Caffeine has a complicated blend of great benefits as well as some negative effects that you can really feel, but you might be surprised by how it can affect your health!
Just as the right amount of caffeine might make you feel awake and alert, too much caffeine makes it easy to exclaim agitated things like “I didn’t order this hemp milk double latte with caramel drizzle!!!” while storming out of the local cafe.
Is there an appropriate amount of caffeine that can benefit your keto lifestyle?
Like many things, balance is key, and understanding how caffeine impacts your specific genetic programming may be the missing link. The CYP1A2 enzyme is the main enzyme responsible for breaking down caffeine in our bodies, but the genetic programming of the CYP1A2 gene can vary greatly between individuals, causing some of us to be highly sensitive to caffeine and at greater risk of developing hypertension. If you are especially sensitive to caffeine, it may be worth testing to determine which allele, or form of gene, you have. For most of us though, 1-2 cups of coffee a day is probably perfectly healthy.
What are the health benefits of caffeine?
Improved Glucose Tolerance and Insulin Sensitivity
Over the long term, studies show that caffeine consumption is correlated with a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes. These studies demonstrate that caffeine consumption has the effect of improving insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance (this is what we want). At the same time, acute caffeine consumption in the short term can increase insulin sensitivity. This may seem contradictory, but the same is true of short term fasting. Your body undergoes a physiological change that takes some time to present the benefits we seek.
A new study demonstrates that caffeine can significantly increase fat loss without impacting sleep quality. This study assessed the use of both oolong tea, and pure caffeine, and found little difference between them. In a broad meta-analysis of studies conducted just last year, this study's authors conclude that pre-exercise ingestion of caffeine leads to a moderate enhancement of fat oxidation during exercise, and recommends caffeine usage before sub-maximal exercise after a period of 5 or more hours of fasting.
What about caffeine and keto?
2x increase in ketone bodies
Encouraging studies have shown that drinking coffee after fasting can increase plasma ketones almost 2x in test individuals.
So, it’s both the natural way to start the morning and can enhance your exercise results.
But, keep in mind that you'll want to drink your coffee black, or consider using organic cacao butter (if you missed our first Blog post we offered up an amazing keto coffee recipe). Make sure to abstain from any creamers containing protein or carbohydrates as this could take you out of fasting and out of keto.
Enhanced fasting (and appetite suppressant)
Even better, try using caffeine in the mornings as a way to extend that overnight fast to further enhance your state of ketosis and extend that fast even longer.
Try to find a balance for yourself that helps you feel energized and motivated without a racing heart or a jittery mind lacking focus.
Belichka offers 2 mildly caffeinated energy bars: Coffee+Cacao or our Matcha+Coconut flavor bars. Our matcha bar contains just 0.6g of matcha powder or around 10mg of caffeine, while our coffee bars contain around 40mg of caffeine (by comparison the average cup of coffee contains 95mg of caffeine).
While eating a Belichka bar during a fasted state might have the effect of ending your fast, it's probably one of the best ways to transition out of a fast and start your day! That's because Belichka bars contain up to 23g of fat, and just 3g of net carbs.
What's the right amount of caffeine for me?
As we mentioned before, each individual reacts differently to caffeine, and some people may have a hard time breaking down caffeine based on their unique genetic profile. The takeaway? Pay closer attention to how you feel when you consume caffeine. Does it enhance your workouts? How does it affect your energy? Does it make your heart race or stomach tight? Does it improve your mood or make you agitated?
Overall we think the science and the evidence stacks up in favor of consuming a moderate amount of caffeine on a regular basis to support your keto lifestyle and overall health!
Caffeine, in healthy doses, can have a positive impact on your workouts and your health. Find what feels right for your body!