Finding keto drinks that work with your diet is tricky, but very important. Not only do you need to stay hydrated, but some drinks help you reach ketosis... and some don't. But how do you tell them apart?
There are numerous different types of teas and many more tea recipes available. So this is our quick guide to help you brew a cup of tea and feel confident that it's keto!
Spoiler: Zest Tea is a 100% keto tea and is perfect for boosting energy (and weight loss) during your ketogenic diet.
Keto, short for ketosis, is a process where your body burns stored fat for energy, instead of carbs and sugars from your diet. To achieve ketosis, you need to follow a strict keto diet that's low carb and high fat.
But following keto recipes doesn't mean cutting out all the flavor from your diet. Our lightning tea recipe, for example, creates a creamy latte-like high-caffeine drink that your usual coffee will be jealous of. It's high in fats, low in carbohydrates and sugars, and contains great keto ingredients like coconut and MCT oil.
A keto diet is generally considered safe, but there are some risks. It may damage your kidneys and lead to nutrient deficiency if you don't carefully monitor your food intake. There's also evidence that a high fat and low carb diet could lead to heart disease and other chronic diseases,1 although the health benefits of keto tea could help to prevent this (see health benefits below).
We recommend you talk to your doctor or a healthcare professional before you start a healthy keto lifestyle!
For a food to be keto-friendly, it must be low in net carbs and (ideally) high in fat. This means that the vast majority of teas are keto! Most teas (and coffee too) meet the low carb requirement, and a few like our keto lightning tea provide plenty of fats as well - see our recipe below.
Tea, made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, is extremely low in carbs and contains no fat. Instead, it's a good source of natural caffeine to provide you with energy, water to rehydrate you, and polyphenols to create delicious flavors for your taste buds.
Natural teas, made with only tea leaves and water, are definitely keto.
A cup of green tea contains 0g of carbs and 0g of sugar, with roughly 30mg of caffeine to energize your day.2
There are numerous types of teas made from the same tea plant, not to mention countless herbal teas you can try too. But are they all keto tea?
For traditional tea types, including black tea, oolong, green, white, etc., the answer is yes. When you only use the tea leaves and fresh hot water to brew a cup of tea, it's going to be ideal for your keto lifestyle.
The process of turning tea leaves from one tea type into another requires different levels of oxidation - this doesn't impact the levels of carbs, sugars and fats in the tea. However, adding milk and non-keto sweeteners will, so make sure you read our section on non-keto teas below.
When it comes to picking the best tea for ketosis, we recommend a fresh and tasty green tea.
Unlike black tea, this tea is usually consumed without milk and sweetener - so you won't be missing that sweet and creamy tea flavor when you drink it. Furthermore, you can drink unsweetened green tea hot or as iced tea, depending on the weather and your mood. Either way, it's very low in calories.
The only problem with this tea, however, is that it generally has a low level of caffeine compared to other tea types. Read our article about tea caffeine levels to learn more, and check out Zest High Caffeine teas below.
Energy levels aside, green tea also has numerous benefits for your health that make it one of the most appealing keto drinks.
One of the side effects of going keto and eating all those delicious keto recipes is that you may struggle to retain or remember to keep drinking water.3 That's a real problem, as staying hydrated is important for your health.
Keto tea will help with this, as it's a good way to bump your water intake and enjoy new flavors without excess calories. Furthermore, the caffeine in tea won't dehydrate you - that's a myth! While caffeinated beverages may have a slight diuretic effect, you won't lose more water than you consumed from the tea in the first place.4
Even high caffeine teas like ours at Zest Tea won't dehydrate your body.
If you're struggling to reach ketosis, then green teas may be even more beneficial for you. This is thanks to a specific catechin that's found naturally in green teas. Epigallocatechin gallate (also known as EGCG) and caffeine together have a positive impact on weight loss and management, particularly when consumed habitually.5
Furthermore, caffeine alone is linked to weight loss when it's consumed before aerobic training exercise.6 And if you're a fan of Zest Tea, you've probably heard us mentioning L-Theanine before. This amino acid that's found in green tea helps to keep your mind sharp, alert and active.7 That's a great recipe for staying productive and energized while you're burning fat and dieting!
Studies have found that the keto lifestyle can be beneficial for those with type 2 diabetes, as it helps to lower blood sugar levels, although you need to do your research. Talk to your doctor before you try a keto meal plan if you have diabetes - you don't want to accidentally slip towards ketoacidosis.8
Green teas also have blood glucose lowering properties, as they have an antihyperglycemic effect which is great for reducing the symptoms of diabetes.9
A keto diet is great for your blood pressure, as low carb meal plans can drop blood pressure levels.10 Green tea is also good for blood pressure and can help to reduce LDL cholesterol (that's the bad kind) in your blood, which is better for your cardiovascular health.11
This is particularly important when you're on a ketogenic diet. Many keto meal plans may contain high levels of fat, which can be good or bad. Good fats, the monounsaturated and polyunsaturated kind that you find in grass-fed butter,12 for example, are great for your health. But the saturated kind has the opposite effect.
