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Does Heavy Cream Break a Fast?

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Kasparas Aleknavičius, MD December 8, 2022

Intermittent fasting is a great method to enhance your health. According to some research, it may even prolong your life, or help with weight loss.

However, in order to reap those benefits, you must first understand how to do it properly. As a result, be conscious of what breaks your fast and what does not.

Drinking black coffee or herbal tea without any additives is surely not for everyone. Especially, if you’re a latte or a cappuccino type of person. If so, there are ways to enjoy your cup of morning coffee even during an intermittent fasting window. Perhaps, coffee with heavy whipping cream would be a life-saver?

But does heavy cream break a fast? Stick with the article to find out.

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Does Heavy Cream Break a Fast?

Heavy cream is regarded as food. A tablespoon of heavy cream has 51 calories. As a result, if you’re fasting to let your gut rest, for religious reasons, or trying to stick to a strict dry or water fast, heavy cream will break your fast.

On the flip side, if you’re guided by the insulin levels in your blood or you are staying under 50 calories, moderate amounts of heavy cream will not interfere with your fast.

In fact, it might help you to stay in a fasting state for a longer period of time. Hence, the most important thing is to stick to such a small amount of one teaspoon that has 17 calories when intermittent fasting.

To decide whether or not to consume heavy cream during a fast, let’s break down what it is.

What’s Heavy Cream?

Heavy cream is a high-fat part of dairy milk or can also be referred to as milk fat. To be specific, it contains about 36-40% fat. Because of the fat, it rises to the top of the whole fresh milk. Moreover, the cream is then skimmed and further processed.

Moreover, if the cream is a high-fat type, you’ll always see the label “heavy” on the product, and if not, it means that it has less fat.

Heavy cream is low in protein, and therefore, it won’t raise your insulin levels or spike blood sugar levels. In addition, it contains vitamins A, D, E, and K.

Dairy products that are high in fat, in general, contain a bigger amount of fat-soluble vitamins.

Also, even though heavy cream and other dairy products are high in saturated fatty acids, their consumption has a positive effect on cardiovascular health. Eating full-fat dairy products can also promote higher intakes of essential nutrients such as vitamins D and K.

High-fat dairy products can also decrease the risk of diabetes. All things considered, heavy whipping cream has some health benefits.

The nutritional value of a one-half cup of heavy cream:

  • Calories: 400
  • Protein: 3 grams
  • Fat: 43 grams
  • Carbs: 3 grams
  • Vitamin A: 35% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
  • Vitamin D: 10% of the RDI
  • Vitamin E: 7% of the RDI
  • Calcium: 7% of the RDI
  • Choline: 4% of the RDI
  • Phosphorus: 7% of the RDI
  • Vitamin K: 3% of the RDI

Keep track of your caloric intake to ensure that you do not break your fast with heavy whipping cream. You might use the DoFasting app, which includes an easy-to-use calorie tracker. Simply search for a meal or ingredient such as regular coffee or coffee with heavy cream and add it to your tracker.

Moreover, the app shows the recommended calorie intake for each meal. You can also track your water intake and fasts on the app. It’s a great way to always be up-to-date with your diet when intermittent fasting.

Now, let’s check the main differences between heavy cream or heavy whipping cream and other cream types.

As previously stated, heavy whipping cream is the fat that rises to the top of milk. It’s a rich, pourable cream. In contrast, half-and-half cream is produced from equal parts heavy cream and milk.

Therefore, it’s a bit lighter and has this creamy texture. It contains usually about 10% fat.

There is also clotted cream, which is an extremely thick cream that has roughly 48% fat. It has a caramelized flavor to it.

Coffee creamer does not have any dairy in it. Rather, it’s made out of sugar, water, and oil. The product has lots of additives.

Coffee Creamers That Don’t Break a Fast

Coffee creamer is a dairy-free product that you add to your black coffee or tea instead of whole milk. It’s made out of sugar and oil. It lightens, sweetens, and adds texture to your beverage. This product is a great option for vegans and vegetarians, or if you’re lactose intolerant.

Most coffee creamers are heavily processed, high in sugar, or contain artificial sweeteners, and have too many calories, and therefore, will break your fast or interfere with your weight loss goals. Luckily, there are some coffee creamers that are sugar-free or made using coconut, almond, oat, or soy milk that are safe during a fast.

Sugar-free coffee creamers can be a better option during intermittent fasting because some have fewer calories than heavy cream.

As a result, instead of confining yourself to one cup of coffee and being very careful not to exceed the calories allowed, you can have a few cups without interfering with your intermittent fasting results.

Let’s take a look at some of the best coffee creamers for intermittent fasting.

Bulletproof Original Creamer, Keto Coffee Creamer With MCT Oil, And Grass-Fed Butter

The ingredients of this creamer are grass-fed butter, MCT oil, and acacia gum. The creamer is gluten-free, soy-free, and sugar-free.

The nutritional value of one serving (14 grams) of this coffee creamer:

  • 100 calories
  • 8 grams of saturated fat
  • 0 grams of added sugar
  • 2 grams of net carbs
  • 0.2 mg of iron
  • 20mg of calcium
  • 35mg of sodium

This creamer is a great option for intermittent fasting since it has zero sugar and gives you sustained energy since the grass-fed butter and MTC oil work with coffee’s natural caffeine.

