Bulletproof-style coffee—AKA adding butter or ghee and MCT oil to your cup of joe—has become the unofficial beverage of choice for the ketogenic diet. Healthy fats plus caffeine? Done. But as buzzy as it is, not all ketogenic devotees drink coffee—and even the java guzzlers in the group may want to switch things up throughout the day.
"A lot of people on the keto diet are starting to talk about wanting an alternative to coffee," says Simon Cheng, co-founder and CEO of Pique Tea. "They’re doing Bulletproof coffee all day long and they think, I wish there was something for when I don’t want my second or third cup of coffee a day."
The solution? Ketogenic tea. "Dave Asprey actually got the idea for Bulletproof coffee from Tibetan tea makers who added yak milk to black tea," explains Cheng, who also has a degree in Chinese medicine and sits on Harvard University's T.H. Chan School of Public Health's Nutrition Round Table. The latter is currently examining over 2 million fecal samples to learn more about the microbiome—including how the polyphenols (micronutrients) in tea affects it—so it's safe to say Cheng is pretty obsessed with the health benefits of tea.
And according to Cheng, not all teas are created equal when you're looking for that Bulletproof boost.
Scroll down to find out how to give your tea the ketogenic treatment.
Which tea is best for keto—and what to add to it
If you want to jump-start your day, Cheng says black tea is a good way to go. The compounds are smaller than those found in green tea, so they're absorbed faster and will give you a jolt quicker than your morning matcha would. "The polyphenols in green tea, catechins, are time-released, so when you drink green tea—like matcha—your body has to break down those compounds so you absorb the caffeine," Cheng says.
He explains that the energy you get from green tea tends to last for four to six hours, however, while black tea's pick-me-up effect will last for a shorter period of time, about two hours.
Then comes the question of what to add to your tea to give it that keto effect. (Assuming you don't have any yak milk in the fridge.) Cheng's top picks for maximizing the benefits: cow's milk, macadamia nut milk, MCT oil, or coconut mana. "If you're drinking black tea on an empty stomach, [these healthy fats] provides an extra lining so it has a gentler impact on the gut," he says.
And there's another reason why healthy fats and black tea is a winning combo...
How adding healthy fats to your tea can support weight loss and good digestion
A recent study conducted by the University of California, Los Angeles found that the flavonols in black tea have great benefits to the gut, including helping grow the number of good bacteria living there, and are linked to a leaner body mass and stabilizing blood sugar levels.
Because of this, a regular cuppa already packs quite the health-boosting punch—and the keto twist will make those benefits even more pronounced. "Adding fat to your tea actually helps the polyphenols in black tea, flavonols, be better absorbed," Cheng says.
So the next time you hit that 4:00 slump, have yourself a little tea party. Your brew will pair perfectly with these protein-packed sugar-free dessert bites.
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