If the thought of adding butter to your coffee seems ludicrous, tell that to the ardent fans of this unusual beverage that’s popularly known as “bulletproof coffee.” But is this something you should seriously consider doing? There may be some reasons for you to consider adding a dollop of butter and oil to your favorite cuppa, but you need to do it right.
What Is Buttered Coffee?
Buttered coffee is, as the name suggests, coffee that has butter in it. In addition, it also contains coconut oil, which offers its own goodness. To whip up a cup, all you need to do is brew yourself a regular cup of coffee and then add a tablespoon each of coconut oil and grass-fed butter to it and blend until you get a frothy and light creamy drink.
So why do some people refer to it as “bulletproof coffee”? This particular drink was made famous by the CEO of the fitness and nutrition firm, The Bulletproof Executive, who built a business around the drink.
The Claim: Benefits Of Butter Coffee
True-blue bulletproof coffee is made with proper medium chain triglyceride oil, which has a host of benefits for your body, according to the folks at Bulletproof. Here’s a look at what buttered coffee can do for you.
According to the creators of bulletproof coffee, the drink is easily metabolized for use by your muscles and brain as an energy source due to the medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) in them. This eases the load on your liver which would traditionally bear the brunt. The high metabolic availability of MCTs was confirmed in a study involving athletes who were given oral MCTs as an additional energy source to glucose. Oxidation rates were found to be 70 percent of the ingestion rate.1
Medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), the kind found in coconut oil included, can help increase the energy used by your body. This revving up of metabolism has been found to even help with the loss of fat in overweight men. In one study, the upper body adipose tissue lost on a diet rich in MCTs for 4 weeks, was attributed to the greater fat oxidation and energy expenditure due to MCT intake.2 Bulletproof Executive founder Dave Asprey has himself famously claimed to have lost all his excess weight on his special diet that included this coffee.
Improved Brain Function
While this claim needs further research, backers of the drink say it can help you focus better and even improve brain function. The caffeine in the this coffee in particular, is responsible. As research has shown, the short-term consumption of a moderate level of caffeine can be beneficial for brain function.3 A caveat here is that the study specifically says “short-term”, so prolonged consumption buttered coffee may not be what the doctor ordered.
Better Than Flavored Coffees
One of the things that make butter coffee good is that it gives you a change from your usual cuppa, but without the artificial flavors, sugar, and additives that flavored syrups have. Plus, you’ll also get the goodness of extra virgin coconut oil in this drink, which is a plus. And this form of coconut oil can help boost sluggish metabolism4 and even fight off oxidative stress experienced by your body due to drinking and other reasons.5
Good On A Keto Diet
A ketogenic diet is one that’s low on carbs and high on fat and could possibly help you with weight loss, and even improve levels of good HDL cholesterol and reduce triglyceride levels.6 If you’ve bought into the whole keto diet concept, this drink fits right into the diet plan. Designed to supply you with energy and improve brain function and focus, it’s something that ticks the boxes for good keto diet foods.
The Problems With Butter Coffee
Butter coffee may seem like a good idea, especially once you’ve heard all the promotions and marketing around it. But there are some things you should be wary of, and others that might stop you from having it at all!
If you’re drinking buttered coffee in lieu of eating a meal, particularly breakfast, you should watch out. You shouldn’t be trading in a balanced healthy meal with fresh produce and healthy lean protein or eggs for what is essentially an amped-up cup of coffee! Breakfast is a critical meal of the day and, as Ayurveda suggests, is something that’s supposed to slowly fire up your digestive system and provide a sustained release of energy to keep you going all morning. Fatty foods that are hard to digest are actually what you should avoid because they can overload your digestive system.7
This drink adds more saturated fats into your diet, in the form of butter. If you’re someone with high cholesterol, dyslipidemia, or if you’re at risk of cardiovascular disease or stroke, then you may want to tread cautiously. Check with your doctor on whether having this quantity of butter and oil on a daily basis is alright. In spite of some research showing that consumption of MCTs helps bring favorable changes to lipid profiles, there have been instances of individuals lipid profile worsening after consumption of this kind of drink.8
Unlike a cup of plain black coffee that you might even drink without any sugar in it and has almost no calories, a cup of butter coffee packs in a lot more calories. A regular portion of the coffee is said to have a whopping 450 calories in it.9To put this in perspective, the iced mocha coffees which you probably count as a treat have about 159 kcal in them. 10 And a ready to drink flavored sweetened milk-based coffee has just 101 kcal in it. 11
How To Avoid It Being Harmful
- Want to enjoy a cup of buttered coffee? That’s fine if you ensure you’re doing it right.
