Can I drink green tea on keto?

The keto diet has become one of the most popular diets for weight loss and overall health. This low-carb, high-fat diet puts your body into a state of ketosis, where you burn fat for energy instead of carbs. While the keto diet limits many foods and beverages, green tea remains a popular drink choice for keto dieters. Here’s what you need to know about drinking green tea on keto.

What is Green Tea?

Green tea comes from the Camellia sinensis plant and is processed differently than black and oolong teas. To make green tea, the leaves are quickly steamed or pan-fried after harvesting. This minimizes oxidation and allows the green tea to retain most of its natural green color and catechins, which are antioxidant plant compounds in tea linked to health benefits.

Some of the main beneficial compounds in green tea include:

  • Catechins like EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) – potent antioxidants
  • L-theanine – an amino acid linked to relaxation
  • Vitamin C
  • Other antioxidants like flavonoids and polyphenols

Research shows that green tea and its components have many science-backed benefits, such as:

  • Weight loss and fat burning
  • Lower risk of heart disease and stroke
  • Anti-cancer effects
  • Lower risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s
  • Improved brain function
  • Lower risk of type 2 diabetes
  • Antiviral and antibacterial effects

Green Tea Nutrition Facts

Plain brewed green tea is very low in calories and carbs. An 8-ounce (240 ml) cup of brewed green tea contains:

Nutrient Amount
Calories 2
Protein 0 grams
Fat 0 grams
Carbs 0.5 grams

As you can see, plain green tea is an almost zero-calorie beverage without carbs, protein, or fat. It also doesn’t naturally contain any sweeteners or added ingredients.

Benefits of Green Tea on Keto

Here are some of the main benefits associated with drinking green tea on a ketogenic diet:

Boosts Fat Burning

One of the main benefits of green tea for keto is that it can boost fat burning and help you enter and sustain ketosis.

Green tea contains caffeine and EGCG, both of which have been shown to enhance fat burning. The combination of the two compounds seems to have an even greater fat-burning impact compared to either one alone.

Studies show that green tea supplements containing EGCG and caffeine can:

  • Increase calorie burn by an extra 80-100 calories per day
  • Raise fat burning by 17%
  • Improve insulin sensitivity
  • Reduce fat production and absorption
  • Increase fat breakdown in fat cells

This enhanced fat burning and metabolic effect is ideal when restricting carbs on keto. Even without changing your diet, green tea can give your fat burning potential a helpful boost.

Appetite Suppression

Sticking to the high fat, low carb keto diet often involves reducing portion sizes and total calories.

Interestingly, compounds in green tea like EGCG and caffeine can suppress appetite and support your body’s natural hunger signals.

Studies show drinking green tea can lead to:

  • Lower levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin
  • Higher levels of the satiety hormone CCK
  • Less motivation to eat
  • Consuming up to 135 fewer calories per meal

Sipping on green tea throughout the day can help control hunger and cravings when keeping your calories and carbs low on keto.

Blood Sugar Regulation

Keeping blood sugar stable on a very low carb diet can be challenging for some.

The combination of caffeine and EGCG in green tea have been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and blood sugar regulation.

Studies demonstrate that drinking green tea can:

  • Lower fasting blood sugar levels
  • Reduce hemoglobin A1C
  • Improve insulin sensitivity
  • Prevent blood sugar spikes after meals

This helps prevent energy crashes, hunger, and carb cravings when restricting carbs on the keto diet.

Fights Inflammation

Following a keto diet can sometimes cause temporary inflammation until your body adapts to using ketones and fatty acids as energy instead of glucose.

The polyphenols and catechins in green tea have potent anti-inflammatory properties that can help counter this effect.

Studies demonstrate that green tea can:

  • Reduce levels of inflammatory cytokines
  • Lower markers of inflammation like C-reactive protein (CRP)
  • Protect against chronic systemic inflammation

This anti-inflammatory action helps ease the transition into ketosis and protects long-term health on keto.

Protects Brain Health

Some people report improvements in mental clarity, focus and mood on keto. This is likely related to stable energy and blood sugar levels.

