Coffee and Cream, Ketosis and Autophagy

On Twitter, Jerry Teixeira (JT) declared his love of cream in coffee. It led to a long thread where the joys and benefits of creamy vs black coffee were argued.

An interesting side discussion formed over the issue of fasting, ketosis, and autophagy. I must admit that my understanding was always a big hazy about the relationship between the latter two, both of which can be results of fasting. Despite common factors involved in both processes, I didn’t think there was a causal link.

I guess there is a connection, after all (Camberos-Luna et al, The Ketone Body, β-Hydroxybutyrate Stimulates the Autophagic Flux and Prevents Neuronal Death Induced by Glucose Deprivation in Cortical Cultured Neurons.). Even so, that still leaves other benefits of fasting, such as downregulating mTOR (vitamin D3 and Autophagy).

* * *

Patrice Bäumel
My number one reason for drinking black coffee in the morning is to not interfere with IF, which cream does.

Rob W. James
The benefits of IF are overstated in my opinion. Most of the benefits come from calorie restriction, which a splash of milk isn’t going to make much difference too

Patrice Bäumel
The main benefit is clearing out damaged cells. It’s an anti-aging hack. You lose that benefit by breaking fast.

Coffee is still a xenobiotic, you are breaking a fast by drinking coffee and you are breaking a fast by drinking 2 tbsp cream. Regardless, autophagy is stimulated via ketogenesis, neither coffee nor cream Inhibit ketogenesis.

Autophagy doesn’t really hit significant levels until 48hrs though. So benefits are mininal if any during IF

This is not to say autphagy isn’t present until 48hrs, rather it hits full scale around 48hrs.
And if autophagy is why you “fast” an extended fast.. past a normal IF, is necessary to achieve what you’re after.

Autophagy happens downstream via BHB regardless, when you are on a ketogenic diet you have these elevated BHB levels at that point for long periods, where fasting takes 48 hours to get you where a Keto diet keeps you

So if you are IF and eating plenty of carbs I totally agree. It takes longer to get to the higher BHB levels because BHB and carbohydrate are inversely proportional

This is such an important point I don’t see anyone talking about.
That’s why I was talking about fasting a few weeks ago.
No one is talking about needing to be in ketosis to be fasted. So most of these guys doing IF are basically just TRE.. Which is a good enough reason to IF

The contents creators aren’t talking about this though and selling false promises of autophagy and fountain of youth.

I read an article about IF that showed signs of arteriole smoothing with a 16:8 diet. If this is true then autophagy at 48 hours isn’t necessary for sole benefit and daily fasting does have vasculature anti-aging properties.

There are benefits for every hour you fast according to Salk institute researchers . What we will need to see is calorie matched studies between TRE/ IF and CR. But to say there is zero additional benefit if you are healthy is wrong. The amount of benefit is arguable

Beta hydroxy butyrate is an HDAC inhibitor and downstream via that action increases autophagy. Cream doesn’t matter. The longer you fast for the higher the bhb. Or a ketogenic diet can increase the bhb. Ketogenic diet mimics fasting and vice Versa.

They are not synonymous. Of course, however elevated BHB levels are a common thread and a little cream in your coffee is not going to matter at all in that regard.

Myriads research over the last two years and mixing more underway showing the mechanisms by which you still see these benefits from BHB weather or not you fast. I am compiling all the links and will sends them over when done if you would like

Hell, coffee alone (even decaf) induces autophagy.

Yeah, I saw some research that it increases ketogenisis

7 thoughts on “Coffee and Cream, Ketosis and Autophagy

  1. Oh…creamy, lovely French Vanilla or, maybe…Hazelnut coffee? Mmmm….

    Isn’t it interesting how a discussion of how we like our coffee can devolve into which overall diet we should subscribe to? Or whether we should fast? Or whether we’re breaking a fast by indulging our passions? Or…

    Aurobindo’s “Subjective Age,” must indeed, be upon us. 😀

    • Now that you mention it… I suppose it is is a bit amusing. I’m so used to these kinds of discussions being sparked by otherwise minor comments. But to be fair to these Twitter participants, the original Tweet was designed to incite debate, as innocent as it might appear to an outsider. This involved a bunch of low-carbers and so they quickly fell into typical divisions and much of it was playful. Many of the other comments not shared above were far less serious.

