Keto Coffee Might Not Be As Healthy As You Think

Here's why you should consider kicking the high-fat habit.

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Photo by: Gligatron


Online fitness gurus claim that bulletproof coffee (also known as keto coffee) brings mental clarity while helping to put your body into ketosis. It’s also apparently effective for preventing altitude sickness and providing energy for the death-defying climbs. However, if your pastimes do not involve frequent climbs to new heights, your body would likely do much better with another kind of caffeine fix. Here's why your daily dose of bulletproof coffee might not be all it's cracked up to be.

What's the point of keto coffee?

Keto coffee, also known as bulletproof coffee, has been generating buzz in gyms and on social media for years. But its origins may be surprising: the idea came to Silicon Valley investor Dave Asprey after drinking Tibetan Yak Butter Tea while climbing in the Himalayan mountains. He brought the concept home and created bulletproof coffee. Made with organic coffee, MCT (medium-chain triglyceride) coconut oil and grass-fed butter, it’s become a popular way to start the day on the high-fat, low-carb keto diet. The recipe for keto coffee is the same, except for the occasional addition of collagen powder.

So, is it healthy?

Grass-fed butter and coconut oil are both high in saturated fat, and while there may be some benefits to the CLA’s (conjugated linoleic fatty acids) found in grass-fed butter, eating unsaturated fats from oily fish, nuts and avocados generally has more benefits.

The more concerning aspect is that keto coffee displaces good nutrition. When high-fat coffee is sipped instead of breakfast, your brain and your body miss out on important nourishment from foods containing protein, fiber, antioxidants and carbohydrates. While some bulletproof coffee drinkers claim that caffeine is all that’s needed to stimulate their brain, MIND Diet researchers tell us that it’s carbs and certain phytonutrients that nourish the brain and keep it sharp.

And then there’s the issue of calories; if you’re drinking a typical 450-calorie cup of keto coffee along with…well, anything, that’s a good way to gain a few pounds.

What should I be drinking instead?

If you’re ready to kick your bulletproof coffee habit, but you still want to eat less sugar and carbs, here are four dietitian-approved ways to get your caffeine fix:

Low-Carb Latte – Make your café latte with lower-carb dairy milk like Fairlife ultra-filtered milk. By ultra-filtering the milk through a series of sieves, dairies can strain out more carbohydrate molecules because they are different sizes than protein molecules. The result is real milk that’s naturally higher in protein but also rich in nine essential nutrients including potassium, calcium and vitamin D.

Coffee + Muffins – Yes, really. These Low-Carb Blueberry Muffins contain fiber-rich blueberries and 11 grams of plant-based protein for only 177 calories per muffin. Good nutrition + coffee = a happy morning.

Ready to kick coffee altogether, but still need caffeine? Try these:

Low-Carb Matcha Latte – When time is tight, simply microwave a cup of lower-carb plant-based milk or higher-protein ultra-filtered milk; then mix in a grab-and-go Pure Leaf Matcha green tea packets. If caffeine sometimes gives you jitters, you’ll be happy to find matcha tea tends to stimulate your brain without that anxiety-inducing feeling.

High-Octane Berry Smoothie – Add antioxidant-rich and fiber-containing frozen red raspberries to a blender along with a container of brand new YQ Yoplait ultra-filtered yogurt. A container of strawberry YQ has only 9 grams of carbs, compared to 18 grams of carbs in a common container of Greek yogurt. Add the contents of a new Mixed Berry Electric Energy Straw for 88 mg of caffeine (similar to the amount of caffeine in an 8-ounce cup of home-brewed coffee).

Serena Ball, MS, RD is a registered dietitian nutritionist and food writer. She blogs at sharing Healthy Kitchen Hacks and yummy recipes. Follow her @TspCurry on Twitter and @BakeMoreBread on Instagram.

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