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Does Coconut Oil Break a Fast? Here’s the Answer
Intermittent Fasting

Does Coconut Oil Break a Fast? Here’s the Answer

HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by Edibel Quintero, RD | Medically reviewed by Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD check
Published on 2022 August 24
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5 min

Does coconut oil break a fast, or can you consume it during your fasting period on an intermittent fasting plan? We take a look at the answer.

Does coconut oil break a fast
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Intermittent fasting is a dieting plan characterized by long periods of fasting. During these periods, your body enters the metabolic state of ketosis, where the body burns fat for fuel rather than blood sugar.

Breaking a fast can mean many things, but in intermittent fasting, it means breaking the state of ketosis. Many foods and drinks will break this state, but is coconut oil one of them?

In this article, we’re going to look at coconut oil, whether it breaks a fast, its health benefits, and whether you can break a fast by adding coconut oil to coffee. Read on to learn more.

Does Coconut Oil Break a Fast?

A fast is characterized by periods of consuming no calories; for this reason, coconut oil does technically break a fast. However, if you only consider a fast broken when ketosis is broken, coconut oil may actually be fasting-friendly.

For those on strict no-calorie or water fasts, consuming coconut oil will end a fasting period, but the definition of a fast could be different for some intermittent fasting dieters.

Ketosis is a metabolic state in which the body will burn fat for fuel until your blood sugar rises. As coconut oil is made up mostly of fats and is a keto-friendly food, it does not end the state of ketosis and, therefore, could be considered fasting-friendly.

Coconut oil is inextricably linked to MCT oil in the wellness world as MCT oil is usually derived from coconut oil. MCT stands for medium chain triglyceride oil and is another keto-friendly product.

Both MCT oil and coconut oil break a zero-calorie fast but do not end the state of ketosis. For this reason, the answer to the question depends entirely on your definition of a fast.

How Much Coconut Oil Will Not Break a Fast?

If you’re following a fast-mimicking approach to dieting, then no amount of coconut oil will break your fast. This means you can add coconut oil to your black coffee for a boost in the morning. If you are aiming for a zero-calorie fast, then even one drop of coconut oil will break your fast.

The fast-mimicking approach is akin to the way the keto diet works. It means consuming very little carbs and increasing your fat intake to keep the body in the metabolic state of ketosis. During a fast-mimicking diet, you may choose to consume products like coconut oil and MCT oil during your fasting period to curb hunger cravings.

It is important to note that many of the fats found in coconut oil are saturated fats, and for this reason, excessive consumption is not recommended. While your body does require some saturated fats, excessive consumption can lead to an increased risk of certain chronic diseases.

Instead, you should opt for healthier fats, like monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, and omega-3 fatty acids. You can find these in products like extra virgin olive oil.

Can I Add Coconut Oil to My Coffee While Fasting?

As previously discussed, if you’re following a no-calorie fasting plan, then you cannot consume coconut oil in your coffee during a fast. This will break your fasting period. However, if you’re taking a fast-mimicking approach to intermittent fasting, then adding coconut oil to your coffee is a good idea.

Adding coconut oil to your coffee can help give you an energy boost in the mornings or during a coffee break due to the high fat content. It can help you feel satiated and curb hunger cravings.

What is bulletproof coffee?

Bulletproof coffee, sometimes known as butter coffee, is a high-calorie, high-fat drink that is designed to help you feel more energized in the mornings. A typical bulletproof coffee recipe is as follows:

  • 1 cup of black coffee
  • 1–2 tbsp of MCT oil (some people substitute for coconut oil)
  • 1–2 tbsp of grass-fed, unsalted butter, or ghee

You add all ingredients to a blender and mix until it is foamy, like a latte.

The drink contains lots of fat, but it is considered a keto-friendly drink. This also makes it suitable for people using a fast-mimicking diet style to lose weight. 

According to the creators, the coffee should help you feel energized and alert and is suitable for a range of diets, including an intermittent fasting plan, the ketogenic diet, low-carb diets, and the Paleo diet.

Does Coconut Oil Stop Autophagy?

There is some evidence that calorie restriction and no-calorie fasting are needed to promote the increased autophagy found during long fasting periods. However, a 2019 study found that medium chain triglycerides (found in coconut oil) stimulate ketones’ production, which may induce autophagy.

Increased autophagy is a benefit of intermittent fasting and long periods of fasting. Autophagy is the process in which old cells are recycled and regenerated, and a decrease in autophagy has been linked to a number of chronic illnesses.

If you’re following an intermittent fasting plan strictly for weight loss, then consuming coconut oil during your fasting period will not break ketosis and will keep your body in a fat-burning state. However, if you are using intermittent fasting for its many other benefits, it may be best to stick to a no-calorie fast.

Though the answer to the question “does coconut oil break a fast?” can vary, you need to consider your reasons for following the intermittent fasting diet to decide whether coconut oil breaks a fast for you and your diet.

Does Oil Pulling Stop Autophagy?

As oil pulling does not involve consuming any calories, it is unlikely that it will stop autophagy. Oil pulling is the process of swilling oil around your mouth and is connected with Ayurveda. However, since no oil is actually consumed during the process, it cannot affect the process of autophagy.

Oil pulling is thought to have many benefits for oral health and may remove bacteria from the mouth. In addition, it may be useful in reducing inflammation; however, more research is needed to prove any of these benefits.

Does Coconut Oil Break Ketosis?

Coconut oil does not break ketosis. As a ketogenic-friendly product, consuming coconut oil is completely safe during a diet where ketosis is the aim. Ketosis is a metabolic state where the body only burns stored fat for fuel. Ketosis is only broken when blood sugar spikes and insulin is released.

Generally, high-fat, low-carb foods are safe for consumption during ketosis. The keto diet uses a low-carb, high-fat diet to induce this state for prolonged periods of time to promote weight loss and fat metabolism.

Coconut oil can be consumed on the ketogenic diet as it is a high-fat product. Though coconut oil contains MCTs, which are considered healthy, coconut oil is high in saturated fats and should be consumed in moderation.

A Word From a Nutritionist

If you have been following an intermittent fasting diet, you may have already asked yourself: does coconut oil break a fast? Well, the answer is – it varies.

There are a few different versions of what a fast means. Some people feel a fast is broken when any calories are consumed, whereas others feel that a fast is only broken if the metabolic state of ketosis is broken.

The intermittent fasting eating pattern does not recommend a calorie intake each day (unless you’re following the 5:2 method, which is a little different), and how many calories you consume is actually irrelevant. Instead, intermittent fasting works by restricting the time you eat to induce a natural calorie deficit and the state of ketosis.

If you are following this dieting plan for the many health benefits it is thought to have, including reduced inflammation, increased autophagy, and better cognitive function, then it may be best to stick to a calorie-free fast. This is because it is not clear whether keto-friendly food consumption during a fast will interrupt these benefits.

If your aim is to lose weight, you may be able to remain in ketosis and consume coconut oil or MCT oil to curb hunger cravings. Try adding coconut oil or MCT to your morning coffee and see if it makes you feel more energized.

While high-fat foods are suitable for a fast-mimicking diet, it is important to focus on healthy fats, like those found in olive oil and avocados.

Conclusion

Coconut oil can be used during fast-mimicking diets to curb hunger cravings, but it will break a calorie-free fast. Whether you consume coconut oil during a fast is entirely up to you and your reasons for following a fasting diet.

HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel’s goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
Medically reviewed byRosmy Barrios, MD
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