      It is true, though, that this kind of Twitter thread tends to attract people who take diet seriously. And caffeine, as a highly addictive substance, always brings out disagreement. Even those on the carnivore diet argue over whether or not to make a special exemption for coffee. There are many carnivore dieters who can give up every plant food, including pepper on their steaks, but can’t give up coffee. The cream in coffee issue, with dairy being another substance people find addictive (see my post on The Agricultural Mind) is an extension of this sensitive topic.

      The original commenter was being humorous in pretending to take a strong position. Not that it took long for some people to turn it into a high-minded debate over the science. People enjoy arguing about their preferred addictive substances as much as they enjoy consuming them. People get even more excited when taking sides about the far more addictive substance we lovingly call sugar. The opiate epidemic is no where near as controversial. These substances, as I’ve asserted, are the very foundation of our subjective society. Our subjectivity obsesses over them because we might not have our subjectivity at all without them.

      But that is me being overly serious.

        • It is just the debates of any group can seem silly to someone who doesn’t belong to that group. Low-carbers arguing about coffee might look like Mormons arguing about tea. And I’m sure Mormoms have great and wondrous debates about the theological nuances for and against tea, based on their holy scripture. I could imagine an entire Mormon reform movement inspired by the tea conflict. And in that case, the true believers would not be amused as they fought over the one true dietary dogma.

          • Two additional thoughts, of the serious intellectual variety. I have long been fond of certain addictive stimulants, by the way. Coffee and tea have been among my favorites, but my sugar addiction used to be far worse and for a brief period I became addicted to cigarettes. I personally know the connection between these addictive stimulants and individualism, specifically by way of depression and brooding. Here is my first point. The highly addictive stimulants (cocaine, nicotine, caffeine, sugar, etc; wheat and dairy also show addictive traits) promote not only individualism and subjectivity but also intellectuality. That is why I see it as not a mere coincidence that the Enlightenment Age coincided with the colonial introduction of these addictive stimulants nor that the Axial Age coincided with the first wave of cultivation of addictive stimulants.

            Second, maybe it is unsurprising what we see with the Mormons. Let’s take their bans on addictive stimulants as something more than an odd theological quirk. Maybe that is a central contributing factor to why they are a less individualistic and more communal religion. Also, maybe it relates to why they aren’t known for producing great individual intellects. I bet individualistic Protestants (and Anabaptists) have higher rates of addiction. But also consider the impressive minds that have come out of Protestantism (and Anabaptism), such as MLK. One of the first uses of caffeine in the West was by Christian monks keeping their brains buzzing to stay awake. If that was changing the mindset of some of the clergy, maybe that could explain some of what helped cause the Protestant Reformation.

            Much of this is conjecture. Still, it is informed conjecture. In the posts I’ve written about it, I’ve backed it up with the science of what we know on the impact of various substances on neurocognition, psychology, and identity. I’m far from the only one making this connection. I was originally inspired by something I read in the 1990s about sugar being a major force behind Enlightenment thought, from a book on the affect of food on the mind and society (I forget now the author). It’s maybe not that unique of an idea, as the connection occurs to many people.
            The main difference with my own thought is in explaining it not only in historic and social terms but also scientifically and neurologically.

