If you’re like most people, you like to include a cup of coffee in your day.

Caffeine, found in coffee, is the most widely used stimulant across the world, and the vast majority of Americans are drinking at least one cup per day.

So how does this stack up for you, someone who’s following a ketogenic diet?

What does it mean for your progress and health?

There are some interesting factors to consider when thinking about caffeine and ketosis. We’ll cover these so you can make a decision whether to have coffee with your breakfast or a glass of water instead.

Caffeine and Ketosis

First, you may wonder if caffeine has any impact on being in ketosis. Could it kick you out of ketosis?

The answer is no.

Caffeine on its own may actually help to raise ketone levels in the body, thus could actually help you stay in ketosis better than without it.

Research published in the Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology has noted that those who took either a 2.5 or a 5.0 mg/kg dose of caffeine with their breakfast showed higher levels of ketones in their bloodstream than those who didn’t.

This is a fairly hefty dose of caffeine by any right, but you should still derive some benefits even if you use a lower dose with your meals.

Keep in mind though, if you pour yourself up a cup of coffee and then add two packets of sugar and some milk to it, you are definitely no longer going to be in ketosis. This is not a keto-friendly beverage, so must be avoided.

The Advent of Bullet Proof Coffee

Which now brings us to our next point, bulletproof coffee.

If you’ve hung around in keto or paleo dieting circles long enough, chances are good you’ve heard of the term Bulletproof coffee before.

This is a drink that has become very popular by those on the keto diet as a means of staying in ketosis and quickly getting their fat intake up.

This beverage involves combining a cup of black coffee with butter and/or medium-chain triglyceride oil. It results in a cup of coffee that’s full of healthy fats and caffeine to keep you energized for hours to come.

Before you rush off to make this coffee drink, however, do keep in mind that because it is so high in dietary fat and calories, it’s often not advisable for those who are trying to lose weight.

So if your goal with the ketogenic diet is weight loss, you may not want to go this route, unless you don’t mind making your other meals of the day lower in fat.

Black coffee may be your better choice. But if you are looking to maintain your weight or even gain weight, then bulletproof coffee can dramatically help out.

Caffeine and Blood Sugar

Another thing to keep in mind when thinking about how caffeine and the ketogenic diet go hand in hand is how it will impact blood sugar levels.

Here the research suggests that caffeine can negative effects on blood sugar levels, which could then have the effect of making it harder for you to get and stay in ketosis as well.

If you are following a proper ketogenic diet and are not eating many carbohydrates in your diet, you aren’t going to have much to make blood glucose rise with.

So in this scenario, chances are the caffeine won’t be that detrimental.

But if your body hasn’t fully adapted to being in ketosis yet, or you’re eating a meal that contains some carbohydrates, this may be a good reason to consider forgoing caffeine.

Everyone else following the ketogenic diet will simply want to keep their caffeine intake to moderate levels. Don’t drink five cups of coffee a day – keep it to one only and you should be okay.

Caffeine and Hunger

One area where caffeine does shine is that it can help you combat hunger pains. Those who drink coffee will likely find that they aren’t as hungry after that coffee as those who don’t, so if you’re struggling with your diet and hunger, this may help.

Being in ketosis on its own is going to naturally help suppress hunger dramatically, so if you add caffeine in there, you may find that you nearly forget to eat. It can be a powerful way to make sticking to a reduced-calorie diet plan easier.

Adding Caffeine to Your Diet

Coffee is going to be the primary way that most people add caffeine to their diet plan, but do keep in mind you can consume it through other sources as well.

Chocolate is obviously going to be out (since it isn’t keto-friendly). However, other good sources include black tea, green tea, and calorie-free energy drinks.

Generally speaking, unless you are drinking espresso’s, you’ll get the most concentrated dose of caffeine from energy drinks followed by coffee and then tea.

You can also find caffeine in many pre-workout products, so if you are someone who’s exercising regularly, this might be another way to take it in.

Do keep in mind these products can have very high levels of caffeine, often verging on 250-400 mg per serving. If you are going to use these, make sure that you limit your consumption of caffeine from other choices.

Our Verdict

Overall, our verdict is that if you want some caffeine while on your ketogenic diet, then have it. Just be careful of the form it comes in, and keep it to moderate levels. It’s very easy to overdo caffeine because of its addictive nature.

You start out only having one cup of coffee per day, but after a month, that coffee no longer gives you the energy boost it used to so you increase it to two cups per day. Then it’s three cups and next thing you know, you have to do a full detox in order to get yourself off caffeine.

Caffeine is a drug, so treat it as such.

Moderation and wise consumption will be key to long-term safety and well-being. But when used correctly, it can lead to greater success on the ketogenic diet plan.

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] Cheraskin, Emanuel, et al. “Effect of caffeine versus placebo supplementation on blood-glucose concentration.” The Lancet 289.7503 (1967): 1299-1300.

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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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