For many people on the keto diet, there are really only two drink options (that aren’t protein shakes or smoothies): water or coffee. Even amongst coffee drinkers on the keto diet, people are split. There are individuals who swear by drinking their coffee black, while others yet prefer to make fat heavy coffee blends like bulletproof coffee that can be a full blown breakfast meal replacement. But is coffee keto?
Let’s take an in-depth look in order to find out.
What Makes Coffee a Popular Choice for Low Carb Diets?
There are a few main reasons why coffee is such a popular drink choice for people following low carb diets. Here are some of the most common reasons:
- Coffee, much like water, contains almost no calories when served black.
- Coffee beans are rich in natural antioxidants that can help protect against various types of disease.
- It can also help speed up your metabolism, which can help with weight loss goals.
- It’s easy to make coffee even more keto-friendly by adding ingredients like MCT oil and melted butter in order to make beverages like bulletproof coffee.
- Coffee also provides many hundreds of millions of people all over the globe with a steady stream of energy on a daily basis thanks to its caffeine content.
Is Coffee Keto?
So let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. Is coffee keto?
Well, on its own, coffee is 100% keto-friendly. After all, it’s pretty much zero calorie with no carbs anywhere in sight. On top of that, caffeine can help to curb your appetite, rev up your metabolism, and help with achieving weight loss goals while following the keto diet.
Where coffee starts to become a gray area on the keto diet is if you start to load it up with things like milk and sugar (or worse yet, regularly consuming beverages from coffee chains like Starbucks where you’re basically getting liquid dessert instead of coffee).
With that being said, you don’t necessarily have to drink your coffee black in order for it to be keto-friendly.
Many keto dieters like to add ingredients like heavy cream, or even MCT oil and melted butter to make bulletproof coffee, and still remain in ketosis. Many people who dislike how bitter black coffee can taste use this option while on the keto diet and it still works just fine.
Coffee Nutrition Facts
Coffee on its own with no added creamers or sweeteners won’t have much of an effect on your daily macros, as you’ll see with this nutritional breakdown for a one cup serving size of a typical medium roast coffee blend (served black):
- 1 calorie
- 0 grams fat
- 0.3 grams protein
- 0 grams carbs
- 0 grams dietary fiber
- 0 grams sugar
- 0 mg cholesterol
- 4.7 mg sodium
- 116.1 mg potassium
Keto Coffee Recipes
Coffee Health Benefits
Coffee is also widely known to provide some pretty impressive health benefits. Here are a few of the main ones that coffee can provide you with:
- May help to protect against disease. Coffee is rich in antioxidants and other compounds that have been found to help protect against many types of chronic diseases. Studies have shown that coffee can help protect against type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and even certain types of cancers. (1)(2)(3)(4)
- Improved energy levels. Coffee is well known to help with boosting energy levels. It isn’t just the caffeine that helps provide this boost though; coffee is also rich in essential micronutrients like B-complex vitamins, manganese, and potassium that help to provide a steady stream of energy along with the caffeine content.
- May help to relieve symptoms of depression. There is a significant amount of evidence that drinking coffee on a daily basis can help many individuals to manage symptoms of depression. Two studies are particularly noteworthy; one found that women who drank at least 4 cups of coffee per day were 20% less likely to become depressed, while another found that men who drank at least 4 cups daily were a whopping 53% less likely to die via suicide. (5)(6)
Keto Coffee Alternatives
Coffee isn’t for everyone; some people just dislike the taste or perhaps they’re sensitive to the caffeine content. In any case, here are a few viable keto coffee alternatives that you can try; we’ve included both caffeinated drink options, as well as caffeine-free options for an all-natural energy boost:
- Black tea
- Green tea
- Matcha tea
- Green smoothies
- Fresh pressed juice
(Read next: 14 Best Keto Coffee Recipes, Brands and Creamers)