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Coffee Revisited


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So that unreliable, cherry picking Dr. Greger did a new video on coffee that raises some interesting possibilities:


For those of you that want to find out if you are a fast or slow metabolizer of caffeine - this is possible, but you will need an HRV monitor. Here is a protocol you could use:



(Note that you can do other interesting things with HRV monitors to tweak your health if you missed prior discussion on that subject). You will want to use the free app "Elite HRV" coupled with one of the bluetooth HRV monitors they recommend, all the details were described previously here:



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If you've gotten your (partial) genome sequenced via 23andMe, you can check if you are a fast or slow caffeine metabolize via this link.

If your genotype is A/A for the SNP rs762551 (like mine), you are a "fast metabolizer" of caffeine and are likely to enjoy the positive effects of coffee consumption that Dr. Greger discusses.


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I'm an A/A too - but I have no idea what my wife is (she's never had her genome sequenced). We're both coffee drinkers. My wife is a much bigger consumer of coffee than me, driking throughout the day. I limit myself to between 3 and 5 PM, usually once a day, rarely more - though I do consume quite a bit at a sitting, some 4-6 cups (straight, black or Dean's Witches Brew). But our reactions to coffee differ slightly. She suffers from withdrawal if no coffee is available. I can easily give up coffee with no ill effects, like when I go camping for two weeks for example. If I miss a coffee day, I don't even notice it. I can drink coffee, even strong multiple esspressos very late in the evening (like at a party), and have zero problems falling asleep. I can drink a lot of coffee and don't become jittery. Also, do you have the asparagus effect with coffee? I do, very soon after drinking, my urine has a strong coffee smell, wonder how common that is. 

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Interesting video--nicely produced and edited, at least. Not sure about any tangible bennies based on the those papers. 

My own coffee consumption habits--since commencing CR in late 1999-- have varied. Including many consecutive years with no consumption. 

For the past 3 years, consumption has been two cups French press light roast ( with 1T soy milk/cup), upon awaking in the morning. 

Coffee helps with mood , suppresses appetite, and ups thermogenesis (a nice warmup on cold days). That's my bottom line.

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6 hours ago, KHashmi317 said:

Coffee helps with mood , suppresses appetite, and ups thermogenesis (a nice warmup on cold days). That's my bottom line.

...and in the morning it consolidates the inception of the diurnal phase of the circadian cycle

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  • 2 months later...

This is interesting and may (or may not) be beneficial in (fast-metabolizing?) humans:

"Coffee induces autophagy in vivo


Epidemiological studies and clinical trials revealed that chronic consumption coffee is associated with the inhibition of several metabolic diseases as well as reduction in overall and cause-specific mortality. We show that both natural and decaffeinated brands of coffee similarly rapidly trigger autophagy in mice. One to 4 h after coffee consumption, we observed an increase in autophagic flux in all investigated organs (liver, muscle, heart) in vivo, as indicated by the increased lipidation of LC3B and the reduction of the abundance of the autophagic substrate sequestosome 1 (p62/SQSTM1). These changes were accompanied by the inhibition of the enzymatic activity of mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1), leading to the reduced phosphorylation of p70S6K, as well as by the global deacetylation of cellular proteins detectable by immunoblot. Immunohistochemical analyses of transgenic mice expressing a GFP–LC3B fusion protein confirmed the coffee-induced relocation of LC3B to autophagosomes, as well as general protein deacetylation. Altogether, these results indicate that coffee triggers 2 phenomena that are also induced by nutrient depletion, namely a reduction of protein acetylation coupled to an increase in autophagy. We speculate that polyphenols contained in coffee promote health by stimulating autophagy."


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  • 1 month later...

OK, I heard Rhonda Patrick (from FoundMyFitness fame) state that one should not drink black coffee during the fasting period when practicing time-restricted feeding. 

At the same time, there are studies like the one I cited above, which suggest that coffee induces autophagy.

After a brief search, I have not found anything to support Rhonda Patrick's position. It may be my confirmation bias, but I am ignoring her claim (I am also a fast metabolizer according to 23andme and NebulaGenomics)

Is anyone here aware of the reason behind Patrick's claim that coffee reduces the benefits of the fast?

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Coffe was discussed in a podcast with Peter Attia as a guest. Zero fast is maybe the name of the podcast. I remember clearly that one reason which was presented not to drink it is if  the GI tract needs some rest and regeneration. Otherwise there were no main drawbacks always according to Dr Attia.

What I do during Longo's FMD is to drink decaffeinated coffee.

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Actually, she has said this a few times. I just did a search and found someone with the same question pointing to a video where she claims that not only coffee, but herbal tea breaks a fast.

Methinks she is shooting from the hip, but this I wanted to ask the question, in case I am missing something.