            Something like caffeine didn’t only promote intellectuality, a buzz of the mind. It also gets the body stimulated. This might be related to the rise of capitalism during the centuries of the collapse of feudalism and the rise of modernity. And as the body and mind went buzzing off in their separate directions, we had the emergence of Cartesian dualism and Cartesian anxiety. This reinforced a new dynamic class-based society, in place of the former stable caste system.
            “The first coffee houses appeared in the 16th century, thanks to the Venetian merchants, and became meeting places for artists and intellectuals. In the Enlightenment age, coffee was widely appreciated as a perfect tonic for stimulating reflection and debate: it is said that Voltaire drank some thirty cups a day. In the centuries that followed, coffee continued to spread, also gaining favour among the poorer classes, as an indispensable pick-me-up during hard working days. ”

            Under stress, MLK first turned to coffee and, after that, turned to prayer.
            “As King’s wife, Coretta, and 10-week-old daughter, Yolanda, slept in the master bedroom nearby, the voice on the other end of the line said: “N, we’re tired of your mess. And if you aren’t out of this town in three days, we’re going to blow up your house and blow your brains out.” Shaken, King went to the kitchen, made himself a cup of coffee, but soon buried his face in his hands. He began to pray aloud: “Lord, I’m down here trying to do what’s right … But … I must confess … I’m losing my courage.”

            MLK made an observation about jail food, from July 12, 1962 (The Papers of Martin Luther King, Jr., Volume VII: To Save the Soul of America, January 1961 August 1962):
            “The food is generally good in this jail. This may be due to the fact that the food is cooked, not in the jail itself, but in a cafe adjacent to the jail. For breakfast we had link sausage, eggs and grits. I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered that the coffee had cream and sugar. In all other jails that I have inhabited we were not permitted to have sugar or cream in the coffee.”
            So, sugar and cream in coffee was a sign of civilization and a symbol of who was perceived as being civilized, as belonging. Interestingly, MLK’s namesake, the Protestant reformer, grew up without coffee or tea, although they did have sugar by that point — colonial trade apparently was beginning to bring in these new goods. The German diet of the 16th century had been mostly meat and rough bread (not the hard to grow wheat with its addictive tendencies).

            “Moreover, up to the reign of James 1., the staple bread of the country was a. coarse unleavened black mass of barley-meal (for, until 1634, yeast was not used by the English bakers); while it was only a century previous to that period that vegetables were introduced from Flanders, sugar having been gener ally eaten with the meat, “to correct its putres cency” before cabbages and salads became known among us, an event which did not happen till the year 1520. Cauliflowers, again (the “ queen of vegetables,” as they were originally called), were so rare a delicacy from Cyprus, that they were too ex pensive an article to be commonly sold at market till the reign of Charles IL: nor did the people know the flavour of beans, peas, or lettuces up to the beginning of the seventeenth century; whilst, as for the commoner kinds of fruits, they were gen erally unheard-of delicacies for more than fifteen hundred years after the birth of Christ. Apples, for instance, came to us originally from Syria in 1525. Strawberries from Flanders in 1530; and gooseberries from the same country a few years later. Currants from Corinth in 1533. Pears from various climes in 1562. Plums from Damas cus in 1596; and walnuts from America in 1629. Whilst it was between the reigns of Henry VII. and that of Elizabeth that our present garden flow ers were mostly introduced into England.

            “Nor was there a printed book in the world till the close of the fifteenth century; neither was a carriage seen in our own country till 1553, nor a hackney conveyance till a hundred years after wards, nor a. mail coach till 1784, nor a watch till 1658; nor was even a cup of tea or coffee to be had in the land till the year 1641—1666, at which time the former article fetched as much as sixty shillings the pound. […]

            “Hence it will be seen that the dawn of “the age of comfort”—the golden age of civilized society— was in the beginning of the sixteenth century; and as the opening of our story dates from the end of the fifteent “year-hundred,” as the Germans say, it must be understood that the early days of Martin Luther were the days of straw beds and bare floors, of black bread, and of sugar eaten with meat instead of vegetables; of wooden platters; of no forks and no glass; of no stockings, no soap, no bonnets, and hardly any but wooden shoes ;“‘ of no coaches; no watches; no tea nor coffee; no fruit nor garden flowers; and scarcely any books.”
            (Henry Mayhew, The Boyhood of Martin Luther, Or, The Sufferings of the Heroic Little Beggar-boy who Afterwards Became the Great German Reformer, pp. 100-102)

