Why is "non-black" coffee a no-no?

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Why is "non-black" coffee a no-no?

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  • Just finished the book — next week will be my first 5:2 week. I have some experience with fasting for religious reasons, and I know that coffee is very helpful for me in suppressing appetite. So I think it would be a good tool for me on fast days. But I can’t stand black coffee. I usually take both low-fat milk and sugar (I don’t do artificial sweeteners in anything). I could curb both the milk and sugar to the point that the total calorie count for an 8 oz cup of coffee would be less than 30 calories — and I only drink one cup a day.

    So here’s the question: in the book Mimi and Michael suggest drinking a cup of “low calorie hot chocolate” as a treat if you get hungry. According to the calorie counter in the back, this would add up to over 40 calories. Yet they always stress that if you drink coffee, it must be black. Is there something I’m missing here? Is there some reason I can’t have the coffee as described above, as long as I limit the rest of my calories to 470? And would it make a difference when I drink it during the day?

    I have been on 5-2 for 12 weeks now. Some fast days I do small coffee (love love love my coffee) with half and half and Splenda – I just use less h&h than other days. I then cut out my lunch fruit and eat grilled chicken with lots of lettuce for dinner!!! I lost 14.2 lbs in 12 weeks. I don’t do cream and sugar to many times on fast days though!!! :-).

    We drink coffe with milk in on fast days because we don’t like it black. We swap full fat for semi- skimmed on fast days and only have two small cups. I can’t remember seeing anything in the book that said you can’t have milk in coffe – just to be mindful of the calories.

    It’s not a no no it’s just that the calorie intake boosts when you add milk. I have one cup on fast days with milk in the morning then its black tea for the rest of the day.

    Thanks — that’s what I was thinking, but it’s nice to get it confirmed from some experienced folks.

    Hi, in the beginning I used to only drink herbal tea….lots…on fast days but now have 2 cups of coffee with skim milk…one with breakfast and the other after dinner.Still drink nothing but peppermint tea in between..both hot and cold.works well for me.


    I have been doing 5:2 for about 5 months. I always use H&H in my coffee. A teaspoon of H&H is about 5-6 calories. Since generally I only drink 2 cups of coffee a day 10 to 12 calories are not enough to make me drink coffee without H&H. To me all of this talk about no milk in coffee is a diversion that has nothing to do with the effectiveness of the diet. It seems to me to be something everybody can latch onto and feel good about themselves if they drink black coffee.

    I guess if you are drinking 10 to 12 cups of coffee a day, it might make a difference. Otherwise, the most important thing is for each of use to find a way to make it work for us. If like me you might quit 5:2 if you had to drink black coffee, obviously the best solution would be to drink milky coffee.


    I believe it is because some coffees are about the size of a bucket. I seem to recall a 375 ml ‘serving’ of coffee being mentioned somewhere. If this is a milk/white coffee you can imagine the volume of milk and the calorie count involved.

    As a keen drinker of coffee with milk (make mine a caffe latte please) I have switched to milk -free on fast days. Not coffee machine coffee, but pour-overs which are made with single origin beans. This allows me to visit the coffee shop, indulge my appetite for caffeine and really look forward to a milky coffee on the next day.

    As far as I am concerned this is a win-win situation.

    I occasionally have cappuccino on my fast days, but then I strictly calculate the calories from milk to my 500 kcal quota.

    I agree with Aitch51, the problem is the “serving”, small cappuccino with 1 dl of milk (1,5% fat) includes 46 kcal from milk. In real life, especially in the US, latte could easily have 3 dl of milk (3,5 % fat), i.e. 3 x 63 kcal = 189 kcal…

    I’m a heavy coffee drinker, about 5-6 cups per day. I always make my own latte with skim milk. I started fasting this week and began drinking my lattes without sugar. On my fast days this week I have been making and espresso with a dash of milk. It’s gotten me by on my first two fast days. I think cutting out the sugar is a big thing, sick to skim milk and half the milk amount of what you would normally have.

