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Home arrow Nutrition arrow Intermittent Fasting arrow Does Heavy Cream Break a Fast? Understanding the Facts

Does Heavy Cream Break a Fast? Understanding the Facts

Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: October 22, 2023
4 min read 1826 Views 0 Comments
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This article covers everything you need to know about heavy cream as you practice intermittent fasting.

does heavy cream break a fast

Intermittent fasting is an excellent practice for losing weight, reducing body fat, and optimizing heart and brain health. The health benefits associated with the process are enough to make anybody want to give it a try.

But to succeed with intermittent fasting, you need to know how to maintain a fasted state. After hours of food abstinence, the last thing you want to do is accidentally break your fast.

Adding a dose of heavy cream to your morning coffee may seem irrelevant. However, the conventional intermittent fasting practice demands that you have zero calories during the fasting period, so you need to be mindful of what and when you eat or drink.

We bring you everything you need to know about heavy cream to conclude whether it breaks a fast. Keep reading!

Does Heavy Cream Break a Fast?

Technically speaking, any consumption of calories breaks your fast. However, more modified intermittent fasting methods allow you to eat or drink calories in small quantities.  

One tablespoon of heavy cream contains 51 calories. This will break your fast. However, if you’re only adding a splash of creamer to your cup of coffee, for instance, it shouldn’t significantly affect the fat-burning process. But to play it safe, it’s best to avoid any calorie-containing product.

Heavy cream won’t break your fast if you’re fasting for ketosis as part of the keto diet. Heavy whipping cream has such a small amount of net carbs (0.4g per tablespoon) that it shouldn’t spike insulin levels or halt ketosis.

A primary goal of intermittent fasting is to avoid an insulin response to enable your body to transition and tap into fat-burning mechanisms.

Will Coffee With Heavy Cream Break a Fast?

A small drop of heavy cream in your otherwise black coffee isn’t detrimental to your intermittent fast. But it will be if you go overboard. 

Coffee is a popular beverage choice while fasting. While drinking black coffee still breaks a fast, it has fewer calories than heavy cream, with approximately five calories in one cup. 

Drinking coffee may even have some fasting benefits as it increases the metabolism, helping your body burn fat while boosting energy levels. 

Adding a small dollop of healthy fats to your regular coffee can contribute to satiety and reduce hunger.

You should steer clear of other ingredients like sugar and artificial sweeteners that can spike blood sugar. 

What Is Heavy Cream?

Heavy cream, also known as heavy whipping cream, is a rich liquid cream that contains a lot of milk fat

The thick/high-fat part of whole fresh milk rises to the top and is skimmed off, producing heavy cream. It has a high-fat content of at least 36%.

It is rich in healthy fats and contains more fat than other cream products, such as half-and-half cream

Heavy cream is a versatile ingredient that many people use for cooking sweet and savory dishes. It’s also a popular topping for coffee. 

How Many Calories Does Heavy Cream Have?

According to the USDA, there are 51 calories in one tablespoon of heavy whipping cream. 

The same quantity contains 5 grams of fat, 0.4 grams of protein, and 0.4 grams of net carbohydrates.

Due to different recipes and manufacturing processes, macronutrients and calories may vary by brand. Always check the food label!

What to Choose Instead of Heavy Cream? 3 Options To Try

If you want to drink coffee when intermittent fasting, there are other ingredients you can enjoy on a coffee break besides cream. Here are some alternatives for a boost when you’re not eating. 

#1 Butter 

Lots of fasters drink coffee with grass-fed butter. It’s usually served warm to make a creamy, buttery beverage. When combined with coconut oil or MCT oil, this is known as bulletproof coffee and is a firm favorite on the ketogenic diet. 

A small amount can create satiety without completely throwing you out of the fasted state.

#2 Almond milk

Almond milk contains 17 calories per 100ml. Adding a splash of nut milk to your coffee shouldn’t limit the health benefits of fasting, but you should opt for unsweetened almond milk as it doesn’t contain added sugar that can trigger an insulin response. 

#3 MCT oil

MCT (medium-chain triglycerides) oil can be beneficial to a fast as it can boost energy and suppress hunger. It does have calories, so it depends on how strict you want to be with your diet. 

If you want to avoid a potential calorie bomb of a coffee, stick to black coffee with pumpkin spice, nutmeg, or a little orange zest. Herbal tea is another excellent option.

Differences Between Heavy Cream and Other Fasting Creamers 

The most common differences between heavy cream and other fasting creamers are fat and dairy contents. All contain calories that will break a fast.

Heavy cream, half-and-half, and coffee creamer are three popular products. 

Half-and-half is another dairy product that blends cream and whole milk equally. The consistency is thinner, and it contains less fat than heavy cream. Many manufacturers use additives to enhance the product. 

Coffee creamer is free from dairy. It comes as a powder or liquid that you add to coffee or tea as a milk or cream substitute. It lightens and sweetens beverages, providing a vegan alternative. 

When purchasing store-bought creamer products, always check the label to evaluate the ingredients’ impact on your fast. 

A Word From Expert

Whether you’re fasting for weight loss, insulin sensitivity, or religious reasons, eating food and drinking certain beverages for a certain period can affect your metabolic rate and break your fast.

But depending on the method you follow and how restrictive you want to be, you can enjoy some food sources in moderation. A little heavy cream in your coffee may technically end your fast, but if you’re mindful of how much you consume and how often, you can still enjoy the benefits of the fasted state.

Drinking copious amounts of coffee with cream will quickly rack up your calorie count. To prevent harming your fast entirely, you can drink water or other low-calorie drinks like tea and decaffeinated coffee.


If you want to add cream to your intermittent fasting program and you’re happy to break the no-calorie rule, you can enjoy a little dose. It technically breaks a fast, but a minimum quantity should not interfere with fasting perks. 

But remember, too many calories and net carbohydrates will break your fast, so keep a close eye on your consumption.

Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
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.
The article was fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: October 22, 2023
4 min read 1826 Views 0 Comments

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