The list of drinks you should avoid is long when you're strictly following keto guidelines. It includes soda, juice, smoothies, energy drinks, sweetened iced tea, and beer. Milk isn't explicitly banned, but it contains so many carbohydrates that just one cup consumes about half of the diet's daily net carb allocation.
What can you drink on keto? The list is much shorter: water, coffee, unsweetened tea, and wine. Some diet sodas are okay, but they are discouraged.
You're right, it is - but that's not the point of "keto coffee". Keto coffee contains additional ingredients, especially butter and/or certain types of oils, designed to help the body burn fat and lose weight faster and more efficiently.
If this sounds odd — no doubt, if you're not familiar with the ketogenic guidelines — it helps to understand how the ketogenic diet works.
So let's look at the basics. After that, the whole idea of keto coffee should make more sense. (Spoiler alert: it might be delicious.)
What is Keto Coffee?
What is Ghee?
Ghee is highly concentrated clarified butter; the water and milk solids have been removed, so what's left is "cream fat". Ghee is commonly used in Indian cooking, but also in French recipes; you can buy it in any good supermarket, or you can make your own.
Ghee has slightly more calories than butter, but more importantly, it has a higher concentration of fat -- no unhealthy trans fats. It also contains high levels of healthy Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. Ghee should be eaten in moderation due to its calorie and cholesterol content, but it is the perfect addition to a ketogenic diet.
Now, back to our regularly scheduled keto coffee content.
What Goes Into Keto Coffee?
When you have a cup of coffee in the morning and don't like black coffee, you usually add milk, cream, and/or sugar. None of these apply to keto.
Sugars are nothing but soluble carbohydrates and are strictly forbidden on a ketogenic diet. (With the exception of raw stevia, monk fruit extract, and erythritol, most artificial and sugar-free sweeteners have also been phased out.) Milk is as high in carbohydrates as most commercially sold coffee creamers, so they are not chosen.
The cream is fine for those on keto, as long as it's heavy cream (sometimes sold as whipped cream) and used in moderation because of its calories. However, it's not an ideal keto supplement because cream still contains carbs, which can add up quickly if you're not careful. Dairy-free milk like coconut and almond milk is acceptable but doesn't contribute as much fat as keto coffee.
This brings us to the oil, butter, and ghee mentioned at the beginning of this section. Any of these can reduce the bitterness of regular coffee, as can milk, cream, and sugar. But they also superpower dieters' fat consumption.
Not just any oil will do. Keto coffee is made with something called MCT oil, which stands for medium-chain triglycerides. Without delving into the science, the structure of MCT oils allows them to be absorbed without going through the digestive process, making them a direct source of energy. Additionally, MCT oil can be converted to ketones in the liver (remember that?).
MCT oil also has additional health benefits. It minimizes or reverses metabolic syndrome, has strong anti-inflammatory properties, and has been shown to improve performance during exercise. In short, it's a great addition to your diet, ketogenic diet, and ketogenic coffee. Coconut oil is the most commonly used MCT oil.
Not all butter is the same either. Keto emphasizes grass-fed butter, which comes from cows fed grass rather than grain. It's essentially raw fat with no carbohydrates, protein, or sugar; it's higher in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins than regular butter. Grass-fed butter is one of the best healthy fats for ketogenic diet consumers.
So we have black coffee, ghee, grass-fed butter, and MCT coconut oil. Let's make some keto coffee.
Making Keto Coffee
There are several ways to make keto coffee. In fact, there are several terms used to describe keto coffee, and they don't all describe the same thing. Let's start by sorting out the wording.
Bulletproof coffee is the most common phrase used as a synonym for keto coffee. Actually, it's a brand name.
David Asprey founded Bulletproof Coffee in 2008 (and trademarked the name) after creating and promoting his own version of keto coffee. He was inspired by tasting yak butter tea in Tibet and came up with a recipe that quickly developed into a product, a retail business, and even a bulletproof coffee cafe. His products are available on the Bulletproof website and on Amazon.
The word literally means Asprey's "Bulletproof Coffee" recipe, a blend of his own brand of ground coffee (he also sells coffee beans), ghee or grass-fed butter, and his brand of "Brain Octane Oil," which is A pure MCT coconut oil.
Still, keto dieters generally describe all keto coffee as bulletproof. Another name it often uses is "butter coffee" for obvious reasons.
You may have noticed that we said that the ingredients in Bulletproof Coffee are mixed. There's a good reason for this: coffee is made with water, and MCT oil is oil. Remember what you learned in high school science class? Oil and water do not mix. The only way to combine them to make a keto coffee is to mix the ingredients at high speed, which will leave a creamy foam on top of the coffee (like the foam on a latte).
You can use a standard blender, but an easier way is to use an immersion blender or milk frother to create the creaminess of your keto coffee. There is also less cleanup to do; be careful when mixing hot liquids.
OK, we're finally ready to check out the keto coffee recipe.
The Basic Keto Coffee Recipe
The basic recipe for keto coffee is simple once you have the necessary ingredients. mix:
- a cup of hot coffee
- 1-2 tablespoons MCT coconut oil
- 1-2 tablespoons ghee unsalted grass-fed butter
That's easy. Once you try it a few times, the flavor builds on you too.
You can add collagen powder for added health benefits and energy, vanilla extract or cinnamon for flavor, or even cocoa powder for a mocha - essentially, play around with making your keto coffee just the way you want. Way to taste, as long as all ingredients are keto-friendly.
Another Keto Coffee Option
Over the past few years, an increasing number of packaged and prepared foods have become available to keto dieters. One of them is delicious keto coffee, which is super low in carbs and packed with protein.
Super Coffee is made from 100% Arabica beans sourced from organic growers in Colombia - but the similarities to regular coffee don't end there. It contains MCT coconut oil, zero-carb monk fruit sweetener, and lactose-free whey protein to cream your coffee without using milk. One gram of carbs, ten grams of protein, extra health benefits - it tastes like coffee should taste, delicious. Making your own keto coffee is easy. It's easier and simple to start.
Is Keto Coffee Bad For You?
Keto coffee can help you speed up weight loss while on a keto diet while providing additional health benefits. However, the oils, butter, and/or ghee used to make keto coffee also have nutritional drawbacks.
For example, a cup of Bulletproof coffee may contain more saturated fat than the USDA recommends for an entire day. Drinking a cup of keto coffee for breakfast may keep you full until lunch (or later), but it won't help you get the nutrients you usually get from a healthy breakfast.
The good news: Ketogenic coffee is a healthy and beneficial addition to a ketogenic diet in moderation.
Bad news: It's low in nutrients, high in saturated fat, and high in cholesterol.
Bottom line: If you're not on a ketogenic diet, or you "too much like" the taste and the energy it provides, it's probably not the right choice for you.
Of course, it's always a good idea to consult your doctor before starting a ketogenic diet or any type of low-carb diet.