I thought that the primary reason one fasts (for health reasons) is to induce autophagy.... Which the polyphenols in coffee (and presumably, tea) apparently induce, according to a few studies I have found (one I posted above).

See her statements around the 2:35 minute point of this long video, which I have not actually watched.


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I can post the link to an interview with her tomorrow when I’m at work (lol), but essentially Rhonda is aiming ‘for the strictest definition of fasting’ which is water only.  I believe those are her exact words and she mentions that even a cup of tea requires action by the liver which is (in some way) less than a perfect fast.


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In the context of time-restricted eating,  there  has been concern about coffee/caffeine  effects on the circadian clock and on metabolism.

For the general fasting/circadian clock theory,  see:

Fasting, circadian rhythms, and time restricted feeding in healthy lifespan  (2016)
PMID: 27304506

I haven't had time to look into it deeply,  but I found this from Dr. Satchidananda  Panda:


INTERVIEWER: So if a person, for example, that wakes up in the morning, drinks black coffee at 7:00 am. They wake up, have some black coffee at 7:00 am. But they don’t eat anything, they don’t eat their first bite of food until…

DR SATCHIN PANDA: 10:00 or 11:00.

INTERVIEWER: Yeah, something. Then when do they have to stop eating by? Like, is it when the coffee started or is it when they ate the food?

DR SATCHIN PANDA: Yeah, so this is a question we also get through the app a lot. And we actually posted a blog on our website. So here is a very different thing. So since we look at circadian rhythm as a whole, it has a sleep component, food component, exercise or activity component. And we know that caffeine resets the body clock.

So, for example, drinking a cup of coffee is similar to having exposure to bright light for an hour or hour and a half. So that’s just on the circadian clock itself. Now the question is, “Well, will it reset that clock the same way if the coffee comes in the morning versus evening or night?” And we know that there is a term called phase response curve. So that means the same light, it relates to light. The same light will reset the clock differently at different times of the day.

During daytime when our system is expecting light, if we’re in a dark room and we see light it doesn’t reset our clock. But in nighttime it will reset our clock. So we don’t know what is the phase response curve for coffee, whether it resets much more at certain time and less at other time, the direct impact of coffee on clock is unknown.

Then the second thing that relates to coffee is sleep because coffee definitely suppresses sleep in a lot of people, some people may be resistant. And the reason why we drink coffee is we wake up, we get up from the bed, but we maybe are still feeling sleepy. We want to get that extra energy, that’s why we drink coffee.

And along that line, of course, drinking coffee at night is a straight no-no because it will have impact on sleep. But in the morning we ask the other question, “Are you drinking coffee because you did not rest well, you did not rest enough?” So maybe that’s why you need coffee to reset your mental clock, or brain clock, to start it. And sometimes it can be just a pure habit or addiction. For example, I used to like coffee in the morning, and then I realized, “Well, let’s get rid of coffee. What happens?” Maybe for the first two or three days I got a headache, and then now I’m used to drinking just hot water. It’s just the feeling of sipping something from a sippy cup. It’s almost like a baby sipping something from a sippy cup. And I realized that that’s what I was addicted to.

I can actually substitute coffee with hot water and nothing changed. I still felt energetic after my hot water and I realized that that was my addiction. After I got over the first two days of headache, yeah, withdraw symptoms.

And then the real — the question of metabolism. When we drink coffee, is it going to trigger metabolism or certain things in our gut so that the gut will think, “Well, now I have to start working, the rest is over”? And we think that’s where the metabolism or the function of the gut to absorb, or digest this coffee, send that caffeine to liver, and then to brain does kick start right after we drink coffee. Because that’s how we are feeling the effect of coffee in the rest our body, because the stomach started working, it absorbed coffee, it sent it to liver, liver might have metabolized it slightly and started to send it to the rest of the brain and body. And then it gets back to kidney, it gets metabolized and excreted.

So then the question is, forget about circadian clock, now if we think about just metabolism and, say, mitochondria function, or even, say, go back to autophagy, and then ask, “Is caffeine breaking the fasting so that it stops autophagy, or it stops something else? Or is there a crosstalk between, say, caffeine receptor and glucagon receptor so that it does?” No, fasting is kind of slightly over. You may not be in 100% fast, but in 40% or 50% fast. So that’s where things become murky, so that’s why we say, “Well, if you can, drink your coffee within this 8-hour, 10-hour, it’s better.”

But at the same time we know, going back to the study that we discussed, Ruth Patterson study, they did not consider coffee as food. So when they considered 13 hours overnight fasting, that 13 hours actually included coffee and tea. So in that we know for cancer, reducing breast cancer risk, this 13 hours of fasting can include coffee, black coffee, and tea. So this is where things are really murky. And we tend to error on the safe side, so we tell, well, if you can have that coffee within your eating window, that’s much better. If you can’t, then just have black coffee. At least that will not trigger your insulin response or glucose response. So that’s what we do, we recommend.

