Coffee on a Carnivore Diet (Potential Risks & Alternatives)

Arianna Foster
Published by Arianna Foster
Last Updated On: December 1, 2023

Four years into my strict carnivore diet, I've managed to inspire a few close friends to adopt this meat-centric lifestyle. However, a question that frequently comes up during their transition is whether coffee fits into the carnivore diet equation.

Keen to provide an accurate answer, I consulted my dietician friend and invested weeks in sifting through peer-reviewed research.

I explored the intersection of caffeine consumption and a diet exclusively focused on animal products.

In the article that follows, I'll lay out my discoveries, shedding light on whether coffee can coexist with the carnivore diet. So if you're pondering the compatibility of your morning brew with your dietary choices, read on for some insightful revelations.

Quick Summary

  • Consuming coffee is not allowed on the carnivore diet because it's plant food and has harmful plant toxins.
  • Instantly quitting coffee when transitioning to the carnivore diet can cause severe withdrawal side effects.
  • Water, bone broth, and lemon water are great coffee substitutes for carnivore dieters.

Should You Drink Coffee on a Carnivore Diet?

A close up image of a cup of coffee

No, you shouldn't drink coffee on a carnivore diet. The carnivore diet is a hardcore elimination diet that allows zero plant-based foods.

This means that coffee and other plant-based beverages are also forbidden on this regimen.

These plant foods are eliminated from the carnivore diet since we don't need them and contain so many plant toxins and toxic molds.

Coffee beans, like other plant foods, contain different quantities of the dangerous fungus known as mycotoxins [1].

You can substitute water and bone broth for coffee and obtain the same effects without the risk of caffeine addiction.

But if this is not sufficient, check out the best carnivore diet supplements that I use to get all essential micronutrients in my meat diet.

Most coffee growers know this, and some try to grow toxin-free coffee which is premium-priced on the store shelves.

If you must continue drinking coffee on your keto-carnivore routine, I recommend purchasing green coffee beans that have been sun-dried and wet-processed.

These have lesser mycotoxins than regular processed ones.

Also, if possible, have moderate coffee consumption from quality brands.

3 Potential Risks of Coffee on a Carnivore Diet

A woman holding a cup of coffee

Before chugging down that cup of fresh coffee brew, here are potential reasons why that might not be a good idea if you’re on a carnivore lifestyle.

1. Dehydration Risks

Coffee is a diuretic. So when you drink coffee on the carnivore diet, it might make you urinate more often. This can result in dehydration, which is undesirable on a carnivorous diet.

2. Caffeine Addiction

Coffee addiction is quite common. When you consume coffee frequently, you build up a tolerance to it. And as a result, you'll need high doses of caffeinated coffee to achieve the same results. This can result in an addiction.

And if you're trying to quit coffee instantly because of the carnivore diet or other health reasons, you might suffer from intense withdrawal symptoms.

3. Caffeine-Related Side Effects 

Caffeine, a stimulant, is also found in coffee. Stimulants in certain processed foods can create issues on a carnivorous diet by increasing heart rate, blood pressure and causing digestive issues.

If you are considering introducing coffee to your carnivorous diet, check with your doctor first to be sure it is healthy.

Quitting Coffee on a Carnivore Diet

A picture of a woman rejecting a cup of coffee

If you're transitioning to the carnivore diet, you can quit the cup of Joe in two ways.

1. Quit Cold Turkey 

Here you quit coffee and stop taking any caffeinated drinks instantly. The only problem with this instant quitting is that you can experience severe withdrawal symptoms as we'll see further down.

2. Wean Your Way Out

With weaning your way out, you gradually quit coffee. This is a process of conditioning your body to function with less caffeine and, ultimately, no caffeine at all.

Here you start by cutting down the amount of coffee you take; if, for example, you always take two cups a day every single day of the week, scale down to one cup, say three times a week. Then, slowly take decaf coffee once every week before you stop entirely.

Withdrawal Symptoms of Instantly Quitting Coffee

Depending on coffee addiction or dependency levels, coffee drinkers can experience light to severe withdrawal symptoms lasting anywhere from 2 to 9 days.