    I drink my coffee black no sugar because that’s how I prefer it most of the time, and drink loads of it, especially on fast days – but I’ve never read anywhere that non black coffee is a no no, you just have to take account of the calories in anything you add. I think any comments by Michael/Mimi would be so you avoid Starbucks or similar on fast days!

    If you make your own, have one cup per day and the additions make it 30 cals then, as you say, you have 470 cals for the rest of the day. I can’t see any problem with that. This WOE is not, like many fad diets, about denial – it’s about doing it the way that suits you best.

    “I think any comments by Michael/Mimi would be so you avoid Starbucks or similar on fast days!”

    Yeah I think you’re right. A lot of people would really under-estimate the calories in their coffee, especially in a flavoured latte or the like. Some people who have not really been educated about nutrition (including the severely overweight who may be interested in 5:2) may not even think about the calories that they drink; they may consider that it’s not food and so it doesn’t count!

    Fruit juice and squash drinks aren’t good either. A lot of squash with added sugar is 150-200 cals per pint (and I can easily drink a pint if I’m thirsty). Low-calorie sweeteners are probably ok if you really can’t get by on just water or unsweetened drinks, but is not ideal as there is some evidence it ‘tricks’ your body into thinking it’s getting carbs, making it harder to lose weight.

    Hi Esther,
    I’ve been treating this 5:2 system as a life style strategy that I intend to maintain – diets don’t work. That being so, I don’t want it to be intolerable although I certainly stick to the 500 calories. Coffee with low fat A2 milk is counted in and helps with mid morning rumbles.
    I lost about 7 Kg from May last year to end October. Used My Fitness Pal for this and learned a lot about quantities and how addictive sugar is for me. In November I started 5:2 and have lost another 4 Kg with ease. Not interested in going too fast so that my skin keeps pace and the metabolism stays comfortable.
    Hope this is of some interest 🙂

    Isn’t it something to do with milk producing insulin or something like that I read somewhere and if not being beneficial to the fast 🙂

    I started the Lighter life diet in april 2008, the diet consisted of 4 satchets of powder a day mixed with water or three satchets and one bar, you could drink water, black tea and black coffee and nothing else
    I am a self employed carprt cleaner and whilst on a job a customer asked me if I would like a hot drink?
    I said could I have a black coffee please and no suger, he shudderd and pulled a face at the thought of it
    I am a real coffee lover and got to say I took to it almost emediatly

    I have switched to unsweetened almond milk, a modest amount, in my coffee for fast days, and that might be just the cup I make at home, no second cup at the office. On non fast days I am somewhat reducing the low fat milk I use.

    I wouldn’t let coffee cream hold you off starting the fast. Just count the calories you add to it, and maybe make your changes incrementally. Low fat milk for half and half, etc. I add soluble fiber to my coffee, which seems to make it feel ever so slightly creamier even with the almond milk.

    I think Michael’s choices are practical, but also personal. I re-read the part about avoiding high protein to reduce IGF-1, yet he (Michael) also advocates lean protein because it is satisfying longer. And obviously because it is a part of his life and habit. Dr. Longo seems to advocate a vegan diet, dut Michael wanted to create a plan that works for him and many others. I think had black coffee been abhorrent to him he would have found a compromise and carried on.

    I’ve only just started it’s my third fast day today and I usually have one cup of coffee with semi skimmed milk in the morning and then for the rest of the day I have green or red tea and lots and lots of water. 🙂 I haven’t noticed any weight loss as yet, still time though but I feel better myslef 🙂

    I’m curious about what ‘half and half’ is – I know it’s some kind of coffee whitener/creamer, and I assume it’s American as I’ve never come across it here, but what is it actually made of, and what form does it take – powder? liquid?

    I believe half-n-half is 50% cream, and 50% milk. Its also called ‘light cream’ in some places or ‘coffee cream’. I think its about 10% fat.