INTERVIEWER: Just sort of as a side note because you mentioned it, I recently spoke with Dr Guido Kroemer [a co-author of the paper Ron cited], who is an expert on autophagy, and he was telling me about a study he had published a few years ago where the specific polyphenols in coffee, decaf or caffeinated. So irrespective of caffeine, it’s just it’s the polyphenols. They triggered protein de-acidulation, which is one of the triggers for autophagy. So it actually increased autophagy.

DR SATCHIN PANDA: Increased autophagy, yeah. So that’s why we never know, because coffee, or any natural compound, has so many different ingredients that we don’t know the activity. And many of them can have very different effects. When we think of food, we have mostly — the nutrition science, or most of the scientists, are latched onto the effect of protein, carbohydrates, and fat. We discount a lot of xenobiotic. And actually our food is, the majority of it is xenobiotic. And we have no idea what do they do, either alone or in combination.

INTERVIEWER: Right. Actually that’s another question I printed out some, but that is a question that’s frequently asked by people in the audience is, like, things that are xenobiotic, like herbal tea, even, I guess, to some degree people are asking about flavored water. So water that would contain, for example, like or stevia or something, does that start the clock? And I think you’ve kind of answered that a little bit.

DR SATCHIN PANDA: Yeah. So in that way it may not stop the clock and, also, for your insulin response it’s not actually triggering the pancreas to secrete extra insulin. You know, insulin is an anabolic hormone, so it’s not actually putting our body into a strong anabolic drive. So in that way, in many ways, it’s okay to have this non-calorie-containing food.

But then it gets murkier once we go to, say, Diet Coke or something else where there is artificial sweetener, and then we know that the artificial sweeteners have an impact on gut microbiome. And that’s where things become murky. And these are very practical questions, but at the same time we don’t foresee that even there will be any controlled clinical trial to assess the effect of these nutraceuticals or even things that we take for granted on a daily basis.

So this is where, again, the N of one experiment, self-experimentation of yourself, trying different kinds of behavior intervention where you switch from water to flavored water and does it make you feel different. I mean it’s not only weight gain. One has to assess sleep, activity, feeling alert, feeling productive.

INTERVIEWER: Maybe measuring your fasting blood glucose levels.

DR SATCHIN PANDA: Blood glucose level if you have a continuous glucose monitoring system. And so this is where strongly this self-experimentation by informed citizens who are very careful, they’re not really — they don’t have any adverse metabolic disease. And, again, I’m not promoting that everyone should start doing self-experimentation. People are doing it. But as least whatever they’re seeing they should share.

INTERVIEWER: Yeah, they could share it with myCircadianClock.

DR SATCHIN PANDA: Yeah. So even if they put some notes in the feedback section, then we’ll compile all of those, and then that will help us to take informed decision about animal experiments. At least we can go back to animals and say, “At least in animals we have tested this, this is how it works.” And in the future maybe that will trigger some.

INTERVIEWER: Or maybe you’ll get 10 people to come back and say, “Oh, I started drinking my, Diet Coke in my fasting window and all of a sudden my blood glucose level started to get worse.” So you’ll have multiple people telling you this. Well, maybe there’s something to that. But, you know, people are asking about things, like even supplements. And I think, like, you know, again, you’ve answered that we don’t, you know are you taking fish oil? Is it a fatty acid? I mean maybe.

There’s lots of things here because that is — So if you’re taking a fish oil supplement, then what do you think? That’s different than taking, for example, vitamin D?

DR SATCHIN PANDA: Well, it’s a question of — I like to compare this to, say, physical activity. Somebody is completely sedentary. For that person going for a walk, whether it’s in the morning or evening or midnight doesn’t matter because this person is getting some benefit of physical activity. Similarly, if somebody is very low on vitamin D or needs that fish oil supplement, then what time the person takes doesn’t matter because that deficiency is getting corrected.

DR SATCHIN PANDA: So that’s true. But then if someone now dials it slightly higher and says, “Well, you know, I want to have this protein drinks that’s 25 grams of protein after my exercise late at night. Is it okay?” Then that’s where I’ll say, “Well, then that’s going to affect your gluconeogenesis and muscle recovery. And maybe if you have done a very strenuous exercise, if you’re training for, like, Ironman or something like that, yes, you have to have that to recover.

INTERVIEWER: Yeah. So that was actually a question I think people were — Someone was asking about weight training at night, if that would counter. If they, you know, eat late at night after weight training, if that would counter. And I think that’s kind of pushing it a little bit.

DR SATCHIN PANDA: Yeah, that’s pushing a little bit. Which is kind of what you’re saying. And, again, it depends on your training schedule and other stuff, what do you want to get the most out of it. Like, for example, if you’re used to training late at night and having that protein and carb drink right after that, what if you do a little self-experimentation and move that to, say, 5:00 or 6:00 and see whether it actually helps you do one extra pushup or to go for another five minutes, or is it actually compromising your performance.

