Is Coffee Keto-Friendly?

When embarking on any new diet, an invisible line separates what you can and cannot consume for however long you choose to adhere to your new way of eating. For most diets, what becomes forbidden are usually fast food and ice cream, which folks are generally prepared to give up to reach their health goals. But those opting for the keto diet will have to forego carbs in favor of fat and protein. Pasta, cookies, bread, and beer are exchanged for steak, eggs, and butter. But on which side of the line does your morning cup of joe go? 

If you're one of the 64% of Americans who consume coffee daily, it might not be a habit you're ready or willing to give up. If you're curious about trying keto and are a diehard java drinker, you may wonder if you can still enjoy your morning cup of coffee. There is hopeful news for 35% of coffee consumers, and some minor changes the rest can make (via distrubmenot!).

It depends how you take it

The risk of crossing the keto line is dependent on how you take it. Plain coffee contains no carbohydrates and won't negatively impact your keto efforts. The carbs start adding up once you include milk and sweeteners. Skim milk, for instance, has 12 grams of carbohydrates per cup and 2% milk contains roughly 5 grams. Even unsweetened dairy alternatives include carbs — 5 grams per serving for oat milk and 3 grams in oat milk. Unsweetened almond milk comes in lowest, with 0.67 grams per serving (via USDA).

According to Harvard, a few splashes of milk can quickly add up when keeping your carb intake below 50 grams per day, as is recommended for keto. If black coffee isn't your thing, there are a few keto-friendly creamers and additives to keep the carbs at bay. Adding MCT oil (medium-chain triglyceride) to your coffee or grass-fed butter (known as bulletproof coffee) will keep you satiated and provide fats along with that caffeine boost, per BBC Good Food. Full-fat heavy whipping cream is also a low-carb creamer option. Sugar is an obvious no-go on keto, but if you enjoy sweetened coffee, there are a few keto-friendly sweeteners preferred by low-carbers. Monk fruit is quickly gaining popularity as a sugar alternative.

As the popularity of keto rises, so do the low-carb options and products. There's no need to give up your morning buzz — just a few tasty tweaks can keep you in ketosis.