, your brain interprets them the same as ingesting sugar and so you can be prone to an insulin-like response, thus knocking you out of a fasted state. 

Subscriber Question:

Colin, excellent timing for me with this article as I've been doing the fasting for the new year.  I don't eat after dinner (between 5-6) have my butter coffee the next morning and don't eat till noon.

Let me ask you, in order to get more protein in because of the weight training I do, does a scoop of whey in your morning coffee technically break the fast?  I know you've mentioned your wild whey being good in coffee?

My Response:

Technically, you won't be straight fasting with then protein. It's typically fat that seems to have less of a "break the fast" response. That said, there's some interesting research from a fasting researcher that has a style of fasting based on eating a small amount of calories a day, say around 400-500, while still showing similar benefits of fasting with no calories.

I have a feeling that you should always be aiming to go as low calorie, low protein, and definitely ZERO carbs, as possible when fasting, but even if it's not ZERO does not mean you aren't getting benefit.

Again, progress not perfection.

Subscriber Question:

I have been fasting for 20-24 hours once or twice a week for the last year and really like it, but have always been annoyed with juggling my workouts to avoid fasting on the same day.

I am looking forward to trying the 16/8 plan. Out of curiosity, do you exercise inside your 8 hour eating window or outside of it.

My Response:

Start eating your first meal after your workout. Your life is forever changed 

That's probably the single greatest training based benefit I got from IF. So much better to train without food in my system. Tim Ferris also talks about this in his recent podcast.