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When it comes to the keto diet, it can mean giving up the majority of your favorite beverages, including sodas, alcohol, and other types of high carb drinks.

There is one exception to the rule: coffee.

With it’s extremely low caloric content (<5 calories per cup) and an array of health benefits, coffee can be the perfect drink for a multitude of reasons. Just make sure not to get it pumped full of sugar.

From curbing appetite to providing antioxidant benefits, coffee alone can perfectly fit in any diet. Combining coffee with other ingredients such as MCT oil can take things one step further creating a high-fat concoction to help people reach dietary goals.

Keto coffee, also known as butter coffee to some, can be the perfect way to reach ketosis faster while also reaching dietary goals simultaneously.

Let’s take a look at what keto coffee is, along with its benefits. We’ll even give you some helpful recipes so you can make it yourself.

Keto Overview

For those unacquainted with the keto diet, let’s take a bit of a refresher course.

The keto diet is a high-fat, low-carb, moderate-protein diet that switches the body’s natural energy source mechanisms from a glucose-reliant state to running on fat through ketone production.

Your body can store carbohydrates (glucose) in the form of glycogen, which can be found in the liver and muscle. When carbohydrates are eliminated or drastically reduced in one’s diet, the body will use glycogen for energy but there is a very limited supply of this meaning the body is forced to rely upon alternative energy sources—such as fat, which our body stores in large amounts compared to carbs (think adipose tissue).Westman2007

Interestingly, your brain cannot use fat for energy so your body must convert the stored fat into a substrate that your brain can use and this alternative energy source is called ketones or ketone bodies. Ketone bodies are made by your liver and can be shuttled to other tissues and converted to energy that your body can use. Once your blood levels of ketones reach 0.5mM or greater, you have entered a state of ketosis.Laffel1999,Grabacka2016,Anton2018

By following a few simple steps you can turn on your body’s fat burning mechanisms and switch on ketone production. But actually getting into ketosis can happen a couple different ways.

Getting into Ketosis

Although ketosis can appear to be a complicated process to some, it can be achieved by following some simple dietary techniques. There are two forms of ketosis—endogenous and exogenous.

Endogenous ketosis refers to ketones produced naturally in the body happening as a result of a very low carbohydrate diet, caloric restriction, and prolonged exercise. Exogenous ketones come from an external source through ketone supplementation or through other supplements that serve as precursors to ketone bodies such as MCT oil.

Here is how to get into ketosis fast:

  • Eat more healthy fats: foods such as coconut oil, avocado oil, cheese, eggs, and fatty meats like salmon are high-fat keto-friendly foods that can help kickstart ketosis
  • Maintain adequate protein: diets high in fat and moderate-protein can help prevent feelings of hunger while in a caloric deficit and preserve fat free muscle massVerreigen2017
  • Intermittent fasting: is commonly combined with the keto diet as it enhances ketone production while training your body to more easily get into a ketogenic stateAnton2018
  • Supplements: such as MCT oil and/or exogenous ketones can help increase the rate of getting into ketosis

Once you’re in keto, you may experience several health benefits—from mental clarity and energy to satiation and weight loss. It’s easy to see why so many people are trying the keto diet and are happy with the results.

An image of a plate of salmon, showing different methods of how to get into ketosis fast

Benefits of Keto

Think about your nutrition goals. What are they? Do you want to lose weight? Maybe you want to be metabolically flexible (i.e. can “easily” switch into a ketogenic state)? Maybe you want to maintain constant energy levels throughout the day?

These are a few of the benefits often cited by disciples of the keto diet (of course, when the diet is followed correctly).

Keto can do much more than you may have ever been aware of.

Even if you’re not practicing keto for any of the reasons we mentioned above, there are a few medical applications of keto. Perhaps one of the most profound benefits of keto also happens to be how the diet was created. The ketogenic diet was created in the 1920s as a form of treatment for epilepsy.Meira2019

Diabetics can see substantial improvements in symptoms by following the keto diet. A study was performed on twenty-one type 2 diabetic participants who followed the keto diet over the course of four months by consuming less than 20g of carbs per day. The need for medication was eliminated or reduced in seventeen of the twenty-one patients. Body weight also decreased by 6.6%, fasting blood glucose levels decreased, and fasting triglyceride levels decreased by 42%.Yancy2004

Ketogenic diets can be an effective tool for decreasing or treating the symptoms of type 2 diabetes. Although there are limited studies investigating the effects of the keto diet in type 2 diabetics, similar studies have been conducted and have found similar results.Igbal2010,Guldbreand2012,Mayar2014

Low-carbohydrate diets such as keto can also help to suppress appetite.