Moreover, MTC stimulates the production of, technically speaking, peptides YY and leptin, two hormones that might promote a sense of fullness. MTC oil can boost body fat burning, and reduce fat storage.

You can make a bulletproof coffee with this one by mixing coffee, made from high-quality beans, with unsalted butter and a medium chain triglyceride (MCT).

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Califia Farms Almond Milk Creamer

The ingredients of this creamer include almond milk (water, almonds), sunflower oil, sunflower lecithin, natural flavor, calcium carbonate, sea salt, potassium citrate, locust bean gum, and gellan gum.

One serving (15ml) of unsweetened almond milk creamer contains:

  • 10 calories
  • 0 grams of added sugar
  • 1 gram of fat
  • 0 grams of protein
  • 10mg of sodium

The almond milk creamer is vegan, gluten-free, and soy-free. The creamer is low in calories, doesn’t contain sugar, and doesn’t affect insulin sensitivity, which makes it a great option for intermittent fasting.

The main ingredient of this creamer is almond milk which is nutritious and doesn’t raise blood sugar.

Nestle Coffee-Mate Coffee Creamer

There are various flavors of this coffee creamer. But let’s take a look at the zero-sugar options. The ingredients are corn syrup solids, hydrogenated vegetable oil, sodium caseinate, mono-and diglycerides, dipotassium phosphate, sodium aluminosilicate, sugar, and natural and artificial flavors.

The creamer is lactose-free and gluten-free.

The nutritional value of one serving (15 ml):

  • 15 calories
  • 1 gram of fat
  • 2 grams of net carbs
  • 5 milligrams of sodium
  • 0 grams of added sugar

This coffee creamer comes in a variety of delicious zero-sugar options. It is safe during your fast and can make your cup of coffee more enjoyable. This might help you stick to your intermittent fasting plan or perhaps help you extend your fasting period.

Other Options to Add to Your Coffee During Fasting

Now that we’ve covered the coffee creamers that you can add to your coffee, let’s go over other options as well.

Almond milk

Firstly, when stopping by the almond milk section at the grocery store, make sure to choose milk that it’s unsweetened. A cup (240 ml) of almond milk has 39 calories, 1 gram of protein, and 3.5 grams of carbs.

Therefore, you should add no more than ⅓ cup of almond milk to your regular or decaffeinated coffee and it will not break your fast.

Benefits of using almond milk while fasting:

  • High in vitamin E – this vitamin works in protecting your cells from free radical harm and is good for brain health.
  • Low in sugar – doesn’t interfere with your weight loss goals.
  • As nut milk, it adds a nutty flavor to your coffee.

Nutmeg

One teaspoon of nutmeg contains 12 calories, 0 proteins, 1 gram of fat, and 1 gram of sugar. Therefore, it’s safe to put 1 or half a teaspoon of it into your coffee and it will not break your fast.

Benefits of using nutmeg while fasting intermittently:

  • Rich in fiber – helps keep the digestive system healthy, and prevents blood sugar spikes.
  • Rich in vitamins A, C, and E.
  • Rich in antioxidants – helps avoid cancer, heart disease, and liver disease.

Coconut oil

1 tablespoon of coconut oil has 104 calories, 0 grams of protein, 11.5 grams of fat, and 0 grams of sugar and fiber. Therefore, it’s higher in calories than the options above.

Nevertheless, one teaspoon of coconut oil in your coffee will not break your fast or interrupt the fat-burning process, or ketosis.

Benefits of using coconut oil while fasting intermittently:

  • Makes you feel fuller for longer and reduce hunger – this is because it’s higher in fat.
  • Might boost fat burning – the fats in coconut oil are 65% MCT which has fat-burning properties.
  • A good source of antioxidants – helps avoid chronic diseases.

Cinnamon

1 teaspoon of cinnamon has 6.42 calories, and 2.1 grams of carbs. You can enjoy the rich flavor and relaxing scent of your favorite drink that will not break your fast by adding one or half a teaspoon of cinnamon to your coffee.

Benefits of using cinnamon while fasting intermittently:

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Does Heavy Cream Break a Fast: Final Thoughts

In this article, we answered the question –  does heavy cream break a fast?

Heavy cream or heavy whipping cream is a high-fat dairy product. Moderate amounts of it will not break your fast or cause an insulin response. Moreover, it can decrease the risk of diabetes, and be beneficial for cardiovascular health.

Heavy cream is high in calories, and therefore, you should stick to putting no more than one tablespoon in your cup of coffee when losing weight or fasting.

There are some other alternatives that you can choose from – sugar-free coffee creamers, almond milk, coconut oil, nutmeg, and cinnamon.

Author

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Kasparas Aleknavičius, MD
  • Head of Medical Affairs at Kilo Health
  • Medical Doctor at Vilnius University, Lithuania
  • Partnering with the EU-funded Young50 and EUPAP projects

Kasparas Aleknavicius is a medical doctor that graduated from Vilnius University, working as head of medical affairs at Kilo Health. After nearly 5 years in the industry, Kasparas focuses on digital health and is looking for innovative ways to help people lead healthy lifestyles through digital health and wellness platforms.

You can find Kasparas on LinkedIn and follow his latest research on Medium.

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