Is Vietnamese Coffee KETO Friendly? Does It Break a Fast?


Is Vietnamese Coffee KETO Friendly header image

Vietnamese coffee has that special taste many people like. But can you drink it while you’re on a KETO diet or while fasting? Let’s find out.

Just like other coffee, Vietnamese coffee is suitable to drink while following a KETO diet or fasting. That only goes for the black coffee without anything added. You can add ice without problems but not condensed milk or sugar which is very common in Vietnamese coffee.

Let’s get into the details a little bit deeper.


Vietnamese coffee nutrition

If coffee breaks a fast and/or is KETO friendly, depends largely on its nutrition values.

However, I have to be clear about what I mean with ‘Vietnamese Coffee’ exactly. Because not everybody has the same thing in mind when you say those words.

These are the two thing people understand;

  • Coffee made in Vietnam with Vietnamese beans
  • Iced coffee with milk

While the second uses the first, they aren’t necessarily the same thing. And which one you mean really changes the answers to the questions stated in the title.

So let’s split the answer up in;

  • The coffee itself
  • Everything else that can go into it

By splitting up these things you might already know where this is going but below is exactly what and why regarding both things.


Black Coffee

First let’s take a look at the coffee itself. Just the black coffee straight from the filter. In the end it doesn’t really matter if it’s Vietnamese coffee or other. While the taste is different, the nutrition content is pretty similar.

Suggested post: Why is Vietnamese coffee so strong?

Besides the taste there is one difference in Vietnamese coffee that could have an impact. The caffeine content per milliliter is higher than a standard mug of coffee. That’s because the Robusta beans used for Vietnamese coffee.

Suggested post: Is Vietnamese coffee the same as espresso?


Is it KETO friendly?

Yes, black coffee without anything else added in, is KETO friendly. It doesn’t matter if it’s Vietnamese coffee or not. Caffeine actually has some benefits for people on a KETO diet.

There is no or very, very few carbs or protein in black coffee. That means it’s perfectly fine to drink black coffee while doing KETO. Vietnamese coffee is no different.  As long as you don’t put anything else in it, you’re good.


Does it break a fast?

Fasting is not the same as KETO although they often get used together. KETO means low carbs. Fasting means you don’t eat anything. Water is OK however.

That’s where coffee falls into a kind of weird category. It’s a liquid that’s very low calorie but not absolutely zero calories. Brewing coffee extracts compounds and oils from the coffee grounds. The color and taste of coffee is made up of things that were in the beans before. That’s means there are some nutrients and very few calories in there.

The general consensus is that a normal amount of coffee doesn’t break a fast. One or two cups is fine. There are several reasons for this;

  • The amount of calories, although not 0 is very low.
  • It helps suppress hunger which helps you fast longer/easier
  • Coffee has compounds in it which actually have some beneficial effects during fasting.

That means a limited amount of black coffee is actually not a bad thing during a fast.

But what about the other things you put in your coffee?


Other ingredients

Now where things get more interesting is with what you put in the coffee after it drips into your glass. Coffee is a pretty versatile drink and you can put many things in it. Vietnamese coffee is no different. Here are some of the most common add-ins;

  • Ice
  • Sugar
  • Condensed milk

Let’s take a look at all of those separately to answer our questions.


Ice

Ice is just water. You can drink as much water as you want while following a KETO diet and it won’t make a difference except in your hydration.

Since ice is just frozen water, it doesn’t matter at all for KETO or fasting if you put it in your coffee. There are no calories, no carbs no sugar, etc. So, if you feel like adding a kilo of ice to your coffee, knock yourself out. It’s still suitable for both KETO and fasting.

Vietnamese coffee is pretty strong tasting and high in caffeine so for people who like a lighter taste, it’s not a bad idea to add some ice anyways.


Sugar

If you order black coffee in Vietnam, it often comes with sugar even if you don’t ask for it. Sometimes it will come separately and sometimes already mixed in the coffee. If you don’t want sugar, nine out of ten times, you have to mention it specifically.

