If you are someone who follows along with the ketogenic diet, you already know that there can be a plethora of restrictions. The list goes on and on for what you can and cannot have while on this type of diet. A traditional ketogenic diet involves cutting out carbohydrates almost completely. You may have roughly 50g of carbs allowed. Other than that, you are consuming high fat and an average amount of protein. The idea is that this will kick you into ketosis, which is a state where the body changes fuel sources. You switch from burning glycogen (stored carbs) for fuel to burning ketones (fats) for energy. It is hypothesized that this leads to you burning off more body fat that is stored within your tissues.
There are multiple benefits to the ketogenic diet besides weight loss, and they should be considered. However, that’s not the focus of this article. We’re here to discuss whether or not green tea can be consumed on the keto diet.
Green tea is a drink that is made from steeping the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. It is originated in China and is now very popular around the globe. There are even companies that have commercialized it, and it can be found in some vending machines. Green tea is very low in calories (around one calorie if just made with water). This makes it an excellent drink for someone who is looking to keep those calories low. It also contains a TON of polyphenols, phytochemicals, and caffeine. This really makes green tea a powerful drink when consumed. There have been claims that green tea can help with cancer. However, none of these have been proven even with research. It does, however, make a good replacement for coffee.
There are other ways of consuming green tea, as well. Not all green tea has to come in a beverage form. There are also many different supplements, as well. These are typically in the form of extracts. They break down the green tea and get all of the “good” stuff out. They then create a powder form and put it into a capsule. There are multiple benefits to consuming the extract such as a boost in natural energy and focus, as well as an aid in weight loss.
The form that the green tea comes in is not of a priority. The only benefit to taking the extract is that you can get a more concentrated dose. However, you may just want to include it into your diet as a beverage, and that is just fine.
Vitamins in Green Tea
As discussed, green tea is a pretty healthy plant. It can do a lot and has many health benefits. One of which is its vitamin make up. It is packed with vitamins that can help make us healthier.
Green tea is packed with vitamins A, C, E, and many of the B vitamins. This really makes it a well-rounded drink or supplement. It is known to have more vitamins than many foods, which makes it a great addition to any diet.
Including green tea into your diet can help with skin, vision, antioxidant support, and regular development of tissues. All of this is accomplished via the various vitamins you get.
Minerals in Green Tea
Not only is green tea packed with vitamins, but it also has a lot of crucial minerals. Vitamins are necessary, but we also have to have a certain quantity of minerals, as well.
Green tea has a higher concentration of vitamins versus mineral, but there are still significant amounts. Some of these include potassium, calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium. We need these minerals for a multitude of body processes such as muscle contraction and sleep. So, adding in some green tea during the day can help us meet these daily requirements.
Caffeine in Green Tea
Caffeine is used by many. Whether this is with coffee or other forms such as supplements, people are honestly addicted to it. Caffeine is a stimulant that can wake up the central nervous system and in excess, can make you jittery. There are benefits in focus and perception of exertion for individuals doing strenuous work, and this is why it is so widely used. However, just like any other drug or stimulant, it can be abused. Having too much caffeine can cause you to be shaky, have headaches, prevent good sleep, and even have anxiety.
Green tea contains about 15-20 mg of caffeine per cup, which is less than your average cup of coffee. However, some people may be drinking larger quantities in an attempt to get their caffeine fix. Regardless, green tea is different. It has a secret ingredient that makes caffeine work a little better. Green tea contains an amino acid called theanine. This amino acid works to calm you down a little, similar to glutamine. This allows you to get some of the cognitive benefits of the caffeine, but without the jitters and the overstimulation. Because of this, many people opt for a cup of green tea instead of coffee.
Green Tea and Keto
So, how does green tea relate to the ketogenic diet?
It helps in multiple ways.
The first is by replacing multiple non-keto options. There is a large population of people who drink extremely sugary coffee. This is 100%, not keto-friendly due to the added sugars. Black coffee is fine, but when it becomes a dessert, there can be issues. Green tea, however, has a good caffeine profile that can hit that caffeine itch without all of the sugar. It has a taste that is great and isn’t super bitter for those non-black-coffee drinkers. So, this would be a great replacement.
Many people also just get tired of drinking only water. While you do need to be drinking massive amounts of water on the keto diet, sometimes you will want something else that has a different flavor. This is a situation where green tea can be advantageous.