Green tea provides additional brain boosting benefits:

  • L-theanine in green tea boosts alpha brain waves which induces relaxation without drowsiness
  • EGCG protects brain cells and increases neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin
  • Green tea catechins improve memory, cognition, and mood
  • Antioxidants in green tea prevent free radical damage involved in neurodegenerative diseases

Green tea complements the brain-boosting benefits of keto, helping you stay focused and energized.

Potential Downsides of Green Tea on Keto

Drinking green tea on keto is generally safe, but there are a few potential downsides to keep in mind:

Caffeine Content

Green tea contains less caffeine than coffee but can still have up to 50 mg per cup. Consuming large amounts of caffeine from green tea may cause side effects like:

  • Jitters, anxiety, insomnia
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Withdrawal symptoms

People sensitive to caffeine may want to limit intake to 2-3 cups per day. Decaf green tea is a good alternative.

Oxalates in Green Tea

Green tea contains oxalate, which can bind to calcium to form kidney stones in some people. Those with a history of kidney stones may want to limit high-oxalate foods like green tea.

Iron Absorption Inhibition

Compounds in green tea like EGCG can inhibit iron absorption by 20-30%. Those with low iron levels or on an iron supplement should avoid drinking green tea with meals.

Blood Thinning Effect

Green tea has a mild blood thinning effect. People on blood thinning medication or at risk of bleeding disorders should exercise caution with green tea.

How to Drink Green Tea on Keto

Here are some tips for enjoying green tea as part of a ketogenic diet:

Stick to Plain Green Tea

Avoid added sugars, artificial sweeteners, and flavorings like in pre-made bottled green teas. Plain green tea has all the benefits without unnecessary carbs and additives.

Watch Your Portions

Aim for 2-4 cups of green tea per day. More than 4 cups may cause excess caffeine intake.

Try Decaf

If you’re sensitive to caffeine or want to drink green tea in the evening, opt for decaffeinated green tea.

Pair with Lemon

Squeeze some fresh lemon juice into your green tea for an extra dose of vitamin C.

Cold Brew

Cold brewing green tea helps reduce the bitter taste and oxalate content.

Supplement as EGCG

Taking a green tea extract supplement with EGCG is a convenient way to boost green tea’s benefits.

Avoid Milk

Dairy can bind to the antioxidant catechins in tea, reducing absorption. Stick to green tea on its own.

Types of Green Tea

Here are some popular varieties of green tea to enjoy on keto:

Type Characteristics
Sencha Most popular green tea in Japan. Medium-bodied with grassy, sweet flavor.
Matcha Powdered green tea used in Japanese tea ceremony. Rich flavor with smooth, vegetal notes.
Gunpowder Chinese green tea rolled into pellet shapes. Bold and lightly smoky flavor.
Dragonwell Delicate, pan-fried Chinese tea. Mild chestnut-like taste.

The best green tea depends on your taste preferences. Try different types to find your perfect cup of tea on keto!

Green Tea Recipe Ideas for Keto

Here are some delicious keto-friendly recipes featuring green tea:

Matcha Latte

Blend coconut or almond milk with matcha powder, coconut oil or MCT oil, and your choice of 0-carb sweetener like stevia or monk fruit.

Green Tea Fat Bombs

Mix melted coconut oil with matcha powder, cocoa powder, and your favorite low carb sweetener. Pour into silicon molds or freeze in ice cube trays.

Green Tea Chicken Soup

Use green tea as the broth base along with chicken, mushrooms, bok choy, ginger, and coconut aminos.

Chia Green Tea Pudding

Mix brewed green tea with chia seeds, collagen peptides, and cinnamon. Let sit overnight to thicken.

Green Tea Smoothie

Blend green tea with avocado, spinach, almond butter, and lemon juice for a keto powerhouse drink.

The Bottom Line

Enjoying green tea while following a keto diet can boost fat burning, curb hunger, regulate blood sugar, fight inflammation, and protect brain health thanks to beneficial compounds like EGCG and L-theanine.

Stick to plain green tea and moderate your intake to 2-4 cups per day, being mindful of potential side effects from caffeine or oxalates. Green tea makes a tasty, refreshing, and slimming addition to a low carb ketogenic diet.

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