The reason you have to be careful with sugar in your coffee is;

  • For the taste
  • It’s not KETO friendly
  • It will break a fast

Just a teaspoon of sugar has 16 calories and 4.2 carbs. While most KETO dieters allow themselves to eat about 25-50 carbs a day, it’s not a great idea to get them in your coffee.

Because many vegetables have  a few carbohydrates you would be limiting other healthier foods you could be eating over the day. Also, the caffeine influences your blood glucose. Caffeine combined with sugar will have a larger blood sugar spike which will get you out of ketosis which is the point of a KETO diet.

While some people would argue you can eat up to 50 calories before you break a fast, I personally think that any calories are too much when fasting. Black coffee is low enough in calories to not make a difference. Adding sugar combined with the caffeine, will raise the blood glucose level. This means your body has to respond to this which means you’re not in a fasted state anymore.


Condensed milk

This is what makes Vietnamese coffee Vietnamese in the eyes of many people: The addition of condensed milk. Condensed milk sounds pretty harmless as long as you don’t look at the nutrition label. While it’s not actively bad, condensed milk does have a ton of sugar and therefore calories. All the same problems as with sugar apply.

While you can argue about the results of a single teaspoon of sugar, the amount of condensed milk in the average Ca Phe Sua Da (Iced coffee with milk), is more than enough to kick you out of ketosis and break a fast.

You don’t just use a single teaspoon to make this drink, it’s often more like two-three generous table spoons. That’s +-90-150 calories and 15-23 grams of carbs in a single cup of Ca Phe Sua Da. It’s delicious so if you want it, go for it but it will certainly break a fast and is not even closely KETO friendly.


How to make a KETO friendly Vietnamese Iced coffee with milk

Is it possible to make a KETO friendly Ca Phe Sua Da? Vietnamese iced coffee with milk has a few simple ingredients;

  • Black Vietnamese coffee
  • Ice
  • Condensed milk

Black coffee and ice are fine. They are completely KETO friendly. That just leaves the condensed milk. The condensed milk does two things; 1.  Make the coffee creamier, the taste smoother. 2. Make the coffee sweeter.

That makes it a bit more difficult to replace than just fresh milk.

One signature characteristic of the Vietnamese iced coffee is its thick consistency. That means we want to use a dairy replacement with a thick consistency like condensed milk.

The good thing on KETO is that you can have as much fat as you want. This gives us two good options to replace the condensed milk;

  • Heavy cream
  • Coconut cream

Coconut cream will change the taste but it’s pretty awesome nonetheless.

That just leaves the sweetener. There are tons of KETO sweeteners available but monkfruit is a popular choice.


KETO Friendly Vietnamese iced coffee recipe

  1. Put two or three tablespoons of heavy or coconut cream in a glass.
  2. Prepare your Phin and put it on top of the glass.
  3. Wait until all the water has dripped through the filter
  4. Mix the coffee and cream
  5. Add ice
  6. Add sweetener to taste

The taste won’t be completely the same as with real condensed milk but it’s delicious in its own right and sometimes you have to make some sacrifices to follow your diet.

If you want to go the extra mile and make something that’s even closer to condensed milk, check out this recipe.

Keep in mind while this might be KETO friendly, it will certainly break a fast.

Favorite Vietnamese Coffee Products

To make Vietnamese coffee you don’t need many things so makes sure the things you use are correct!

Vietnamese Coffee: Get your traditional coffee from Nguyen coffee supply. It’s freshly roasted in the USA so it’s much fresher than imported bags. The used beans are 100% Vietnamese. Here’s a combo pack (Amazon) to see what you like best.

Phin: The only way to brew Vietnamese coffee is with a Phin. This one (amazon link) works well is cheap and reusable.

Scale: Even though a Phin isn’t super picky with weights, to brew and adjust your cups to be consistently delicious, a simple scale helps tremendously. I’ve been using this one (Amazon link) for over a year and while it’s not the most aesthetic, it works well.

Condensed milk: To make the delicious ca phe sua da, you need condensed milk. This one (Amazon link) is organic and works perfectly.

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