The ketogenic diet is a relatively new diet, is recommended for people trying to burn fat, and is also more agreeable to many people’s digestive systems compared to a traditional western diet.
Coffee is one of the most popular hot drinks, and if you’re anything like me you can’t live without it.
So, in this article, I will explain whether you can drink coffee on the ketogenic diet.
Milk does contain carbs, so below I will explain how putting milk, sugar, or other additives into your coffee can affect if coffee will kick you out of ketosis or whether it’s better to drink plain black coffee.
Does Caffeine Affect Ketosis?
Caffeine has benefits for your focus and can wake you up and improve your mood.
Therefore, it’s good to consume caffeine, and provided you don’t drink more than around 4 cups of coffee per day the caffeine in coffee is perfectly fine.
I was curious if caffeine affects ketosis in any way, so I looked into the scientific research on this topic, and here’s what I found.
However, sugar is naturally high in calories.
The main effect of reducing carbs is to limit the number of calories you consume.
Foods that are high in carbs are also high in calories.
So, where possible use sugar substitutes that are low in calories such as stevia.
If you prefer coffee without caffeine, decaf coffee contains about 10% of the caffeine that regular coffee does.
But, overall drinking coffee with caffeine is fine, and won’t kick you out of ketosis.
Neither will decaf coffee.
Another strategy used to maintain ketosis, and is thought to improve your health is intermittent fasting.
It can give your digestive system a period of recovery time that a typical person wouldn’t otherwise get.
What Can I Put In My Coffee That’s Keto?
There are a few things like a good strong coffee in the morning.
But, coffee on its own can be a bit plain, or slightly bitter.
So, putting in a bit of cream or milk to give a creamy taste goes down well.
But, on the keto diet you need to make sure you’re not putting anything into your coffee that will kick you out of ketosis, so here are some things you can put into your coffee that are keto.
The keto diet is known to help reduce weight, and the main premise is to consume a small number of carbs and high-fat foods.
There are also what are called medium-chain triglycerides, these are a type of fat that is processed by the body differently.
It’s believed that medium-chain triglycerides are better for fat loss than normal triglycerides.
The reason is they are broken down and absorbed by the body much faster (source).
So, if you want to give your fat loss the double whammy you can add things to your coffee that are high in medium-chain triglycerides examples are:
- butter: 8% MCTs
- whole milk: 9% MCTs
- palm kernel oil: 54% MCTs
- coconut oil: 55% MCTs
- MCT oil – 100%
The main advantage of these over other things you can add to coffee is that they contain MCTs and healthy fats.
MCTs are broken down by your body to produce fatty acids that are essential to many important functions in your body (source).
Coffee with added fat is a keto-friendly option, and are common ingredients to add to what is known as a bulletproof coffee.
It’s one of a few keto coffee recipes and is named after the keto brand ‘bulletproof’ that invented it.
Here’s a video that shows how to make a bulletproof coffee:
Coconut milk is another additive that contains a good amount of MCTs, however, it doesn’t typically go well with coffee, and is best mixed with fruit juice.
If you prefer iced coffee a bulletproof coffee won’t be good.
Once it cools the fat content goes hard and is a bit disgusting to drink.
The hot water melts these fats and allows them to mix throughout the coffee.
The keto diet is a low carb, high-fat diet and it requires you to keep your carb intake to under about 50 grams of net carbs.
Due to the popularity of the keto diet, there are now keto creamers that you can add to a cup of coffee but this is not the only way.
Natural sweeteners are also a great option as well as sugar-free syrups, and natural flavors like vanilla extract.
This is a common ingredient in keto crack coffee, that is made from natural sweeteners, coffee, whipped cream, and vanilla extract.
There is no strict requirement on what keto drinks are or not and therefore you need to understand the carb and fat content of additives you can put in coffee to determine if it’s keto-friendly or not.
Store-bought generic coffee creamers often have many additives and are also high in carbs and artificial or natural sugar.
I looked into what some healthier options are for coffee creamers and summarized it in this article about macro friendly coffee creamers .
Generally, the best ones are nut milks such as unsweetened almond milk and similar types of milks like soy milk.
A small amount of sugar can be ok but zero carbs is better.
When not doing the keto diet, medical professionals recommend consuming no more than 9 teaspoons of sugar, which is equivalent to about 36 grams of sugar.
Interestingly, this is the same amount of sugar that would equal the total amount of carbs you should consume per day on the keto diet. 9 teaspoons of sugar contain about 50 grams of carbs.
This will give you more flexibility in your diet. Full cream, butter, or ghee are good options for keto coffee drinks.
And they can also be added to black tea, and similar teas like oolong, white tea, and green tea.
Low-carb diets require you to be vigilant about what foods you eat.
And to make the whole process easier it’s best to create a food plan and break down your macros.
This can be done by looking at the nutrition label of foods.
As well as, looking up the specific macros on Google.
Blood sugar levels are not impacted by a good strong coffee.
Diet sodas contain artificial sweeteners that are also used in coffee creamers.
They are your best choice for reducing sugar intake.
Is Coffee with Milk Keto?
At your local coffee shop, coffee is served either with steamed milk or black.
The best way to drink coffee depends on your personal preference but when doing the keto diet you need to monitor your carb intake to maintain a ketogenic metabolic state.
The good news is that heavy cream is lower in carbs than regular milk.
Therefore, it’s a better option to add to a coffee than milk. The cream contains about 75% of the carbs that milk contains.
So it’s a great way to have milky, creamy coffee.
Another common additive to coffee used by keto dieters is butter, specifically grass-fed butter.
This is a well-known craze in the paleo diet and keto diet space known as bulletproof coffee.
It is recommended and consumed as a morning coffee because it contains zero carbs but a tonne of calories.
Surveys have found that most people prefer coffee with milk over plain coffee.
As you may know, roasted coffee beans and ground coffee tend to lose their flavor over time.
But, there are ways of making it last for many years and not go stale.
I explained how to do this in this article about how long coffee lasts.
Does Coffee Stall Weight Loss on Keto?
The keto diet is quite similar to the Atkins diet, and involves consuming fewer carbs.
Caffeinated beverages have the advantage of giving you energy and focus boost.
Fat burning occurs when your body is in a calorie deficit.
Your body then uses up any fat stores for energy rather than the calories you consumed on a particular day.
However, the caffeine in coffee has been shown to affect your rate of metabolism.
As well as, having a range of other health benefits.
This is how fast your body consumes calories.
People with slow metabolism are thought to put on weight more easily than people with a fast metabolism.
However, drinking too much coffee has diminishing returns after about 2 to 3 cups per day.
This is because the caffeine content can have side effects such as diarrhea.
The good news is in fact this does not have any effect and the thing to monitor is your daily calorie intake.
Certain foods are very high in calories such as sugary drinks, energy drinks, and foods with a lot of refined sugar such as donuts.
Natural sugar occurs in fruits, and to a lesser extent in vegetables.
Fruit juice made from sweet fruits is also typically high in natural sugar.
But, the research is so far inconclusive about whether natural sugar found in fruits is bad for you.
And in general fruits and vegetables are low in calories, and are therefore good on the keto diet.
Artificial sweeteners – add them to coffee on keto or not?
Refined sugar is high in calories, and the aim of the keto diet is to reduce calories by reducing high-carb foods.
Therefore, instead of consuming refined sugar, artificial sweeteners called ‘sugar alcohols’ have been developed.
These make food and drink sweet without adding any calories.
If you want to sweeten your coffee these can be a better option, to keep your calories down.
However, some people prefer natural sweeteners such as honey, and monk fruit sweeteners, as they are more natural and not created in a laboratory.