Is tea keto? How to drink tea on a keto diet

If you are on a keto diet, or plan to start one, knowing if teas are keto compliant may help immensely in creating your eating and drinking plan. Thankfully, tea, especially loose leaf, may be a great choice to boost your results, energy levels and increase lean body mass on keto. Learn which teas are keto friendly, which you should avoid, and get an inspiration to make your own drinks.

How much carbs is too much?

Keto diet is a special eating regime that allows you to reach a state of ketosis, a process in which the body starts using stored fat as a fuel, rather than sugars and carbs. To reach this state, all carbs should be avoided or kept to a minimum for at least 2-4 days[2]. This low-carbs, high-fat diet may be beneficial for people with Type 2 diabetes as it may not only help lose weight, it may lower the blood sugar and “body’s demand for insulin[1]” too.

However, carbs and sugars are almost everywhere, and keto diet is one of the most difficult diets to maintain, even short term. It requires a complete change of your eating and drinking habits and will cause significant energy decrease, especially during the first few days. Keto diet allows you to eat up to 50 grams of carbs per day, but if possible, to reach the ketosis state keep the carb count below 20 grams per day[3].

Can I drink tea on keto diet?

One of the biggest problems on a Keto diet is finding a drink that you will really enjoy. If you are a regular tea drinker, you may already know that pure loose leaf tea is keto compliant. It contains almost zero carbs per cup and will even provide extra benefits to boost your diet. However, some blends and teas should be avoided completely. If you are used to drinking your tea with sugar and milk, keto regime will require you to drastically change your habits.

Teas you need to avoid on Keto

  • Ready-to-drink teas
  • Instant teas
  • Regular milk teas including regular chai, bubble tea, teh tarik, etc.
  • Commercial iced teas
  • Flavored teas with added sugar
  • Regular English Breakfast with milk and sugar
  • – any tea with sugars

Green tea

Green tea may be one of the best choices. Keto, a low carbs, high fat diet, causes not only weight loss, it may “induce muscle loss and excess oxidative stress[4]” too. Green tea may help by providing necessary antioxidants to prevent the damage. But the list of benefits doesn’t stop only at the potential prevention of muscle loss. Studies suggest that green tea combined with exercise may even increase lean body mass and muscle strength[5].

A cup of green tea, pure, unsweetened and unadulterated, will have around 2 calories, with a negligible amount of carbs. Green tea may help with fat burning and lose weight faster, and it may give a much-needed energy.

Extra ideas:

  • Make a morning energy boosting smoothie with powdered green tea, keto friendly protein powders and raw frozen spinach. This fresh cold smoothie with have only 2-5 grams of carbs.
  • Mix strongly brewed green tea with sparkling water for an almost calorie-free drink
  • Make a bulletproof matcha. Although this drink will contain at least 200 calories, it will contain almost zero carbs.
Pinhead Gunpowder green tea

Pinhead Gunpowder green tea

Chai tea

Chai is an Indian milk tea made with strong black tea leaves. And milk is not keto compliant. Evaporated or condensed milk are even worse, and so are the regular sweetened soy or almond milk. However, unsweetened dairy alternatives are usually keto friendly. 1 litre of unsweetened almond milk has zero carbs and zero sugars. On the other hand, sweetened almond milk may contain more than a daily sugar allowance.

Make sure to read the label carefully, as even some unsweetened dairy alternatives may contain carbs. But, as the watery unsweetened milk alternatives may give a less intense taste, you may replace them with a heavy whipping cream. It will give a wonderful texture and taste to your chai. Another ingredients that makes chai delicious is sugar. Always replace sugar with stevia or other keto friendly sweetener. Some blends are naturally sweeter than the others, and may be a better choice to get the best taste.

Tip: Avoid pre made coffee or tea drinks from coffee shops or instant blends for home brewing. Instead, choose loose leaf tea blends with zero sugar or make your own chai tea from a scratch.

Iced tea

Iced tea can be keto friendly if you avoid adding keto unfriendly sweeteners. This includes both sugar and honey. If you are buying ready-to-drink iced tea, be sure to read the label carefully. They often contain a lot of added sugars and calories. Make your own keto friendly iced tea instead:

  1. Brew 2 teaspoons of 100 ml of water for about 5-10 minutes depending on the type. Use the right water temperature to get the best flavor without bitterness.
  2. Fill the shaker with ice and add strained tea.
  3. If you want sweet tea, add a bit of stevia powder, or add dried licorice root when brewing.
  4. Shake for about 30 seconds than pour into a glass. Top up with ice.

While the real fresh fruits may be keto unfriendly, dried fruit tea should be fine – unless it’s sweetened. Some blends may contain hidden sugars.

Tip: Blends with licorice are naturally sweet, keto friendly and make a delicious iced tea. 

How about a Bulletproof tea?

Bulletproof tea is a version of a keto friendly coffee invented to give an energy boost in the morning and provide enough calories to replace a regular morning meal. Some bulletproof drinks may have over 500 calories per cup. Stronger broken leaf black teas may be a good choice for making a bulletproof tea. You can use matcha tea powder or other unsweetened tea powders for making this high fat morning drink too.

Is caffeine good for keto diet?

Drinking caffeinated drink on a keto diet may provide more benefits than you might think. Studies suggest that taking caffeine for breakfast may increase the ketone production[6]. Instead of reaching out for energy drinks, you can choose natural tea with a high caffeine content, such as Assam than may provide much more health benefits than a pre-made energy drink.

Read more about caffeine in tea and coffee here.

Dislaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It’s not intended to replace medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Every person is different and may react to different herbs and teas differently. Never use teas or herbs to treat serious medical conditions on your own. Always seek professional medical advice before choosing home remedies.

References:

[1] https://www.diabetes.co.uk/keto/

[2] https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/ketogenic-diet-is-the-ultimate-low-carb-diet-good-for-you-2017072712089

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK499830/

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6410243/

[5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23140132

[6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28177691

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