17 Feb Does butter make it better?
One of the more recent trends in coffee home brewing has been to add coconut oil and/or grass-fed butter to make a drink called bulletproof coffee. I first heard of bulletproof coffee two years ago when a friend that was on the Ketogenic diet wanted to add more fat to her diet. I’m still a bit horrified, but, as a concept, adding butter to coffee isn’t too different than adding heavy cream: either way it cuts the acidity and dilutes the flavor of your coffee. I wouldn’t add butter to your best coffee as its not about the flavor of the coffee. Bulletproof is more about working good cholesterol into your day; before you go about putting whatever butter into your coffee, it’s important to know why coconut oil (specifically MCT oil) and grass-fed butter are used.
Medium-Chain Triglyceride or MCT oil is found within coconut oil, palm kernal oil, cheese, butter, milk and yogurt. MCTs are easily digested by your body and less-likely to be stored in fat cells, but its still unknown whether it contributes to weight loss. By adding MCT oil alone instead of having it naturally in other foods you are getting a much higher concentration, which is ideal for Ketosis (ketogenic diet), but not necessary for other types of weight loss. Grass-fed butter has MCTs, but also contains vitamin K2, which helps heart health and bone strength. Vitamin K2 is somewhat uncommon in most modern diets as its highest concentrations are found in grass-fed butter, bone broth or fermented foods like natto or kim chi. Though there are many health benefits to MCT oil, coconut oil and grass-fed butter, there isn’t much synergy between these good fats and the coffee with regard to health. If you want more grass-fed butter or coconut oil in your diet, it would make sense to just cook with it as you would any other oil.
In the official bulletproof coffee diet, coffee with beneficial oils is substituted for breakfast. Maybe it’s because I’m a morning person, but I tend to take the time to enjoy a good breakfast. I wouldn’t advocate anything that involved substituting coffee for an actual breakfast because, though coffee, MCT oil and grass-fed butter have benefits, it isn’t the same as real food. When substituting for meals, bulletproof coffee is generally used to cut calorie intake, but adding beneficial fats will not give you all the nutrition rich qualities of actual food. Without going too much into the topic of fad dieting, it’s much healthier to take those same calories out of several meals or make filling meals with less calories instead of throwing one whole meal under the bus.
If you choose to have your bulletproof coffee in addition to your meals, there are a lot of promises from bulletproof coffee about “added focus” and “optimizing your energy” and there is some truth in that. By adding fat into your coffee you slow the release of caffeine into your bloodstream because it takes your body longer to process the fats than coffee alone so you get more of a slow release than a rush. Additionally, the fat of either butter or MCT oil/coconut oil lessens the potentially harmful effects of coffee’s acidity and protects your stomach. Even if you don’t buy into all of bulletproof coffee’s promises, its a nice way to enjoy coffee for people who are sensitive to caffeine without buying decaf.