            By the way, this relates to what I’ve written about Medieval food laws that set the stage for the Protestant Reformation.
            The emergence of something like sugar was transformative to society, albeit initially limited to the richest of the rich. In 1569, here is a description of the food at a ball attended by the French monarchy and aristocracy (and keep in mind that not long before that sugar was unavailable even to the richest Westerners):
            “an infinite number of all sorts of confitures, dry and liquid, diversite de dragees, massepains biscuits, and other singularities of that sort, and there was every kind of fruit to be found in the wide world, whatever its season, and every sort of meat; and every sort of fish, all executed in sugar, and quite true to nature—even the dishes were made of sugar.” (Anne Marsh-Caldwell, The Protestant Reformation in France, Or, History of the Hugonots, Volume 2)

            Another substance I’ve never explored is hops, the opposite of a stimulant. But it might have had an interesting influence on society, as it became widespread at the same time as did these other stimulants — a balance of uppers and downers. Also, hops allowed beer to become a profitable product for the burgeoning international trade and so fit right into the emerging individualistic ethos of capitalism. And that reminds me of the role both tea shops and taverns as places where intellectuals, radicals, and revolutionaries could meet and talk. There could be a reason that tea became such a symbolic product for that most famous revolt by the so-called Boston Tea Party. Tea and taxation, key elements of colonial capitalism.
            “”The church didn’t like hops,” says William Bostwick, the beer critic for The Wall Street Journal and author of The Brewer’s Tale: A History of the World According to Beer. “One reason was that the 12th century German mystic and abbess Hildegard had pronounced that hops were not very good for you, because they ‘make the soul of a man sad and weigh down his inner organs.’ So, if you were a Protestant brewer and wanted to thumb your nose at Catholicism, you used hops instead of herbs.”

            “Even before the Reformation, German princes had been moving toward hops — in 1516, for instance, a Bavarian law mandated that beer could be made only with hops, water and barley. But Luther’s revolt gave the weed a significant boost. The fact that hops were tax-free constituted only part of the draw. Hops had other qualities that appealed to the new movement; chiefly, their excellent preservative qualities. “All herbs and spices have preservative qualities, but with hops, beer could travel really well, so it became a unit of international trade that symbolized the growing business class, which was tangentially connected with the Protestant work ethic and capitalism,” says Bostwick.

            “Another virtue in hops’ favor was their sedative properties. The mystic Hildegard was right in saying hops weighed down one’s innards. “I sleep six or seven hours running, and afterwards two or three. I am sure it is owing to the beer,” wrote Luther to his wife, Katharina, from the town of Torgau, renowned for its beer. The soporific, mellowing effect of hops might seem like a drawback, but in fact it offered a welcome alternative to many of the spices and herbs used by the church that had hallucinogenic and aphrodisiacal properties. “Fueled by these potent concoctions, church ales could be as boisterous as the Germanic drinking bouts church elders once frowned on,” writes Bostwick. “And so, to distance themselves further from papal excesses, when Protestants drank beer they preferred it hopped.””

          • I like “informed conjecture” myself. Rather than explain that cryptic phrase, however, I think I’ll leave it at that. “We know what you mean.”

            Not many are exploring the links between general diet and true well-being. (I’ve been sidetracked by exponentially increasing concerns over “biotechnology” myself.)

            It seems you’ve found your “niche.” Very interesting content. Please continue.

          • The biotechnology stuff is interesting. Because of race realism and genetic determinism, I’ve had some interest in that kind of thing. Epigenetics particularly interests me. The view of that article about genetics fits what I’ve been reading in recent years.


            I don’t know if I found my niche or not. It wasn’t intentional. To be honest, I’d rather write about something else. But I see these connections that aren’t being fully articulated and I feel compelled to give them voice. It’s like a moral duty.

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