So, again, it’s very personal. And then some of these very kind of athletes who are pushing themselves to the limit, they want to squeeze the last drop of performance out of it. And for them I think self-experimentation is the best way because there is no way we as scientists, we can do that kind of study in our labs with a number of subjects who are as competent as them, and then controlling for everything. So it would be very difficult.





Rhonda Patrick Interviews:

Guido Kroemer (does not shoot from the hip!)


Dr. Satchin Panda on Time-Restricted Feeding and Its Effects on Obesity, Muscle Mass & Heart Health


Dr. Satchin Panda on Practical Implementation of Time-Restricted Eating & Shift Work Strategies

Guido Kroemer Papers:

Essential role for autophagy in life span extension (2015)


Caloric restriction mimetics: natural/physiological pharmacological autophagy inducers (2014)


Caloric Restriction Mimetics Enhance Anticancer Immunosurveillance (2016)


Pro-autophagic polyphenols reduce the acetylation of cytoplasmic proteins (2012)


Edited by Sibiriak
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Thanks Sibiriak,

Ron, all,

The Rhonda Patrick interview I referred to was by Tim Ferriss (you can find online)

Rhonda also references Panda's work wrt coffee and fasting; from the interview:

"What makes humans diurnal creatures is the presence of an internal clock in the brain referred to as the suprachiasmatic nucleus, or SCN for short. The part of this internal clock that interacts with the external cue of light, the SCN, is also referred to as the master oscillator. But light isn’t actually the only external cue we have, we also have food influencing what are known as peripheral oscillators that occur in peripheral tissues such as the liver and influence metabolism. Whereas light is the major cue for circadian rhythm, timing of food intake regulates circadian rhythm in peripheral tissues as well. This fact sort of helps to explain why time-restricted eating as it’s defined by Dr. Panda’s work and that of others begins with the eating period with the very first bite or drink of ANYTHING non-water, because even compounds that exist in black coffee such as caffeine, can be reasonably expected to produce metabolic effects that influence these peripheral oscillators, including activity in the liver. Everything from making neurotransmitters, to insulin, to glucose transport inside of cells, to oxidizing fatty acids, to repairing damage is on a 24-hour cycle clock that is influenced by these external cues involving metabolism. To sort of illustrate the importance of circadian rhythm: these clocks regulate thousands and thousands of genes which is somewhere in the neighborhood of around 10 to 15% of the expressed human genome, which means that our basic metabolic physiology is meant to be tuned to behave differently depending on the time of day that is. Even the bacteria that we harbor in our guts have a circadian rhythm with the species of bacteria changing according to the time of day. Some bacteria dominate during the morning and others during the evening. Unfortunately, with the invention of artificial lighting and varying work schedules it has extended people’s eating times to occur much later in the evening and this can have very negative consequences."

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10 hours ago, Sibiriak said:

Diet Coke or something else where there is artificial sweetener, and then we know that the artificial sweeteners have an impact on gut microbiome.

Hi Sibiriac!

That quote is very dubious -- since artificial sweeteners are much sweeter than natural sweeteners.  So if the comparatively small number of, e.g., sucralose, in the gut do help undesirable bacteria and/or archaea thrive (which is likely), the effect is very unlikely to be of any significance.

  --  Saul 

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On 7/22/2019 at 4:44 PM, Clinton said:

...I can post the link to an interview with her tomorrow when I’m at work (lol), but essentially Rhonda is aiming ‘for the strictest definition of fasting’ which is water only.  I believe those are her exact words and she mentions that even a cup of tea requires action by the liver which is (in some way) less than a perfect fast....

Thanks, Clinton.

After this and reading a bit more, I'll stick with my black coffee. Yes, it requires "action" by the liver, byt the liver is in action the whole time, munching up stuff. Adding a bit of black coffee, which according to the study above promotes autophagy, would likely induce increased autophagy, rather than suppress it. Which is the ultimate goal of the fast, right?

Edited by Ron Put
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  • 4 months later...

Thanks, Dean. I read the other thread, and even posted there. :)

But Sibiriak had a good point there, plus I wonder if the metal filter attachment for the Aeropress is not in some ways similar to the filter in a French press? My stainless steel French press has a rather dense filter attachment.

Edited by Ron Put
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As Michael and I discussed in that thread, it appears that metal filters aren't nearly as effective as paper at removing diterpenes from brewed coffee.

I agree Sibiriak's evidence is interesting and those of us with good cholesterol may be different from the general population when it comes to the health effects of different coffee brewing methods. But the point remains that the epidemiological evidence suggests that paper filtered coffee is health promoting while methods that use metal filters (eg espresso or French press) not so much. 


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  • 3 weeks later...

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