Millions of people enjoy drinking coffee and make it a part of their daily routine. Can it be part of a healthy keto lifestyle as well? I believe the answer is yes, which is a great thing as far as I’m concerned, because I LOVE coffee!
As with most everything, there is some disagreement on whether or not coffee is good for you, bad for you, or somewhere in between. Most experts are in the coffee-is-good-for-you camp.
Let’s first take a look at some of the myths surrounding coffee consumption.
Say It Ain’t So
Some common myths about coffee are:
Coffee dehydrates you. While coffee (and any caffeinated drink for that matter) does have a slightly diuretic affect (meaning it causes you to lose a small amount water and sodium), it is still a liquid and so will not cause you to become dehydrated.
Caffeine causes insomnia. Caffeine is a stimulant, so for some people drinking it too close to bedtime may cause them to have a hard time falling asleep. But it’s completely metabolized by the body in approximately four to seven hours (depending on how much you consumed), so as long as you stop early enough you should be fine.
Coffee stunts your growth. This myth, and several others, are believed to have been started in the early 1900s by a man who was selling a product similar to coffee. In order to compete and boost his own sales, he placed magazine and newspaper ads warning people of the supposed ill-effects of drinking coffee. However, in reality there is no scientific evidence whatsoever to back up any of these claims.
Coffee will help sober you up if you’ve been drinking. While the caffeine in coffee might make you feel a little more alert, it really does nothing to metabolize the alcohol in your system any faster. In fact, it may give a person a false sense of security in that they may think they’re suddenly ok to drive when they’re really not, which can obviously be very dangerous.
You should avoid caffeine if you are pregnant. There is quite a bit controversy on this. Some sources say that a small amount of caffeine (200mg or less, or the equivalent of one cup) won’t hurt. Others say caffeine should be avoided altogether by a pregnant woman because of potential harm to the fetus. I say when in doubt, better to err on the side of caution and either avoid it altogether or opt for a decaffeinated variety. Why take the chance?
I realize that the chances of a woman over 40 being pregnant are not very high. But as a mom who had a baby at 43 years old, I know first hand that it’s not impossible, so I wanted to include this on the list.
Now For The Good News!
Here is a list of some of the benefits of making coffee a part of your keto diet, many of which have been backed up by long-term studies:
~ coffee stimulates metabolism and can help boost weight loss and fat burning
~ improves insulin sensitivity
~ contains multiple antioxidants
~ increases mental alertness and clarity
~ better brain function
~ enhanced long term memory
~ can have a mild laxative effect for some people (though not everyone would consider this to be a good thing!)
~ coffee has been linked to a decrease in the incidence of a long list of diseases including heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, neurological diseases, type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and several types of cancer. And it’s been demonstrated that these benefits increase as we get older.
I rarely see this mentioned, but it turns out that coffee can also be a pretty good source of potassium. I use a 20 oz. coffee mug (none of those teeny little 8 oz. cups for me!). One of these with regular coffee has 290 mg of potassium; an equal amount of decaf has 319! That’s not too shabby, and when you drink as much as I do throughout the day, it really adds up! Coffee also contains some of the B vitamins.
Are some types of coffee better than others? The answer is definitely yes!
First, it’s important to choose organic or biodynamically-grown (that is, sustainably grown in an environmentally-friendly way) varieties. Conventionally-grown coffee is sprayed heavily with pesticides that you’ll want to avoid. These same producers also often destroy many acres of forest land to plant their crop. You can read more about these devastating effects here.
If you’re choosing a decaffeinated variety, look for one that has been water processed so you’ll avoid exposure to the chemicals used in the conventional method of removing the caffeine.
Light or Dark Roast?
If you’re in it purely for the caffeine jolt then lightly roasted beans will do the job best because caffeine content decreases as roasting time becomes longer. But it’s the dark roast coffees that offer the most health benefits because they contain the highest levels of antioxidants.
Another good reason to choose dark roasted varieties is because they have the lowest levels of acrylamide, a substance that’s created when high carbohydrate foods are heated at high temperatures. Acrylamide has been labeled as a probable human carcinogen. While the level spikes early in the bean roasting process, it decreases as that time gets longer.
Bulletproof Coffee – A Keto Favorite
It’s been suggested that adding milk or cream to coffee may decrease the availability of antioxidants and that a better alternative may be to make bulletproof coffee instead. This is coffee to which butter, MCT (medium-chain triglycerides) or coconut oil has been added. Using a blender or milk frother to mix it will emulsify the fat, giving it a bit of a creamy texture that many keto coffee drinkers love! One benefit of drinking bulletproof coffee is that because of the added fat, it doesn’t cause a spike in insulin or blood sugar and will help keep you full between meals.
The pros definitely outweigh the cons when it comes to coffee consumption, so feel free to enjoy! It can most definitely be a great addition to your healthy keto lifestyle.
Keto on, friends, and enjoy the journey!