|Neither a ketogenic breakfast nor buttered coffee were necessary to double the subjects' ketone production.|
But, let's tackle things one by one: With ketogenic diets getting more and more attention in mainstream dietary research, it is not exactly surprising to see a study that uses the potential therapeutic effects of ketones on aging-induced cognitive impairments in Alzheimer’s disease as a point of departure for their investigation of caffeine "as a potential ketogenic agent" (Vandenberghe. 2016) - or I guess whe should say "ketogenic facilitator".
Owing to its actions on lipolysis/ lipid oxidation, the scientists expected that caffeine co-ingestion with breakfast would be ketogenic in healthy adult subjects. To test this hypothesis, the authors recruited a group of healthy adults (BMI 24kg/m² | previous daily caffeine intake < 300mg/day!) to evaluate their individual and average response to the acute ingestion of...
- 2.5 mg/kg caffeine (equiv. to ca. 1.5-3 cups of coffee w/ ~95 mg/cup)
- 5.0 mg/kg caffeine (equiv. to ca. 3-5 cups of coffee w/ ~95 mg/cup)
|Figure 1: Ketone production and FFA levels in the control and caffeine 2.5 ad 5.0 mg/kg trials (Vandenberghe. 2016).|
Yes, you remember that correctly: High FFA = lower insulin sensitivity - So eventually, you have to be careful with the caffeine for ketones approach if you consume high amounts of carbohydrates and/or are already having issues with glucose management. If that's not you, I'd like to remind you of the beneficial effects of caffeine on glycogen repletion, I discussed in "Post-Workout Coffee Boosts Glycogen Repletion by Up to 30% and May Even Have Sign. Glucose Partitioning Effects" | more.This is an observation which would suggest that the breakfast coffee could be even more useful for ketogenic dieters who are intermittently fasting, as it would give them a headstart into full-blown ketosis in the time between breakfast and dinner.
|Figure 2: Time course of the ketone response in the study subjects according to treatment (Vandenberghe. 2016).|
Eventually, we do yet still need evidence that the "trick" works with a ketogenic diet, as well. After all, the relative increase in the study at hand may be huge, the absolute levels of ketones in the blood, on the other hand, are small (compared to eating a 100% ketogenic diet (=nutritional ketosis), where levels will go up to 0.5 - 3.0 mmol/L), but still impressive in view of the fact that the caffeine was consumed with a high carbohydrate (high GI) breakfast.
- Panza, Francesco, et al. "Coffee, tea, and caffeine consumption and prevention of late-life cognitive decline and dementia: a systematic review." The journal of nutrition, health & aging 19.3 (2015): 313-328.
- Vandenberghe, Camille, et al. "Caffeine intake increases plasma ketones: an acute metabolic study in humans." Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology (2016) [ahead of print].