If you’re following a strict ketogenic diet, you may be wondering whether caffeine is a substance you should be taking in.

You love your cup of coffee each day and the last thing you want to do is have that cut out on.

So can you have caffeine on a regular basis?

Is it permissible when trying to get and stay in ketosis?

Let’s look at a few of the key points on how caffeine is going to potentially impact your ability to get and stay in ketosis optimally. Additionally, let’s see how it works with the diet to help you achieve better results.

Caffeine Increases Ketone Bodies

First, it’s important to know the impact that caffeine has on ketone bodies in the body.

Regardless of whether you are on a ketogenic diet or not, your body will be producing some ketone bodies at rest. It produces a whole lot more of them if you are eating a very low carb diet, but everyone will be producing at least some in their system.

When you take caffeine, the effects tend to amplify.

Recently, a study was published where researchers had tested three groups consuming the following:

  1. No caffeine
  2. The caffeine in one cup of coffee
  3. Or they took caffeine pills that were equivalent to four cups of coffee

They did this with breakfast and that breakfast included 85 grams of carbohydrates.

What did the researchers find?

They noted that those subjects who had the highest level of caffeine also had the highest level of ketones in their system.

The high caffeine group’s intake of ketones was dramatically enhanced compared to the low intake group’s level of ketones so we can see that caffeine does have noticeable impacts.

And, this is all while the group was consuming those 85 grams of carbohydrates. Obviously if you are following the keto plan, you are not going to be consuming anywhere near 85 grams, therefore your ketone levels will already be significantly higher.

So in essence, caffeine can help you go deeper into ketosis and help produce the energy that your body needs to utilize to function optimally.

Caffeine And Lipolysis

Another area that needs to be address is how caffeine impacts fat burning (otherwise known as lipolysis) while on the ketogenic diet. Many people who are using this diet are using it as a means of losing body weight, therefore it will be of interest how caffeine can help you achieve this.

First, note that caffeine does increase your resting metabolic rate. When you consume caffeine, which is a stimulant in the body, it’s going to increase ever reaction taking place, which means the sum of how much energy you burn all day long increases.

Beyond that though, when you consume caffeine, it’s going to have the effect of stopping the deactivation of a substance called cAMP in the body, which essentially transfers hormones into the cells.

In this case, this helps ensure that you are continually moving a hormone called hormone sensitive lipase into the fat cells, and this hormone is what activates the process of lipolysis.

So in more basic words when you have caffeine in your blood stream, you stop the substance that puts the breaks on fat burning and end up burning more fatty acids all day long.

This then helps you see better results with your fat loss diet plan. However do keep in mind that you do still need to be eating a lower carbohydrate diet to see these benefits.

While consuming caffeine and eating a carbohydrate rich diet may still help you see some weight loss results, the minute insulin spikes is the minute that hormone sensitive lipase stops being produced, so then this blunts the entire system altogether.

So the moral of the story here is that caffeine plus low carb diets – the ketogenic diet – go hand in hand to produce peak results for fat burning.

Caffeine And Fatty Acid Utilization

Another way that caffeine can benefit those who are using a ketogenic diet is that it simply helps with the utilization of fatty acids as a fuel source.

The body prefers to use glucose as an energy source. Glucose is the primary source of fuel we have been designed to use, however we can tap into fatty acids when the situation warrants it.

The ketogenic diet is what prompts your body to do this. But even then, it doesn’t do it incredibly well.

Caffeine however, makes it do it better.

When you consume, your body is more readily able to break down fats from the fat cells, converting them to free fatty acids in the blood, where the liver will eventually convert those into ketones.

So this means that caffeine could help bring you more energy while on the ketogenic diet, even beyond what the caffeine itself is going to help out with.

We all know that caffeine alone gives us a nice kick when we need it in the morning, but adding caffeine to the ketogenic diet takes this one step further.

Caffeine And Blood Glucose

Some people who are part of the ketogenic diet community claim that caffeine raises blood glucose levels, therefore could potentially kick you out of ketosis. As such, they avoid it at all costs.

What’s the deal there?

While there are some studies that show this, there are also studies that show the opposite. The determining facts are going to be your own physiology, what type of foods you are eating, and how much caffeine you are consuming.

As long as you are taking in reasonable amounts and sticking with your proper ketogenic diet, you should not run into problems of this nature.

This said, it’s always important to test your own body and see how it reacts as well as that will be critical in dictating how you should go forward with coffee in your diet plan.

So there you have the key points to know and remember about the ketogenic diet and caffeine. Used wisely, it does support your efforts of being in ketosis and seeing success on this diet plan.

Related Reads:

Keto Coffee: Does It Actually Work?

Top 10 Best Keto Coffee Creamers

Keto Bulletproof Coffee Recipe

How Does Caffeine Affect The Ketogenic Diet?

References:

[1] Vandenberghe, Camille, et al. “Caffeine intake increases plasma ketones: an acute metabolic study in humans.” Canadian journal of physiology and pharmacology 95.4 (2016): 455-458.
[2] Acheson, Kevin J., et al. “Caffeine and coffee: their influence on metabolic rate and substrate utilization in normal weight and obese individuals.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 33.5 (1980): 989-997

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Shannon Clark holds a degree in Exercise Science from the University of Alberta, where she specialized in Sports Performance and Psychology. In addition to her degree, she is an AFLCA certified personal trainer and has been working in the field for over 12 years now, helping others lose weight, build muscle, and improve their athletic performance. She’s worked with people of all ages and helped them find the right fitness path for themselves. She is a regular contributor to Bodybuilding.com and has also contributed well over 400 articles to a variety of different websites dedicated towards muscle building and athletic performance. For more about her, find her at ShannonClarkFitness.com.

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