Individuals that are attempting to lose weight often struggle due to constant hunger pangs; this is normal, given that you’re probably changing eating patterns drastically. Eating a diet high in fat may not only put you in ketosis, but can help suppress ghrelin (the hunger hormone) leading to feelings of fullness.Giibson2015 As a result, individuals looking to lose or maintain weight will be less likely to overeat and can easily stick to their dietary goals.

Obviously, when reducing carbohydrates, weight loss can follow due to a decrease in calories (especially when many of those carbs are processed, sugary foods). But weight loss may happen through another route, through the path of eating less because you feel less hungry from all the fat you’re consuming.

Certain animal studies have even pegged the ketogenic diet as an effective strategy for prolonging life. Research performed on mice has shown that ketogenic diets can improve survival, memory, and healthspan in aging mice.Newman2017 Although these studies were done in animal models, it shows promise for humans as well.

Healthy people on ketosis also report having improved mental clarity and focus along with less brain fog. In one study, when the brain uses ketones as a fuel source, rats demonstrated stronger cognitive skills with an up to 38% better performance on challenging mental tasks.Murray2016 Other animal studies have been done and have shown similar results.Hernandez2018,Xu2010

In one study with 23 adults with mild cognitive impairment, subjects were assigned to either a very low carbohydrate (ketogenic diet, 5-10% calories from carbohydrate) or a high carbohydrate diet (~50% calories from carbohydrate) for 6 weeks. The individuals in the ketogenic diet group showed an increase in memory performance.Krikorian2012 In another study using an elderly human population, consumption of a single ketogenic meal increased cognitive performance as measured by working memory, visual attention, and task switching.Ota2016 If cognitive function can improve after one ketogenic meal meal, imagine what this type of diet can do if you stick to it long-term.

Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting can also be an effective tool to combine with the keto diet due to their overlapping goals and mechanisms. By fasting for a defined period of time (usually 16+ hours per day), the body can tap into stored fat reserves for energy, which can lead to ketone production.

In fact, fasting alone can provide several health benefits as well. There have been various studies performed in animal models that demonstrate how fasting can affect the regulation of certain genes and cellular regeneration (autophagy) that can help increase lifespan.Fontana2016,Golbidi2017,Xie2018,Alderton2018

Intermittent fasting is an easier form of modifying your diet as it simply requires eating less meals throughout the day instead of adhering to a number of different rules related to caloric restriction or the elimination of certain “unhealthy” foods. Other studies have also shown intermittent fasting can decrease fat mass and improve other health factors such as blood lipid levels, glycemic control, insulin levels, blood pressure, and more.Brandhorst2015,Patterson2017,Moro2016

In terms of drinking keto coffee while intermittent fasting, this depends on how strict you are and the eating window you give yourself. Normally, fasting means no consumption of calories (so, stick with black coffee or even tea). However, some people expand the definition slightly, allowing for additions like milk, cream or MCT Oil Powder to their morning keto coffee during their “fasting” window.

Alternatively, you can wait to drink your keto coffee during your eating window (so drink it later in the day) or change your eating window so that you are able to consume calories when you wake up; this however, would mean that you would essentially have to skip dinner every day, which can be difficult for some.

It’s up to you on how to practice intermittent fasting, but the addition of something like an MCT oil to your coffee can absolutely help curb cravings and may help you extend your fast.

What is Keto Coffee?

The first type of keto coffee was invented by a man named Dave Asprey who trademarked a beverage known as “Bulletproof Coffee” in 2009. It later became a part of the “Bulletproof diet” which mirrors the typical ketogenic diet in many ways.

Since then, keto coffee has become a popular drink of choice for individuals following a ketogenic diet and the general population alike.

Keto coffee is generally created by taking a cup of coffee and adding MCT oil or coconut oil to it along with grass-fed butter. You can also add heavy cream, keeping it keto as well.

What separates keto coffee from your prototypical cup of coffee is obviously the addition of healthy fats and the subtraction of other high-carb creamers or sweeteners.

And what separates a keto coffee from a Bulletproof coffee? They’re basically the same thing but if Bulletproof coffee means using the products sold by Dave Asprey’s company, Bulletproof.

Regardless of your preference, the result is a beverage that may provide cognitive and health benefits to help jump start your day.

Benefits of Keto Coffee

Coffee has been used as a cognitive tool for years. Now, keto coffee has taken this age-old drink and turned it up a notch.

But first, let’s take a moment to appreciate the power of coffee alone (and thus, caffeine).

An image of H.V.M.N.'s MCT Oil Powder on a kitchen counter with coffee and butter

Drinking Coffee Alone

Although many people love the smell and taste of coffee, the one reason it’s consumed so often is due to the boost of caffeine. Sure, some people drink decaf, but the vast majority of the population prefers their morning coffee be full-strength caffeine.

The world has had a love-affair with coffee for years.

