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Caffiene and Intermittent Fasting.

Posted Sep 23 2012 12:00am

Many of us who try weekly, religious or other forms of Intermittent fasting often feel that a cup of black coffee or a Diet Coke is  an ideal calorie free drink and helps us get through the fast very well. However it is a really bad idea: Fasting is done to regulate not suppress appetite. Caffeine is an appetite suppressor.Which appears attractive to fasters/skippers.However fasting is done to make you cued to genuine hunger  vis-a-vis reflexive timed eating responses.  Short term insulin down regulation when not eating is supposed to do the trick .  If you need  a cup of coffee to pull along - or if you are a habitual coffee drinker - your body is not ready and may not thrive on a fast Do shorter fasts .Or don't fast. Fasting by Artificial suppression of hunger is like Antibiotic usage .It may help you in not eating temporarily - but will have far more vicious side - effects. Cortisol- caffeine connection. Caffeine stimulates our adrenal hormones : it causes epinephrine and cortisol to be released in the body. Epinephrine causes release of triglyceride and cortisol causes release of glucose in our blood. They are released to give us energy. We do need these hormones to be released when we are being stalked in a lonely alley by a fishy character.Then we can use the released energy to give a swift and vicious kick in the balls to the offender and sprint off to safety. But released trigs and glucose in the blood while we are sitting in office or pottering at home, celebrating a fast , just leads to high inflammation - over time a trigger for insulin resistance and heart disease. Piling of stressor on stressor is a bad idea : Keep in mind that fasting is also a stressor . Fasters are repeatedly advised to not fast during periods of high stress for this very reason.So coffee /stimulants on a fast basically cause a cortisol overdrive in the body. And we all know what too much cortisol does . It makes us hyperalert like James Bond on an International chase . But for us there is no chase or drama .Only blank stares at the bedroom wall at 3 am in the night !  Poor Sleep : One advantage of fasting I swear by is improved sleep .The Digestive system is resting and the body is fully into rest and rejuvenation mode .However when several friends who fast cite sleep problems it made me realize that something is inherently wrong in the way women approach fasting as away to restrict calories on strength of caffeine. Cortisol puts a spanner in the rest and regeneration plans of the body. It causes short sleep duration and increased sleep disturbances. Lack of sleep makes you crave sugar . So if you feel like eating a tub of ice -cream every other day,miss sleep ,and think fasting will negate  your sugar liberties please think again.  Adrenal Fatigue : Adrenal fatigue in which the adrenal glands get exhausted due to constant pressure to emit cortisol - also results from constant cortisol abuse .Spent adrenals are related to constant fatigue, leaky gut, thyroid issues, stubborn fat, insomnia, weak immunity, and low sex drive and a lot else. Serotonin depletion : Constantly  elevated cortisol levels are also linked to lowering of brain 5HT (serotonin) functioning . Which cause Insomnia, Anxiety, Depression. Not worth it.
 Belly Fat :  To my mind the worst aspect is that women (also men) take up fasting to get ripped,lean ,shredded etc. But cortisol - glucose release-insulin spike- insulin resistance cycle wipes that out and causes accumulation of belly fat . For women attendant thyroid problems can compound everything . In short remember Caffeine= Cortisol= Belly Fat and Insomnia.Too much Cortisol by way of caffeine drinks ,fasted workouts on empty belly is particularly short route to Adrenal Fatigue.
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