    Hi RosC or anyone who can answer. If you have the coffee/milk at 7am but your fasting period is 11am thru 7pm, is the basic time frame affected by the 7am coffee? I would of course count the calories but I cannot wait till 11am for my coffee…

    Hi djoy:

    Could you please describe what eating pattern you are following? I don’t understand ‘fasting period is 11 am thru 7 pm’.


    djoy11 – please enjoy your coffee in the morning – even on fast days.

    This forum has lots and lots of variations on the 5:2 way of eating. The only requirement is that you consume 500/600 calories on your fast day. You will lose weight this way and reap the benefits of a fast. Even Mimi Spencer said that if you want coffee with a splash of milk, go right ahead.

    Hi all
    I believe nosey26 is correct that it has something to do with insulin spikes, ie the same reason it says have porridge with water not milk. It’s not just about calorie counting. I love my lattes but find I can go without for two days ( I just go black) I don’t have my book to reference it but I think a few of you have missed the point,

    I’m new to the diet and I’m not blowing it by having calories in the form of milk during my fasting time. I have a cup of coffee with milk as part of my breakfast calories and another with my dinner calories.No calories for the 12 hours in between. My Asian friends drink just plain hot water instead of tea/coffee if you don’t like herbal teas. I always thought this was weird but it does fill the gap. I do get a mild headache in the middle of the afternoon and I’m going to take a small dose of caffeine (tablet form) this week to see if that helps from the possible caffeine withdrawal.I’d like to suggest you get Keto or Keto Diastix (from chemists and some gyms) to measure ketones in your urine. Ketones are present when you break down body fat.I do back to back days of fasting on my 2 busiest days.Although ketones are present on the first day ( colour on the sticks indicate this)there is a lot more of them on the second. Indicating a better result for me then non consecutive days.

    Hi. I drink unsweetened almond milk in my coffee which tastes just the same as cows milk to me but has only 13 cals per 100ml. This doesn’t spike blood sugar at all (I am diabetic) and is much healthier than cows milk as it is sugar and lactose free and has more calcium than cows milk. I usually measure out 200 mls in the morning of a fast day and this is enough for at least 6 cups of coffee. Good luck x


    Thanks for posting.

    I am not diabetic, but have switched to unsweetened almond milk for my morning latte, partly to keep calories down but more in the hopes it wouldn’t affect insulin levels (and also I’m not convinced there’s any benefit to adults in drinking large quantities of the milk of another animal…).

    So thank you for confirming that it doesn’t affect insulin.

    Hi all. I’m new to this diet… My plan was to only drink tea with milk throuout the whole day, so that all my 500 cals that day, comes from milk (in the tea). It Means that every time I get hungry, I drink a cup of tea. Does that even come close to the point of the diet?

    Hi Penny, I have cuppas all Fast Day, I realised it is easier to give up meals than my precious cuppas. I have lots of cups of tea and a pot of coffee and use about a cup of milk by the time I have had them all.

    At the end of the day I have miso soup containing chicken, mushrooms and greens and I really need the saltiness by then.

    So you should be fine, the only rule is to keep under the 500 calories over the day, and you are doing that.

    But if you think you need a bit of salt you can just have a bit on a wetted tip of your finger!

    Wow how many cups of tea do you have per day? A whole glass of low fat milk is about 100 cals. Even if you add a 1/3 of a cup of milk that’s 15 cups of tea to get to 500 cal. I have two cups of coffee with a splash of milk on my fast days, so about 50 cals.

    I’m trying the 16:8 method starting today & as I write this I am gagging down black coffee with splenda…vile! Are there no non-dairy, sugar-free, no/low cal milk substitutes out there? Probably not the healthiest alternative, but just a dab would get me through my 6 hours till lunch!!

    I start every day with a coffee with about 30mls of full fat milk. I may have another coffee during the day if I really want it. Aside from that I water fast until dinner which is always under 250 calories (and sometimes less). So I’m pretty confident my two coffees with milk won’t put me over the limit. And also, I’m not giving up coffee for anyone.

