Does Butter Coffee Have Health Benefits?

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Butter has found its way into coffee cups for its purported fat-burning and mental clarity benefits, despite many coffee drinkers finding this non-traditional. You may wonder if adding butter to your coffee is healthy or just another trend driven by false claims.  In this article, we aim to provide evidence-based information on the potential health benefits and risks of adding butter to your coffee, so you can decide if you want to give it a try.

In this article:

What is it?
Health Benefits of Butter Coffee
How to Consume
Nutrition
Side Effects of Butter Coffee

What is it?

Bulletproof coffee is a coffee made by mixing coffee, butter, and MCT oil. It is the new and upgraded version of butter coffee or butter (yak butter) tea that is a popular energy drink in Tibet. In fact, the practice of taking coffee with butter or any other source of fat was around even before coffee was consumed as a beverage. Somewhere around 575-850 CE, the nomadic mountain warriors of the Galla tribe, Ethiopia, combined crushed coffee beans with animal fat and consumed them as a snack and a source of energy during warfare and long treks.

butter coffee recipe

So, it is not really a new concept. Small groups of people all around the world already knew about it, but now, the entire world is aware of the existence of this fatty drink that supposedly has many health benefits. Before we get into the benefits or side effects of bulletproof coffee, let me tell you how to prepare bulletproof coffee at home in 5 minutes.

Health Benefits of Butter Coffee

The internet is rife with anecdotal evidence claiming that drinking butter coffee boosts energy, increases focus and promotes weight loss. Here are some science-backed health benefits related to the individual ingredients typically used to make butter coffee:

Coffee

Packed with health-promoting antioxidants like chlorogenic acid, coffee may increase energy, enhance concentration, promote fat burning, and even reduce the risk of certain diseases.

Grass-Fed Butter

Grass-fed butter contains higher amounts of powerful antioxidants, including beta carotene, as well as higher amounts of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, than regular butter.

Coconut Oil or MCT Oil

Coconut oil is a healthy fat that may increase heart-protective HDL (good) cholesterol and reduce inflammation. MCT oil has been shown to promote weight loss and improve cholesterol.

May Benefit those on Ketogenic Diets

One advantage of butter coffee applies to those following the ketogenic diet. Drinking a high-fat beverage like butter coffee may help people on a keto diet reach and maintain ketosis.

May Promote Feelings of Fullness

Adding butter, MCT oil, or coconut oil to your coffee will make it more filling due to the extra calories and ability of fats to make you feel more full. However, some butter coffee beverages can contain over 450 calories per cup (240 ml). This is fine if your cup of butter coffee is replacing a meal like breakfast, but adding this high-calorie brew to your normal breakfast meal can cause weight gain if the calories aren’t accounted for during the rest of the day.

How to Consume

Here’s how you can make bulletproof coffee:

Ingredients
  • 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
  • 1 tablespoon MCT oil or coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons grass-fed, unsalted butter

Nutrition

A standard 8-ounce (237-ml) cup of coffee with 2 tablespoons of both coconut oil and unsalted butter contains:

  • Calories: 445
  • Carbs:0 grams
  • Total fat:50 grams
  • Protein:0 grams
  • Fiber:0 grams
  • Sodium: 9% of the reference daily intake (rdi)
  • Vitamin a: 20% of the rdi

Nearly 85% of the fat in butter coffee is saturated fat. Although butter coffee also contains minute amounts of calcium, vitamins k and e, and several of the b vitamins, it’s not a good source of these nutrients.

Side Effects of Butter Coffee

But what if you’re on the keto diet and can’t seem to get enough fat into your day? Is it ok, then, to drink bulletproof keto coffee? Clinical studies have shown that for many individuals, eating too much-saturated fat can contribute to high LDL-cholesterol. If you fall into that category, you may not want to add butter to a drink that you were satisfied with already. If you’re going to drink bulletproof coffee, do it for one reason only because you think it tastes good.

Therefore, to conclude, butter coffee seems like a decent breakfast option, especially if you want to include something new in your diet. But be careful with it and don’t believe everything you hear about it. Educate yourself on this food and consult your doctor about your health and diet. Only then go for it.

References

https://www.lipidjournal.com/article/s1933-2874(15)00170-1/fulltext

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