Keto diets can cause a surge of LDL cholesterol when you first start dieting,13 so green teas will be highly beneficial at keeping those levels in check.
As keto pros will know, not all fats are the same, so you need to be careful when you're consuming your fat dietary intake.
When it comes to tea, sugar and carbs and unhealthy fats can work their way into your cup. For example, honey is often added to iced tea and your Starbucks chai latte is sugary too. Furthermore, you've probably realized that drinking dairy milk and cream in tea or coffee is a bad idea, so you've switched to nut milk alternatives that provide plenty of fat without the carbs.
But make sure you aren't selecting sweetened options, which are higher in carbs thanks to their additives. Stick to your unsweetened almond milk and you'll be fine!
The best way to keep your carb count low is to drink plain old tea. Just a single teabag and some boiling hot water are all you need.
When it comes to ready-to-drink coffee or tea, the prep time might be quicker, but you need to check the ingredients for:
If drinking it plain just isn't your cup of tea, try it iced first. Use boiling water to brew your green tea then pour it over ice to instantly chill it - this changes the flavor somewhat and you may like it better.
Other keto-friendly ingredients you can add to your tea for flavor include:
Black tea makes a great base for our high-fat, high-energy lightning tea recipe below. But your black tea recipe doesn't need to knock your socks off with fats and caffeine. Simpler ingredients you can add to your plain black tea without increasing the net carbs include:
Other nut-based milks are usually good for keto diets, like walnut. Just make sure you avoid any carb-based milks in your keto recipes, however. Rice and oat milk in particular are higher in carbohydrates than other non-dairy milk types.
With black tea, you could even make a keto tea latte by using a milk frother with your non-dairy milk! If you want to bump the fat levels further, try adding a small amount of coconut oil too.
Zest Tea is all about great flavors and high energy. We use keto recipes to create our tea blends. Each tea recipe includes natural tea leaves, a small amount of natural flavors, and additional tea extract to boost the energy without adding more cals and carbohydrates.
A serving of hot Zest Tea provides up to 150mg of caffeine, no added sugar or calories, and plenty of water to rehydrate you. Our chilled sparkling teas are all under 50g of carbohydrates per serving too. We even have some great zero sugar, zero calorie flavors. Check out Cucumber Melon and Blood Orange Mango!
Our lightning tea recipe is a high-caffeine and high-fat drink that is surprisingly keto-friendly! Our recipe uses butter, oil, and caffeine-rich tea to provide a creamy and deep flavor without adding too many carbohydrates and sugars.
By using high caffeine Zest Tea in this recipe, we can give you a huge boost of energy. We’ve never been hit by lightning, but we imagine it feels something like this!
This recipe calls on some familiar ingredients from other keto recipes. You mainly need:
You need an oil element for your keto lightning tea. We like using coconut oil as we usually have it stashed away in the kitchen for other keto recipes. You can also use MCT oil, which is a synthetic and vegan oil made from medium-chain triglycerides. MCT oil is not a natural product like coconut oil, but it is great for keto as it may help you reduce body weight.14
If you prefer MCT oil powder, go for it! The powder will work perfectly in this recipe too, just make sure you blend it well.
Our high-fat tea recipe calls for a small amount of butter. But don't worry, it won't bump up your carbohydrate count too much. The best butter to use is grass-fed butter. This butter has that lovely cream-rich butter taste, but with more nutrients than standard butter, and it's made by allowing cows to feast on grass rather than grains.
Pick any of our hot tea pyramids for easy brewing. Spicy Masala Chai is a popular morning tea and it's great for our lightning tea recipe and latte blends as it's full of warming spices.
You'll need hot water to brew this tea in, so pop the kettle on or read our article about brewing the perfect cuppa for more info.
To make your keto lightning tea, start by brewing your tea.
Add 1 Zest Tea pyramid sachet to 8oz of boiling water.
Steep the tea for 3 to 5 minutes.
Add 1/2 tbsp of butter to the tea.
Add 1/2 tbsp of MCT oil to the tea (or melt the coconut oil first then add, if using).
Use a milk frother to blend it all up, until frothy and rich.
Alternatively, if you don't have a milk frother, you can use a blender for our lightning tea recipe! If you fancy a cold latte, cool the tea and add ice to the blender.
Tea is a brilliant drink for your ketogenic diet.
Yes, tea is a great keto drink to have with your meal.
You can and you should. It's good to stay hydrated.
What makes tea “hit you with lightning” is the coconut or MCT oil, grass-fed butter, and high caffeine levels. It provides your ketogenic diet with a high fat count and lots of energy from caffeine rather than carbohydrates and sugar.
Yes, green tea is a healthy keto drink to start your morning with.
Any natural tea, made with tea leaves and water, is keto. Additives like sugar, honey, and dairy milk are not keto, however.
Green tea can help you reach ketosis, along with other carbohydrate and sugar-free drinks.
They can be, when consumed in moderation. Talk to your doctor before consuming any exogenous keto supplements.