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Coffee on a Carnivore Diet: Is It OK? The Best Coffee and Alternatives

Who doesn’t love coffee? Well, some don’t, but many others do! If you belong to the second group and are considering starting a Carnivore diet, you must know whether you can drink coffee on a Carnivore diet. To answer this main question, I’ll focus on coffee and a Carnivore diet in this article and explain all about the benefits of coffee, its drawbacks, different types, alternatives, and more. Let’s read!

Coffee on a Carnivore Diet: Is It OK? The Best Coffee and Alternatives
  • Coffee can or cannot be a part of the Carnivore diet based on your goals and needs.
  • Drawbacks of coffee on a Carnivore diet include mycotoxins, disruption of ketosis, insomnia, anxiety, and adrenal fatigue.
  • The benefits of coffee include being low in calories/carbs, supporting liver health, reducing mortality, improving brain function, and providing antioxidants.
  • Different types of coffee and coffee alternatives are provided on tables to help you decide easily.

Can I Drink Coffee on a Carnivore Diet?

The debate over coffee on a Carnivore diet is a controversial one! Because some say there is no debate as coffee comes from coffee beans, fruits of a plant, so boom! Rejected! - Carnivore is all about animal products, no greens or veggies.

However, coffee is not just a plant-based drink. It’s a part of our lives! Over 60% of Americans drink coffee throughout the day. Let alone other countries!

The other group argues that coffee is an almost zero-carb drink and can improve metabolism and mood in Carnivore diets.

Aside from the public beliefs and desires, coffee IS a plant-based product and can actually contain plant toxins, which is a red flag. But it can also bring numerous benefits if not consumed in excess.

So, what shall we do about coffee? To drink or not to drink, that’s the question! Well, the short answer is that it all depends on your metabolism, body composition, goals, needs, and preferences.

But to make a solid decision, you need to learn about coffee’s benefits and drawbacks to see if it can help you achieve your goals or not. So, let’s learn about coffee on a Carnivore diet.


Traditional Carnivores don’t allow coffee as it’s plant-based and can contain toxins. But to decide, we need both drawbacks and benefits.

Drawbacks of Coffee on Carnivore

Studies show that plants can contain toxins and antinutrients, which can cause inflammation, allergies, and autoimmune diseases over time [1].

To avoid such toxins, Carnivore dieters avoid all plant-based foods and focus on animal-based products, especially meat, which is one of the reasons for lowered inflammation in Carnivore dieters.

But the important point here is that coffee, as a plant-based product, contains toxic molds known as mycotoxins, i.e., aflatoxin B1 and ochratoxin A [2].

These mycotoxins can cause different health issues, including kidney problems [3], immune system problems, allergies, dizziness, nausea, gastrointestinal problems, and even cancer [4].

Various studies have investigated the presence of mycotoxins in coffee beans and have found the following results.

  • There is not enough evidence about the toxicity of the ochratoxin A found in coffee beans [5].
  • 18% of coffee brewed in Portugal included ochratoxin A [6].
  • Decaffeinated coffee contains more mycotoxins than caffeinated coffee [7].
  • Roasting coffee beans can decrease ochratoxin A levels by 69-96% [8].

Also, coffee may contain the following drawbacks for Carnivore dieters.

Dr. Shawn Baker:

"Although not strictly carnivore, many in the community still drink coffee. It’s ultimately about what works for you and your goals. If coffee doesn't cause you any problems, it can be included."

Disrupting Ketosis

In some cases, caffeine can decrease blood sugar levels and make the body return to the state of burning glucose.


Caffeine in coffee can block adenosine, a neurotransmitter that fosters sleepiness, causing insomnia and sleep disturbances.

Increasing Anxiety

Caffeine can increase anxiety and jitters in individuals. This effect can be more significant on Carnivore dieters, as the lack of plant-based foods may increase the body's sensitivity to caffeine.

Adrenal Fatigue

Consuming too much caffeine can cause adrenal fatigue because the body's adrenal glands, producers of stress hormones, can become overworked responding to constant caffeine stimulation. Adrenal fatigue causes chronic fatigue, stress, and hormonal imbalances. 

Although the drawbacks are important to note, we cannot decide by relying solely on these facts and need to consider the benefits of coffee on a Carnivore diet as well to make informed decisions. Let’s get into the details.


Coffee can contain toxins and antinutrients, causing kidney issues, immune problems, allergies, dizziness, nausea, gastrointestinal problems, and even cancer. It can also disrupt ketosis, cause insomnia, and increase anxiety and adrenal fatigue.

The Benefits of Coffee on Carnivore

Coffee is more than just a popular drink. If you consume it in moderation, coffee can provide various health benefits, including the following.

