Coffee On Carnivore Diet: Is It Allowed?


The carnivore diet sometimes called the all-meat diet, has become an increasingly popular way of eating for potential health benefits as well as weight loss. This zero-carb diet only includes meat, fish, eggs, and animal-based foods, eliminating all other foods like fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, dairy, sweets, and also typically caffeinated beverages like coffee. As alternatives, some follow recipes for carnivore diet breakfast options carnivore diet snacks, or carnivore diet desserts. But can coffee fit into this restrictive regime? Here we examine whether coffee is allowed on the strict carnivore diet.

Coffee on the carnivore diet is somewhat controversial. While the diet shuns plant-based foods and encourages getting nutrients from animal sources only, some carnivore devotees make an exception for coffee. The reasoning is that coffee provides cognitive and physical performance benefits that can complement the diet. However, others avoid coffee while following the carnivore diet as coffee contains compounds from plant sources that may counteract some of the purported effects of an all-meat diet.

Why Some Allow Coffee on Carnivore Diet?

Why Some Allow Coffee on Carnivore Diet

Coffee is not considered part of the carnivore diet or 30-day carnivore diet meal plan, as it comes from the coffee plant which makes it a plant-based drink instead of an animal product that the diet encourages. However, many carnivore followers choose to also drink coffee in conjunction with eliminating all other plant foods and sticking to just meat.

There are a few reasons why coffee may be allowed by carnivore enthusiasts:

1. Performance enhancement benefits 

Coffee has well-researched natural stimulants, including caffeine, that provide physical and brain performance-optimizing effects like increased alertness, focus, concentration, energy, and stamina. These can complement and enhance the purported mental clarity and workout recovery effects promoted by coffee on carnivore diet advocates.

2. Low/negligible carb and calorie levels 

Plain black coffee without any sweeteners or dairy/plant-based milk alternatives added only contains about 2 calories per cup. This makes it a true zero-carb beverage aligned with the goal of very low net carbs on the carnivore diet.

3. No plant antinutrients

Many avoidants of plant foods cite antinutrients found in some vegetables, grains, and legumes that may interfere with nutrient absorption. However, coffee beans/brewed coffee do not contain the problematic lectins, phytates, and oxalates sometimes avoided on restrictive diets like the coffee on a carnivore diet.

Some followers mention carnivore diet constipation or carnivore diet diarrhea issues, so coffee could help regulate digestion. The female carnivore diet plan or the carnivore diet for women also allows coffee for women wanting a stimulating beverage. When compared to keto, coffee can fit into the carnivore diet vs keto depending on personal customization.

Why Some Avoid Coffee on the Carnivore Diet?

On the flip side, there are good reasons why stricter carnivore adherents may avoid coffee consumption while following the coffee-on-carnivore diet. These include:

1. The goal of only eating animal products 

The carnivore diet by definition restricts intake solely to animal flesh and animal-derived products. So while black coffee may be low in carbs and calories, it still comes from a plant and so goes against the concept of an all-meat diet.

2. Benefits attributed to eliminating plant toxins 

Some carnivore devotees attribute benefits like reduced inflammation or autoimmune disease symptom relief to avoiding plant-based compounds. They may view coffee as containing unwanted vegetable matter that could affect the carnivore's diet before and after skin. 

3. Caffeine drawbacks 

While the stimulant properties of caffeine in coffee can enhance alertness and exercise ability, some may want to avoid caffeine on the carnivore diet as it can also interfere with getting restorative sleep. Insufficient sleep could counteract some benefits of the diet.

Is coffee allowed on the carnivore diet?

Coffee is allowed on the carnivore diet. The carnivore diet focuses only on eating meat, fish, eggs, and small amounts of dairy like cheese or butter. Coffee and tea contain no nutrients but are acceptable beverage choices that won't disrupt the intended effects of the diet.

Tips for Adding Coffee to the Carnivore Diet

If enjoying the occasional coffee is important for performance or lifestyle preference reasons, here are some tips for imbibing while sticking to carnivore principles:

  • Drink coffee black without milk/sweeteners - adding dairy-like cream or nut-based milk substitutes reintroduces non-animal products.
  • Limit to 1-2 cups per day - excessive intake could interfere with carnivore diet goals like gut healing, sleep quality, or hormone regulation.
  • Choose low-mold coffee - some relate coffee mold exposure to inflammation so low-mycotoxin coffee may be preferred on coffee on a carnivore diet.
  • Wait 30-60 minutes after drinking coffee before eating - allowing some buffer before meat-based meals may aid digestion.


The carnivore diet is restricted to only animal flesh and animal-derived foods, so coffee made from plant sources is automatically excluded. However, black coffee's negligible carbs and calories, performance-boosting mental and physical effects, lack of antinutrients, and role as a familiar comfort drink, lead some carnivore adherents to make an exception. Yet more strict followers avoid coffee - instead focusing solely on nutritional substances from animal sources in line with carnivore principles.

If you wish to enjoy an occasional coffee while otherwise eliminating all plant foods on the carnivore diet, opt for black coffee without dairy or sweeteners. Limit intake to 1-2 cups per day, choose low-mold beans, and allow 30-60 minutes before or after eating meat-based meals. This approach allows you to benefit from coffee's safe stimulating effects without interfering with achieving the benefits proposed by carnivore diet advocates.

In the end, each individual must closely self-monitor their reaction to determine if coffee is beneficial or detrimental for them while striving to meet carnivore diet goals. There are good arguments on both sides - the key is finding what works best for your body and priorities. Do you function best with or without including coffee in your personally customized carnivore lifestyle?

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Dr. David G Kiely is a distinguished Medical Reviewer and former General Medicine Consultant with a wealth of experience in the field. Dr. Kiely's notable career as a General Medicine Consultant highlights his significant contributions to the medical field.

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