When quitting coffee a few years back, I experienced terrible headaches 18 hours after my last cup of decaffeinated coffee.

If you're instantly quitting black coffee as you start the meat lifestyle, you might experience these caffeine withdrawal symptoms [2]:

  • Headaches 
  • Drowsiness 
  • Fatigue
  • Concentration problems
  • Dizziness
  • Keto flu-like symptoms 
  • Mood swings

If these become severe and unbearable, seek professional medical advice.

4 Healthy Carnivore Diet Coffee Alternatives

A close up image of a guy holding a cup of beverage

Here are several carnivorous diet beverages that are excellent substitutes for coffee and come with great health benefits:

1. Bone Broth

Bone broth as part of a carnivore diet is an excellent substitute for a morning cup of coffee. I love to prepare mine the night before and preserve it well for my morning meals.

Bone broth is high in minerals like [3]:

  • Potassium
  • Phosphorus
  • Calcium
  • Sodium
  • Magnesium

These healthy minerals can help you overcome the severe withdrawal side effects, especially if you instantly quit coffee.

Bone broth also provides several health benefits, including enhanced bone health, better sleep, and better digestion.

I love bone broth because it's a tremendously satiating drink that I can enjoy either for breakfast or a midday snack, and it keeps me feeling fuller for longer. Bone broth is also great if you want to lose weight.

2. Water

A woman pouring a glass of water

Most individuals solely rely on adding coffee to their morning routine to wake up and stay more alert throughout the day.

However, I recently discovered that dehydration is one primary reason for feeling sluggish or less energetic.

Being dehydrated is one of the fundamental reasons you can't stay sharp, which is why water is a great coffee substitute for new carnivore dieters.

When I experienced intense headaches after quitting coffee, my dietician advised me to drink more water in the morning and stay hydrated throughout the day.

True to her words, my headache and other withdrawal symptoms were alleviated, and my energy levels increased without any dose of caffeine.

When following a zero-carb diet, it is critical to stay hydrated. I strive to drink 16-24 ounces of water every day.

Drinking enough water also helps to replenish the fluids you lose when exercising.

And because electrolytes are required for hydration, I advocate adding a little scoop of sea salt to your water before drinking. Doing this also helps to keep your electrolyte balance in check.

3. Lemon Water

When following the carnivore diet, it is vital to focus on drinking lemon water instead of coffee.

Lemon juice is safe to include in the carnivore diet since it helps satisfy vitamin C demands for people who do not consume organ meat.

"Due to the acidity in lemon juice, you should drink in moderation to avoid tooth attrition."
- Beth Bigee, MD

4. Mushroom Tea

A close up image of a cup of tea on a desk

Note that these are plant-based drinks, so this coffee alternative is more suitable for carnivores who also follow the keto diet.

Mushroom tea is more of a supplement rather than a caffeinated drink.

Typically, you can only purchase powdered mushroom extract combined with a type of tea, such as green tea. And if tea isn't your thing, you can get a mushroom-coffee combination, which is what most of my keto carnivore friends prefer.

I also recommend buying mushroom powder from the store rather than making your own, which will be more of buying fresh mushrooms and immersing them in boiling water.

I think the powder differs from grocery-bought mushrooms because they are concentrated extracts rather than raw fresh plant foods.


What Happens If I Drink Coffee on the Carnivore Diet?

Dehydration can happen if you drink coffee on the carnivore diet. The carnivore diet on its own is a low-carb diet that necessitates consuming lots of water, and coffee is a diuretic drink that dehydrates your body through frequent urination.

Can You Drink Bulletproof Coffee on a Carnivore Diet?

Yes, you can drink bulletproof coffee on a carnivore diet because it gives more natural energy without any caffeine addiction. You can satiate your carnivore-coffee cravings by drinking bulletproof coffee.

Should You Avoid Coffee on the Carnivore Diet?


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About the author

Arianna Foster
Nutritionist/Editorial Director
Arianna is a nutrition expert with unmatched management skills and a love for steaks. The only thing she enjoys more than educating people on how to improve their diet and live a healthier life is cooking and hiking.
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