However, there are several misconceptions about caffeine consumption levels, studies have shown 38mg to 400mg per day to be the most effective range with no health side effects.Ruxton2008

Aside from the cognitive boost, the caffeine in coffee has been shown to be an effective form of weight maintenance through thermogenesis and fat oxidation.Harpaz2017 Many fat loss supplements also contain caffeine for this sole purpose.

Even though coffee may be powerful on its own, creating keto coffee can make it an even more powerful substance by improving upon its already beneficial properties.

What are MCTs?

Before we get into the benefits of MCTs, it helps to understand the basics.

MCT stands for medium-chain triglycerides. Triglycerides are three fatty acid groups bound to a glycerol backbone. In short, they make up the majority of stored body fat in humans and animals, and are found in foods.

Triglycerides are often viewed with a negative connotation in some circles due to their connection with cholesterol and heart disease.

Although some triglycerides pose a certain degree of health risk, MCTs are considered to be some of the healthiest forms of fat around.Mumme2015,StOnge2008,Heijining2017,Clegg2010

There are three types of fatty acids: short-chain, medium-chain, and long-chain. These chain length refer to a specific number of carbon atoms linked together to form these fatty acids.

  • Short-chain fatty acids (or triglycerides): contain 0 to 5 carbon atoms
  • Medium-chain fatty acids (or triglycerides): contain 6 to 12 carbon atoms
  • Long-chain fatty acids (or triglycerides): contain 13+ carbon atoms

Each of these fatty acids serve different purposes. Short-chain fatty acids are produced by bacteria in the gut when dietary fiber is consumed. They act to reduce inflammation and protect the digestive system.Chambers2018

Long-chain triglycerides are found in foods with healthy fats such as olive oil, nuts, meats, and avocados. Omega 3 fatty acids (such as in Kado, H.V.M.N.’s daily omega-3 healthkit) also fall within the long-chain triglyceride category as well.

Medium-chain triglycerides, on the other hand, are processed differently by the body.StOnge2008

MCTs are not digested in the same manner as other fat sources. MCTs go directly from the gut to the liver to be used as neatly-immediate energy sources or can quickly be converted to ketones. Found commonly in foods such as coconut oil, MCTs can be concentrated into 100% medium-chain triglycerides which contain the most ketogenic precursor type of fat.

Types of MCTs

MCT oil can be added to your coffee to form a delicious beverage with impressive benefits. The trick is putting the right types of MCT in your morning coffee. The quality of MCTs can make a big difference when it comes to improving your health.

MCTs fall within a range of between six and twelve carbon atoms in the fatty acid chain. Although they all are considered MCTs, the body processes each chain length differently.

Not all MCTs are created equal, when it comes to overall quality.

  • Caproic Acid (C6): the shortest MCT containing six carbons. It can quickly be converted to ketones but it’s not considered an optimal source of dietary MCTs
  • Caprylic Acid (C8): contains eight carbon atoms and is known as the most ketogenic form of MCT, as it can be converted to ketones faster than any other MCT.Vandenberghe2017 MCT Oil powder products that contain pure C8 are recommended
  • Caproic Acid (C10): contains ten carbon atoms and can provide antifungal and immunity boosting benefits, but is still not the most optimal for ketone productionBergsson2001,Francois1998
  • Lauric Acid (C12): contains twelve carbon atoms and mainly has antimicrobial benefits such as treating acne and psoriasisNakatsuji2009,Aziz2013

While there are several types of MCTs to add to your morning coffee, stick to C8 when it comes to creating your own keto coffee recipes.It’s quickly converted to ketones, so for those on a keto diet, it’s the one you should be looking for in your supplements.

MCTs in Coffee

As we discussed earlier, adding MCT oil and grass-fed butter to your morning coffee can transform it into the ultimate power drink.

One of the most profound benefits of keto coffee is its ability to improve satiety through the release of appetite hormones. A study performed on individuals consuming a breakfast high in MCTs resulted in lower energy intake (220 calories) at lunch four hours later compared to a control group. A secondary study found similar results.Samra2010 Individuals practicing the keto diet will benefit from this as they will be less likely to overeat.

People practicing intermittent fasting also benefit from MCTs as they can curb their hunger throughout the morning prior to ending their fast (if you fast allows for this).

C8 caprylic acid has long been established as the most ketogenic form of MCT for enhancing ketone production. In a study performed on nine individuals, each was given varying amounts of MCTs including coconut oil, a classic MCT oil, pure C8 MCT oil, or some combinations of the above. The results showed pure C8 induced the highest plasma ketones making it have the highest net ketogenic effect.Vandenberghe2017 If you want to enhance ketone production, be sure to use MCT products with 100% pure C8.

MCTs have also been shown to improve brain function.