The majority of people on keto are doing it to lose weight, so what helps out a lot? Having a drink that can help to aid in weight loss. Green tea is packed with caffeine, as we already mentioned, which naturally increases our fat-burning ability. This is caused by an increase in heart rate and metabolic processing that can mobilize fat. Green tea can then go hand in hand with keto to produce some great weight loss effects.
You can get some of the similar effects of consuming the green tea extract as well.
One of the many claims for the ketogenic diet is that improves cognition and brain function. People state that being in ketosis made them more focused and have less brain fog. If you are looking for a boost in that direction, green tea can help. Green tea has been shown to boost cognition, mood, and brain function (1). Many of these benefits were not seen from just one single component on its own. All of the benefits were seen from a combination of what makes up green tea. More specifically, this pointed towards the combination of caffeine and L-Theanine that we discussed previously. Another study showed improvements in work performance and mood (2). This was also contributed to more than just the caffeine content that comes with green tea consumption. When on a keto diet, this can assist with and even enhance some of the cognitive benefits. Individuals doing a ketogenic diet with the intent of increasing cognitive function benefits should look into consuming green tea to aid in even more of a cognitive boost!
For many that take on the keto diet, it can help to reduce the occurrence of Type II Diabetes. Keto utilizes the lack of carbohydrates as a chance to lower blood sugar levels. This can prevent type II diabetes, but it could help with cases of existing type II diabetes. By keeping the levels of glucose intake low, you are allowing the body to become insulin sensitive again. Coincidentally, green tea can also help control blood glucose (3). It has been shown to decrease fasting glucose levels and adjust A1C levels. This can be a potent combination for anyone who is on the brink of type II diabetes or currently has it. By using the ketogenic diet and green tea, you are giving this disease a run of its money.
When we consume a high-fat diet like keto, we also run somewhat of a risk for increasing our cholesterol levels. This is due to the amount of saturated fat that we are consuming. However, green tea works on this as well. Green tea can help to lower your LDL cholesterol levels. LDL or low-density lipoproteins are deemed the “bad” cholesterol”. We want to keep these at a lower level within the body. You could, however, include a high amount of green tea into your diet to help lower this number. Green tea can actually help prevent a rise in LDL cholesterol along with other cardiovascular risk markers such as triglycerides (4).
Green tea is a very powerful plant. It can do many things and can almost be considered a superfood (or beverage). It can be made into a drink, or it can be taken as a supplement. Either way that it is consumed, it has numerous benefits. It is full of different vitamins that can help support many body processes. It contains a large number of minerals that are essential for metabolism. The caffeine content of green tea isn’t as high as coffee, but it can have an energizing effect. The caffeine also helps to increase mental focus, brain function, and work capacity. Also, green tea contains a particular amino acid called L-Theanine. This amino acid helps to make caffeine even better. It can remove the jitters that this stimulant can often cause, thus allowing for a more mellow level of mental focus.
Many health issues can be aided by consuming green tea. It may not treat or cure anything, but it can push you in the right direction. Some of these health concerns may be diabetes (type II) and heart disease. By drinking or taking green tea, you are doing your health a favor.
The keto diet and green tea go hand in hand. They complement each other, and the benefits of this diet are almost enhanced by green tea. Keto can be a restrictive diet, so having good alternatives is good. Green tea can replace other sugary beverages in the diet such as soda or “coffee” full of sugar. This allows you to get some caffeine and flavor, all without compromising being in a ketogenic state.
The mental clarity and cognitive benefits of keto are extremely enhanced by consuming green tea. It can have a profound impact on you from more than just caffeine.
As far as health goes, green tea and aid in lowering some of the “bad” cholesterol that can be associated with a ketogenic diet. Therefore, allowing you to maintain your ketosis, all the while staying healthy.
Your health is the most important thing you possess, so regardless of the diet that you decide to use, make sure that you are doing whatever you can to stay healthy. This is how green tea can help with a keto diet.
(1). Mancini E, e. (2019). Green tea effects on cognition, mood and human brain function: A systematic review. - PubMed - NCBI . Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Retrieved 30 October 2019, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28899506
(2). VE, E. (2019). Acute effects of tea consumption on attention and mood. - PubMed - NCBI . Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Retrieved 30 October 2019, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24172303
(3). Liu K, e. (2019). Effect of green tea on glucose control and insulin sensitivity: a meta-analysis of 17 randomized controlled trials. - PubMed - NCBI . Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Retrieved 30 October 2019, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23803878
(4). Hartley L, e. (2019). Green and black tea for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease. - PubMed - NCBI . Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Retrieved 30 October 2019, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23780706