    So today I decided to try iced coffee black instead which is much tastier – I ‘splurged’ with some sugar free (zero cal) syrup at Starbucks & it’s actually delicious! Thank god for workarounds (even if they’re not as healthy as just doing it black)! 🙂

    I guess I’m lucky that I’ve always preferred black coffee. Even as a kid my parents would buy whole beans and grind them at home, and I used to grab a few beans before they were ground and eat them. Yummy (to me).


    Hi all, I stopped having coffee on my FD and had only black and green tea at first but then changed back to 1 coffee with 50ml of milk which is 35cals first thing in the morning just take it off your count and feel happy about your morning coffee. After the morning coffee it is back to black tea it tells me I am fasting. I don’t have sugar in any hot drinks due to going fishing with my dad as a teenager, on the water at 3.00am cold spring mornings, and if I wanted coffee with sugar in it I would have to bring it so I learned to drink it without sugar pretty quickly.

    I have chosen to allocate 20% of my calories to low fat milk on FDs. I use this mainly with pots of tea which I enjoy milky and really help me get though the day. It also ensures I get at least one serve of dairy in my day. I know that if I gave up the milk I could eat more food, but after experimenting with various options I find this works best for me. I can forego some meals and snacks on a FD is I can make a nice pot of tea instead.

    I also sometimes use unsweetened almond milk on FDs as it only has about 17 calories per 100ml. I mainly use it with cocoa powder and stevia to make a hot cocoa on cold afternoon. It can really help get me though to dinner time.

    I know a lot of people say “don’t drink your calories” on FDs, but I think we need to find our own tailored food approach to FDs. Everyone is different and if what works for us looks different to what someone else does – so what? If it works and we are staying under the 500cal limit, losing weight, feeling healthy, then obviously it’s a good solution for us.

    This is a nice thread. I am interested in a splash of something in my coffee too. I wish people would post not just what they are doing, but if it is WORKING! So if you do a splash of something in your coffee, is it WORKING?? Are you losing weight? Thanks for any info here.

    My morning coffee is this: half a large mug of warm cocoa milk* + half a mug of coffee + 1/2 tsp raw sugar. This is 88 calories. I have this every morning [i can’t drink coffee past breakfast. too much caffeine], even on Fast Days, and I am usually at or below my target weight every day.

    *cocoa milk = 1 cup skimmed milk + 1 Tbsp cocoa powder [that’s Hershey’s Dutch-style cocoa NOT sweetened] This is put in a jar and shaken well. Put in ‘fridge the night before and shake again before using. The night before step is important to ‘wet’ the cocoa. The cocoa then sinks to the bottom over night, so you shake it again.

    Like you, LJoyce, I need the dairy daily. So i get some of it in my coffee and drink 8 oz as ‘lunch’ even on Fast Days. Protein and Calcium.

    Just for the record, I have always avoided non-sugar sweeteners. I think they are bad for your health.
    Yes, sugar is not good for us. Cut down your use of sugar, but not by replacing it with a non-sugar. Just bite the bullet, like Joffy, or ease your way into it.

    I hate black coffee, too. I just have a splash of semi-skimmed in my three morning cups. Then eat at 1 ish.

    thanks Pollypenny. Are you able to lose weight with this approach? This is what I am trying to figure out. Also I would like to have the hormone benefits of zero insulin produced in the morning So i stick to only fat type additives for my coffee (tiny splash of full fat cream, or this coconut/almond creamer i found with zero sugar, very low cal and only 1 gram of fat for each tablespoon)

    You cant avoid not having insulin production in the morning. You get a shot of insulin at about 5-6am while you sleep to prep you for waking up so that you have available energy. Its called the Dawn Effect. So a small shot of milk in your coffee isn’t really going to change things too much. Just get used to coffee without sugar in it.

    Hi Big Booty. Thanks! Yes I have never liked sugar in my coffee so that part is easy. I just used to add a lot of cream so I am measuring it out now to keep it at a minimum.