  • Containing Low Calories and Few Carbohydrates
  • Supporting Liver
  • Decreasing Mortality
  • Improving Brain Function
  • Lowering Depression
  • Boosting Metabolism
  • Improving Focus
  • Suppressing Appetite
  • Containing Antioxidants
Dr. Paul Saladino:

"While the Carnivore Diet is fundamentally about consuming animal products, many followers include coffee due to its low carb content. However, it's important to listen to your body and adjust according to how you feel."

Containing Low Calories and Few Carbohydrates

Black coffee contains minimal calories and carbohydrates, which is why many Carnivore dieters include it in their routine, although it’s plant-based.

Supporting Liver

Coffee can have positive effects on the liver and lower the risk of fibrosis, cirrhosis, and liver cancer [9].

Decreasing Mortality

Consuming coffee in moderation can decrease mortality by about 30%, as it can have positive effects on cardiovascular and insulin performance [10].

Improving Brain Function

Coffee can improve brain function and decrease the possibility of Alzheimer’s and dementia, as caffeine can stimulate the central nervous system and positively affect cognitive function [11].

Coffee Can Improve Health

Research from the "European Journal of Nutrition" suggests that moderate coffee consumption can have several health benefits, including improved cognitive function and reduced risk of certain diseases, which might align well with the health goals of those on a Carnivore Diet.

Lowering Depression

Drinking more coffee can decrease depression and suicide in women, as it can improve energy levels and mood [12].

Learn More: Top 10 Carnivore Snacks On The Go [Easy Recipes and Ideas]

Boosting Metabolism

Caffeine can boost metabolic rate, which can improve fat burning. That’s why caffeine is one of the ingredients of weight loss supplements.

Improving Focus

Caffeine can boost mood, mental clarity, focus, and alertness and increase energy levels, which is great news for athletes and those who have regular physical activity.

Suppressing Appetite

Drinking coffee can decrease feelings of hunger, which helps reduce calorie intake and improve weight management.

Containing Antioxidants

Coffee contains antioxidants that protect cells from getting damaged by free radicals. Antioxidants are necessary to lower the risk of chronic diseases.


Coffee is a low-carb, low-calorie, and antioxidant-rich drink that can have positive effects on the liver, brain, mood, metabolism, and focus. It can also decrease mortality and appetite.

Different Types of Coffee

There are various types of coffee out there. Here, I’ll list the most popular ones and show their calories, sugar, and carb levels in a table so you can compare them and decide which ones suit your Carnivore way of eating.

  • Espresso
  • Americano
  • Latte
  • Cappuccino
  • Macchiato
  • Ristretto
  • Lungo
  • Cold brew
  • Mocha,
  • Flat White
  • Iced Coffee
  • Affogato
  • French Press
Coffee Type Calories (per 8 oz) Carbohydrates (g) Sugar (g)
Espresso 2 0 0
Americano 5 0 0
Latte 120-150 12-15 6-8
Cappuccino 80-120 8-12 6-8
Macchiato 10-20 1-3 0-2
Ristretto 2 0 0
Lungo 5 0 0
Cold Brew 5-20 0-5 0-5
Mocha 250-400 30-50 20-30
Flat White 120-150 12-15 6-8
Iced Coffee 5-20 0-5 0-5
Affogato 150-250 15-30 15-25
French Press 5-10 0-2 0-2

In addition to the above types, you may have heard of these three and wonder how each one fits into the Carnivore diet. Let me brief you.

  • Bulletproof Coffee on Carnivore: It is made with coffee, grass-fed butter or ghee, and a high-quality source of fat, such as MCT oil. It can be a part of your Carnivore breakfast to provide energy. Since it contains high levels of fats and low levels of carbs, it’s a popular drink to help you stay in ketosis and make you feel full to reduce your calorie intake.
  • Black Coffee on a Carnivore Diet: A cup of coffee with no added sugar, milk, or sweeteners. As it’s a zero-carb, zero-sugar drink, it can fit into your Carnivore way of eating.
  • Decaf Coffee on a Carnivore Diet: Black coffee with no caffeine.

Types of Coffee Beans

Different types of coffee come from different types of coffee. It’s good to take a look at the 4 main types of coffee beans and compare their nutrition. It helps you when you want to buy coffee beans and grind yourself.

  • Arabica
  • Robusta
  • Liberica
  • Excelsa

Learn More: Can You Have Coconut Water on the Carnivore Diet?

