Understanding the benefits of coffee for fat metabolism, curbing food cravings, enhancing mood and introducing you to my ‘keto diet coffee’ recipe, engineered specifically for inducing and remaining in ketosis.
Burn More Fat?
A keto diet is restrictive and only allows you to eat foods which favour the fat:protein:carbohydrate ratio, only then will you enter ‘ketosis’ and utilise fat as a primary source of fuel.
Thankfully there’s one ‘treat’ of mine that I don’t need to sacrifice on a ketogenic diet. Coffee!
Because coffee contains many natural stimulants, including caffeine, theobromine and theophylline, coffee consumption can lead to an up-regulation of the hormone adrenaline from the adrenal glands, and influence the body’s metabolism.
The most influential stimulant of the ones found in coffee is caffeine, which has been researched extensively.
Caffeine works by impeding adenosine within the neural membrane. Adenosine is a neuromodulator that binds with receptors to slow down neural activity and encourage vasodilation (expansion of the blood vessels and capillaries). Caffeine inhibits the effects of adenosine by working as a adenosine-receptor antagonist, essentially filling the adenosine receptor without promoting any of the down-regulating effects and allowing for increased firing of dopamine.
This also has a cascading effect as it signals up-regulation of adrenaline via the HPA Axis originating at the pituitary gland and signaling down to the adrenal glands.
Adrenaline is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant responsible for the ‘fight or flight’ instinctual response. The caffeine induced boost of adrenaline signals release of fatty acids from fat (adipose) cells. If the individual is in a caloric deficit this will further streamline the fat loss process and it’s believed that caffeine can increase the metabolism by 3-4% (1).
The primary purpose of a ketogenic diet is improved body composition through regulating appetite and enhancing fat oxidation, so the addition of coffee into your ketogenic diet certainly won’t yield unfavorable results.
Beat the carbohydrate cravings
Anyone who has ever attempted to live off a low-carb diet knows just how tough the initial few days can be. As soon as you reduce the carbohydrate intake your body begins to panic and wonder where it will get energy from; being so used to deriving energy from carbohydrates, it can take a while to get accustomed to a fat based diet.
Speaking from experience, one of the best vices to combat these cravings that I can recommend is coffee.
A study conducted by Duke University concluded that coffee intake worked effectively as an appetite suppressant as it acts as a short term energy boost and enhances alertness (2).
Improve mood during ketosis
Coffee is one of the most popular beverages in the world, consumed across all continents in abundance, and for good reason!
According to psychology today, coffee increases the secretion of neurotransmitter, dopamine. This powerful impact on the brain makes coffee the most consumed psychoactive outlet in the world.
When you make drastic dietary changes, mood fluctuations are expected. During the initial stages of a ketogenic diet, the brain is suddenly starved of carbohydrates: the energy source it’s become accustomed to over the previous weeks/months. This can lead to poor concentration and irritability.
The combination of both the dopamine and norepinephrine released ‘post-coffee’ will help keep you mood elevated and your mind alert when you do experience a dip.
That said,too much of anything is a bad thing. I typically regulate my coffee intake to 1 cup per day. I allow my body to naturally wake up first and just have water for the first hour of the day or so before then reaching for a coffee.
Keto diet coffee recipe
Based on the information above, I will often a have a coffee (or three) when I start a keto diet. The aptly named ‘Keto Diet Coffee’ I’ve constructed helps me both stay in ketosis (burn more fat); keeps my mood high and beats those ever-looming cravings.
– 1 cup of warm coffee
-1 tablespoon of unsalted, grassfed butter
-1 pinch of cinnamon
-1 teaspoon of brain octane oil
Blend the above up and enjoy!
For more information on ketosis, check out my in depth article into the high fat diet.
1.Dulloo AG, Geissler CA, Horton T, Collins A, Miller DS. Normal caffeine consumption: influence on thermogenesis and daily energy expenditure in lean and postobese human volunteers. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.1989. 49(1):44-50.
2.Tae-Wook KimYoung-Oh ShinJeong-Beom LeeEmail authorYoung-Ki MinHun-Mo Yang. Effect of caffeine on the metabolic responses of lipolysis and activated sweat gland density in human during physical activity. Food Science and Biotechnology. August 2010, Volume 19, Issue 4, pp 1077–1081