    Sorry just reread what I wrote. Not quite right. You get a shot of glucagon pre waking up, this gives you a glucose hit so you get out of bed with energy. If the glucose hit is too big then you get a shot of insulin to bring it within the normal range. Drinking coffee with a splash of milk isn’t really going to do much. I fast on Mondays. I usually have about 3 coffees with a splash of milk. By late afternoon Im in ketosis (measured with a keto meter), so the splash of milk isn’t stopping ketosis.

    A modern diet desensitises us to sugar.

    For me, having my coffee with no sugar is an important part of waking up my tastebuds. Now even if I get coffee with soy milk and no sugar from a café it tastes too sweet because of the sugar added to the soy milk prior to packaging.

    I have unsweetened almond milk in my coffee. It is very low in calories, I can have 50 ml for only 8 calories and 0.1g of sugars. To me (now) it tastes great. I often have several cups per day when I’m fasting. It doesn’t keep me awake at night but it can improve alertness and reduce cravings during the day. I find small shots of strong espresso-style coffee far more palatable than a cup of black coffee, and where unsweetened almond or soy milk is not available that is what I prefer.

    Artificially sweetened drinks tend to lead to uncontrolled cravings for me. I had to try the new “Coke no sugar” on the weekend just gone and this was followed by excessive consumption of chocolate. Although I’m far more mindful now of the impact of such “snacks” on my overall calorie consumption and of ensuring I still stay around my TDEE on non-fasting days. Back to unsweetened coffee and water today.

    Bill Bill thanks! Yes I am doing a daily 17:7 at this point. Glad you found a coffee ad that you like. I am in the US and can get Nutpods which is coconut/almond creamer (tastes very mild, like cream, no weird aftertaste and only 10 calories for a tablespoon). Agree with you about the sugar. i have been off sugar for nearly 5 years and (wow, 5 years!-hard to believe). I try to do some black coffee days, but BLECH i really hate black coffee. I will try espresso when I have the chance!

    I just came across this – what a great coffee chat 🙂 x I’m a week in and have bit of milk in two coffees, it’s the kind of thing I’d miss do much I’d blow the diet. X

    Is it just me – as a non American – but Half and Half sounds GRIM! Why can’t you just use milk like the rest of the world?

    From Wikipedia :
    Half-and-half consists of a mixture of milk and cream which contains between 10.5 and 18 percent milkfat. It is pasteurized or ultra-pasteurized, and may be homogenized.

    (b) Optional ingredients. The following optional ingredients may be used:

    (1) Emulsifiers.

    (2) Stabilizers.

    (3) Nutritive sweeteners.

    (4) Characterizing flavoring ingredients (with or without coloring) as follows:

    (i) Fruit and fruit juice (including concentrated fruit and fruit juice).

    (ii) Natural and artificial food flavoring.[12]

    Hello,you prob won’t answer since this is old but anyone is welcome to.
    Quick how can you fast for 5 whole months?
    I am new to this but do you mean water fasting?
    How are you still alive:P

    The word fasting is used on this website by the majority of us to refer to “fast days” when we eat either no calories (some find it easier not to eat anything) or 500/600 calories.

    yeah but still isn’t the second dangerous?
    I read a woman died from like 2 month fasting,it is on the daily mail if you google it.
    And it is not like she was thin she had a lot of weight to lose.

    No it is not dangerous. Our bodies store enough glycogen which is a form of energy in our liver to last for at least 24 hours and for those of us trying to lose weight there is plenty of body fat that is utilised when we don’t eat which is the point of the exercise.

    Have you never been ill and not eaten for a day or two? I have on several occasions and I always made a complete recovery. Our bodies are much more sophisticated than many give them credit for and they know how to cope when food is absent for a short period of time.

    Not eating for a long period of time is completely different to not eating for one or two days.

    Lengthy fasts should only be undertaken with medical supervision.

    I would also suggest exercising caution over the veracity of articles in the tabloid press.

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