Nutrient (per 100g) Arabica Robusta Liberica Excelsa
Calories 2 2 2 2
Protein 0.1g 1.7g 1.1g 1.2g
Carbohydrates 0.0g 0.9g 0.5g 0.9g
Fat 0.0g 0.5g 0.1g 0.6g
Fiber 0.0g 0.7g 0.3g 0.6g
Caffeine 1.2g 2.2g 1.5g 2.0g
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 0.0mg 0.0mg 0.0mg 0.0mg
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 0.5mg 0.6mg 0.7mg 0.8mg
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid) 0.0mg 0.0mg 0.0mg 0.0mg
Manganese 0.1mg 0.6mg 0.2mg 0.5mg
Magnesium 7mg 27mg 16mg 26mg
Phosphorus 8mg 16mg 24mg 38mg
Potassium 49mg 417mg 200mg 396mg

How Much Coffee Can You Drink on Carnivore?

You can decide on the amount of coffee on a Carnivore diet based on your caffeine tolerance, health status, goals, and needs. There isn't a one-size-fits-all answer, but generally, about one cup or two a day is considered safe.

To streamline your decision-making, I have provided the recommended daily and weekly coffee consumption limits based on age for men and women in the following table.

Learn More: Can You Eat Garlic on a Carnivore Diet? Is Garlic Powder Allowed?

Age Gender Recommended Daily Caffeine Limit (mg) Recommended Weekly Caffeine Limit (mg)
12-18 Male 400 2,800
12-18 Female 400 2,800
19-50 Male 400 2,800
19-50 Female 300 2,100
51-70 Male 400 2,800
51-70 Female 300 2,100
71+ Male 300 2,100
71+ Female 300 2,100

Tips on Including Coffee on a Carnivore Diet

  • Choose high-quality, organic coffee beans that have been minimally processed, as they contain minimal antinutrients.
  • Consider decaffeinated coffee if you’re sensitive to caffeine and get negative effects like insomnia or low energy levels.
  • Add healthy fats like grass-fed butter or heavy cream to your cup of coffee instead of sugar or artificial sweeteners.
  • Try different brewing methods to find out your favorite flavor and caffeine level. You can use the French press, pour-over method, or cold brew to see which method works better for you.
  • Avoid too much coffee as it may cause anxiety, jitters, insomnia, and many other side effects.
  • Pay attention to your body’s reactions to coffee. If you spot negative effects, cut back or eliminate it altogether.
  • Try adding a pinch of Himalayan salt to your coffee to boost electrolytes.'

Learn More: Carnivore Ice Cream: Can I Have It? How to Make It? [The Best Recipes]

Dr. Ken Berry:

"Coffee is a grey area on the Carnivore Diet. Some people can tolerate it well, while others might find it causes issues. It's best to experiment and see if it fits within your personal carnivore lifestyle."

Coffee Alternatives

If you’ve decided not to include coffee in your Carnivore diet, you can consider one of the following options. Needless to say, it’s wise to make any changes to your dietary habits after consulting a healthcare professional.

Herbal Teas

Herbal teas can help you stay hydrated and get a warm beverage with no caffeine or sugar. Some popular herbal teas for energy are:

  • Green tea contains L-theanine, an amino acid for improving focus and cognitive function.
  • Yerba mate: It is South American tea containing caffeine, theobromine, and theophylline, which can boost energy levels.
  • Ginger tea: It can help reduce nausea and inflammation.

Learn More: Can You Eat Ginger on a Carnivore Diet? Is It Healthy?

Coffee Can Improve Health

A study published in the "Journal of Applied Physiology" found that coffee can enhance fat oxidation and improve metabolic rate, which could be beneficial for those on a high-fat Carnivore Diet.

Bone Broth

Bone broth is a nutrient-dense liquid made from simmering bones and connective tissue. You can use it as a nutritious drink as it contains high levels of protein, collagen, and minerals, supports gut health, and reduces inflammation.

Sparkling Water

Sparkling water can be a refreshing and hydrating alternative to coffee if your version of the Carnivore diet allows it.

It may be challenging to choose one of the above options. But the following table will help you compare them and get your head around the subject.

Note that the values are approximate and can vary based on the brand and preparation method.

Learn More: Can You Eat Honey on a Carnivore Diet? The Best Honey for the Carnivore Diet

Beverage Caffeine (mg) Sugar (g) Carbs (g) Calories
Black coffee 95-200 0 0 2-5
Green tea 20-40 0 0 2-3
Yerba mate 80-120 0 0 3-5
Ginger tea 0 0 0 2-3
Bone broth 0 0 0 20-30
Sparkling water 0 0 0 0


Well, the debate over coffee on a Carnivore diet is still open! Strict Carnivores prefer to avoid all plant-based foods and stick to animal products. However, others believe zero-carb black coffee with butter can help Carnivore results.

The final decision is yours! To make the best decision, you need to list your goals of going on a Carnivore diet, set your priorities, consider your health status, and consult healthcare professionals.

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