- Don’t make the coffee a meal substitute. And certainly not for breakfast.
- Ensure you eat a balanced meal rich in all nutrients, and don’t have the drink in lieu of a healthy meal but as a between meal times regular coffee or tea substitute.
- Be sure to factor in the fat and calories you are getting with this drink and cut back on the amount of other fats you consume through the day.
- Caffeine can stay in your body for many hours after you have drunk it – as long as five to six hours later too. So be sure to have the drink well before bedtime to avoid losing sleep because of the lingering caffeine buzz.12
- If you’re adding coconut oil to the drink, ensure it is cold-pressed extra virgin coconut oil. You’ll be able to tap into the benefits of the oil if you have a pure additive-free organic version.
- Use only grass-fed butter. It is supposed to be healthier for you than regular butter because of the higher levels of heart-friendly omega-3 fatty acids.13
|↑1||Jeukendrup, ASKER E., W. H. Saris, P. A. T. R. I. C. K. Schrauwen, F. R. E. D. Brouns, and A. J. Wagenmakers. “Metabolic availability of medium-chain triglycerides coingested with carbohydrates during prolonged exercise.” Journal of Applied Physiology 79, no. 3 (1995): 756-762.|
|↑2||St‐Onge, Marie‐Pierre, Robert Ross, William D. Parsons, and Peter JH Jones. “Medium‐chain triglycerides increase energy expenditure and decrease adiposity in overweight men.” Obesity research 11, no. 3 (2003): 395-402.|
|↑3||Nikolic, Jelenka, Gordana Bjelakovic, and Ivana Stojanovic. “Effect of caffeine on metabolism of L-arginine in the brain.” Molecular and cellular Biochemistry 244, no. 1-2 (2003): 125-128.|
|↑4||Nagao, Koji, and Teruyoshi Yanagita. “Medium-chain fatty acids: functional lipids for the prevention and treatment of the metabolic syndrome.” Pharmacological Research 61, no. 3 (2010): 208-212.|
|↑5||Dosumu, O. O., F. I. O. Duru, A. A. Osinubi, A. A. Oremosu, and C. C. Noronha. “Influence of virgin coconut oil (VCNO) on oxidative stress, serum testosterone and gonadotropic hormones (FSH, LH) in chronic ethanol ingestion.” Agriculture and Biology Journal of North America 6 (2010): 1126-1132.|
|↑6||Westman, Eric C., John Mavropoulos, William S. Yancy Jr, and Jeff S. Volek. “A review of low-carbohydrate ketogenic diets.” Current atherosclerosis reports 5, no. 6 (2003): 476-483.|
|↑7||Breakfast Ideas for Yogis. Yoga Journal.|
|↑8||Toklu, Bora, Vanessa Milne, Maria Bella, and James A. Underberg. “Rise in Serum Lipids After Dietary Incorporation of “Bulletproof Coffee”.” Journal of Clinical Lipidology 9, no. 3 (2015): 462.|
|↑9||Buttered Coffee Could Make You Invincible. And This Man Very Rich.Bloomberg.|
|↑10, ↑11||Beverages, coffee, ready to drink, iced, mocha, milk based. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28.|
|↑12||Drake, Christopher, Timothy Roehrs, John Shambroom, and Thomas Roth. “Caffeine effects on sleep taken 0, 3, or 6 hours before going to bed.” J Clin Sleep Med 9, no. 11 (2013): 1195-1200.|
|↑13||Hebeisen, Dorothea F., F. Hoeflin, H. P. Reusch, E. Junker, and B. H. Lauterburg. “Increased concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids in milk and platelet rich plasma of grass-fed cows.” International journal for vitamin and nutrition research. Internationale Zeitschrift fur Vitamin-und Ernahrungsforschung. Journal international de vitaminologie et de nutrition 63, no. 3 (1992): 229-233.|