If you’re like most people following a low carbohydrate or keto diet you drink coffee or some other beverage that contains caffeine. I know I do. Almost every day.
Like me, you want to know how caffeine affects ketosis. I saved you the time and did the research.
in a nutshell, I learned that caffeine does affect ketosis. In a good way.
In this article I use findings from the latest research to show you how to get the most ketone boosting power caffeine possible. After reading you’ll no how to get into ketosis faster, and stay there to reap the benefits and achieve your goals.
What The Research Says – How Caffeine Affects Ketosis
Researchers find that taking caffeine at breakfast helps your body produce more ketones. 88% more than the people in the study who didn’t take caffeine.
Blood tests post-breakfast finds that the people who took caffeine had higher levels of ketones in their blood. When they doubled their dose to about 4 cups worth, the ketones in their blood went up 118%.
The reason for this increase is that caffeine breaks down some of the fats you eat into ketones. The more caffeine you have available, it appears, the more ketones will be made.
The people in this study weren’t even eating keto or low carb like we do to get into nutritional ketosis. They just had a modest amount of caffeine with their breakfast. About as much as you get from 2 cups of coffee.
Adding MCT Oil Boosts Caffeine’s Keto Boosting Power
If you want to make even more ketones to get into nutritional ketosis faster – and stay there – adding a spoonful of MCT does the trick.
In another study a group of men took either 0, 2, or 3 tablespoons with a single serving of caffeine.
While all of the groups showed an increase in ketone levels, the guys taking MCT oil had the greatest increases overall.
Like the other study, blood tests were used to measure blood ketone levels. The guys in this study also had their cholesterol, triglycerides, and markers for inflammation tested. With each serving of MCTs, the men also took a cup of coffee’s worth of caffeine.
Taking MCT oil with caffeine didn’t increase unhealthy levels of cholesterol or triglycerides. Values of these markers, along with insulin levels actually decreased when they took MCTs.
More isn’t necessarily better here. When the guys in the study took the larger dose (3 tablespoons) there was an increase in levels for markers for excessive stress on our body. Taking with 2 or less tablespoons didn’t cause this to happen while significantly increasing ketones.
What Is MCT Oil?
If you aren’t familiar with MCT oil, it’s a tasteless and odorless fat made from coconut oil. It’s also found in small amounts in butter and other food.
What makes it unique from other fats is what it does after you take a serving.
Instead of being digested like other fats are in the small intestine, MCTs are quickly sent over to your liver. They’re then converted into ketones and released into your bloodstream. Ketones are then used for energy by your brain, muscles, heart, and other organs.
This fat is favored by low carb and keto dieters to help them get into nutritional ketosis faster. When you get there, taking MCTs once or twice can help you stay in ketosis, even when your diet isn’t perfect.
Here are some of the common benefits people experience from MCT oil.
- Sustained energy with no sudden crash like sugar causes
- Mental focus helps you push through hard workouts and think more clearly
- Crush hunger pains so you don’t feel hungry between meals
- Makes fasting a breeze without hunger pains, low energy, and thoughts of doughnuts
- Get better workouts since you’re able to run faster and farther
Don’t Take An Entire Tablespoon At First
You’ll want to start with a smaller dose than the subjects took in this study to avoid an upset stomach. MCT oil can make you feel nauseous if you take too much at first.
I like to start with ½ a teaspoon and increase slowly over a week or two. This eliminates any problems.
Tips To Get The Most From Caffeine, MCT Oil And Ketosis
Below are a few tips to follow to get the most out of using caffeine and MCTs to boost the power of nutritional ketosis.
Cut Carbs And Try Intermittent Fasting
If you aren’t already following a low carb/keto diet now is the time to start. The best way to get yourself into the fat burning state known as ketosis you can do several things.
The first thing is to reduce the amount of carbohydrates you’re eating every day. Most experts including keto diet experts like Drs. Jeff Volek and Stephen Phinney recommend eating less than 30 grams of carbohydrates a day.
Eating this way will get into ketosis within a week or two.
I prefer to fast track getting into nutritional ketosis by fasting. All this means is that you skip a meal or two every day until you get into ketosis. Then, you can continue to fast or go to eating low carb at every meal.
My favorite way to fast and stay in ketosis is by eating one meal a day (OMAD). I still eat low carb (< 50 grams/day) and make sure to get enough protein (1 gram/lb BW). It’s just in one meal.
After 2-3 days of eating this way I’m always in ketosis.
I also like how simple this way of eating is for me. It allows me to fast and not worry about eating 20 hours out of the day. OMAD eating also enables a little more wiggle room as fat as carbohydrate consumption is concerned.
Don’t Forget MCTs
As I write above, MCT oil works with caffeine to put you even deeper into ketosis. Especially when taken with caffeine and including a low carb diet.
Start slowly with this supplement. Too much too soon can give you a stomach ache. 1 teaspoon is enough at first and will help you out.
Slowly increase your dose over a few weeks until you’re able to tolerate a tablespoon. This will put you deep into nutritional ketosis in less than an hour. If you’re eating low carb or practicing intermittent fasting you’ll stay there.
Timing Is Everything
Your particular goals and needs will determine when you want to take caffeine and MCT oil to get yourself into ketosis.
If you’re looking for all day energy, early morning and maybe again around lunch time are great ideas.
If you want a pre-workout boost, try using them about 30-45 minutes before you train.
Remember, too much caffeine late in the day can make it hard to sleep. I personally don’t use it after 2 PM. After this time of the day I take MCT oil alone if needed.
Don’t Overdo It With Caffeine
A cup or two of coffee is enough to get your body deeper into ketosis and burning off fat for your energy needs.
If you don’t like coffee, tea, or energy drinks you can always use a caffeine supplement. This is my favorite choice since I’m not a fan of those drinks and like being able to know how much I’m taking.
Also, make sure whatever you drink is Sugar Free! There’s nothing worse for kicking you out of ketosis than a sugar filled coffee or energy drink.
Remember that a healthy, keto friendly diet is most important for getting into nutritional ketosis and improving your health and performance. To get into nutritional ketosis, you’ll need to eat < 75 grams of carbohydrates a day to get into nutritional ketosis. You may need to eat even less. Test different amounts on yourself to see the which works best.
Make Sure You Take The Best MCT Oil
Just like all of the food you eat and supplements you take, you must ensure that your MCT oil is also of the highest quality.
The one that I take, and recommend is our own product, MCT Edge. It’s 100% pure, pharmaceutical grade oil that’s made from sustainably farmed and harvested plants.
A 32 ounce bottle will last you at least a month. We use glass bottles too. This keeps the MCT fresh longer and is friendlier to the environment.
Now you know how to use caffeine and MCT oil together to help you get and stay in ketosis. Give it a try and let us know what you think.
If you don’t already take caffeine give it a try for yourself and see how you feel. If you have keto strips or other types of ketone testers available, test yourself to find out if you’re in a deeper level of ketosis. I bet you are.
McAllister MJ, Waldman HS, Rentería LI, Gonzalez AE, Butawan MB, Bloomer RJ. Acute coffee ingestion with and without medium-chain triglycerides decreases blood oxidative stress markers and increases ketone levels. Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 2020;98(4):194-200.
Vandenberghe C, St-Pierre V, Courchesne-Loyer A, Hennebelle M, Castellano CA, Cunnane SC. Caffeine intake increases plasma ketones: an acute metabolic study in humans. Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 2017;95(4):455-458