Coffee alone can improve cognition, but when you add MCTs the result is even more powerful. It’s like peanut butter and jelly; while both are great alone, combining the two makes them exponentially better. A study performed on 11 subjects who took MCTs found that cognitive tests were improved compared to control groups.Page2009 It seems caffeine + MCT = a happy brain.

Even cardiovascular health can be improved by taking MCTs. A study was performed on 112 subjects who consumed either LCTs or MCTs. After eight weeks, the group taking MCTs showed decreases in body weight, body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, and body fat percentage compared to control groups.Xue2009

By now you may be wondering how you can make some keto coffee of your own. We have you covered.

Keto Coffee Recipes

If you’re searching for the perfect butter coffee recipe or just a drink to go along with your easy keto meal plan, we’ve got you covered.

An image of a cup of coffee in a mug, with a plus sign in the middle, next to a scoop of vanilla MCT Oil Powder

Chocolate Muscle Builder

We’ve got a great tasting keto coffee recipe that’ll help build muscle—so look no further.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup black coffee
  • ½ cup almond milk
  • 1 tbsp unsalted grass-fed butter
  • 1 scoop chocolate MCT Oil Powder
  • ½ isolate whey protein powder

Instructions:

  1. Brew a cup of coffee using your preferred coffee beans with whatever method you like.
  2. Add coffee, almond milk, MCT Oil Powder, protein powder and unsalted butter into an immersion blender and blend for 20 seconds.
  3. Pour the completed product into a cup of your choice and enjoy.

This version of keto coffee is sugar-free and unsweetened but still tastes delicious.

Keto Iced Mocha Latte

Want to mimic your morning Starbucks drink, but still stay in ketosis? Be sure to try this easy keto recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup black coffee
  • 1 tbsp unsalted grass-fed butter
  • 1 scoop chocolate MCT Oil Powder
  • 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Pinch of stevia

Instructions:

  1. Make a cup of coffee using your favorite brewing method
  2. Pour grass-fed butter and MCT Oil Powder into a cup.
  3. Add coffee to cup.
  4. Begin mixing with milk frother.
  5. Add stevia or other sugar-free sweetener to taste.
  6. Pour over ice and enjoy

You’ll save dollars and calories with this newfound recipe.

Vanilla Keto Iced Coffee

If you aren’t a chocolate fan, be sure to try this recipe to start your day. It can curb your morning appetite while also satisfying your sweet tooth without the carbs and processed sugars.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup chilled coffee
  • 1 tbsp unsalted grass-fed butter
  • 1 scoop vanilla MCT Oil Powder

Instructions:

  1. Pre-brew a cup of your favorite coffee and chill in fridge to cool (or you can use cold brew).
  2. Add in grass-fed butter and MCT Oil Powder to blender along with the chilled coffee.
  3. Blend for 20 seconds until you reach a smooth consistency.
  4. Pour into a glass over ice and enjoy.

Vanilla, MCTs, long-lasting energy and curbed cravings? What more could you want?

Tumeric Keto Coffee

If you're searching for an alternative recipe, try adding some turmeric to your keto coffee.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup coffee
  • 1tbsp unsalted grass-fed butter
  • 1 tsp tumeric
  • 1 scoop vanilla MCT Oil Powder OR 1tbsp coconut oil

Instructions:

  1. Pre-brew a cup of your favorite coffee
  2. Add in grass-fed butter, tumeric, and MCT of choice.
  3. Blend for 20 seconds until you reach a consistency of your liking.
  4. Pour into a glass and enjoy!

Other Keto Drink Recipe Alternatives

If coffee isn’t your cup of tea, there are several drink alternatives you can consume in place of coffee. You can also make MCT smoothies, salad dressings, or a number of other items to meet your daily fat intake.

You can learn more about all the other uses of MCT Oil Powder here.

No matter what you do, adding MCTs to your diet is an easy way to help improve body composition, improve satiety, and enhance ketone production. Just use quality MCT-based supplements daily to supercharge metabolic benefits with keto. Even if you’re not on keto, using high-quality sources of fat can reduce cravings and help you feel full throughout the day.

Start Your Day with Keto Coffee

Keto coffee is like putting a Ferrari engine in your Mercedes—you’re adding more power to an already powerful vehicle. Whether you are looking to simply improve your memory or simply lose weight, keto coffee may be the perfect start to your day.

Curb those morning hunger pangs preventing you from overeating while helping you reach ketosis faster. Regular drinkers of keto coffee note feelings of sustained energy all day long without the dreaded crash associated with some caffeinated beverages (and often those with a bunch of processed sugar).

Keto coffee is also a delicious morning beverage without the added calories and carbs associated with many large coffee chains. Be sure to give keto coffee a try for yourself, it may just be the perfect way to jumpstart your day towards excellence.

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