Should You Be Drinking Butter Coffee?

Featured Article, Healthy Recipes and Nutrition
on May 16, 2014
butter coffee

How do you like your coffee—black? With a sprinkle of sugar? A dash of milk, perhaps?

But what about dropping a pat of grass-fed organic butter (yes, butter) into your morning cup of joe? It might sound gross, but so-called “butter coffee” is being touted as the latest elixir for better health. Butter coffee aficionados swear that this miracle brew does everything from boost energy to improve cognitive function to help shed pounds.

Intrigued—and slightly revolted—we decided to investigate: Is butter coffee really worth the hype, or is just another strange wrinkle in health-world time?

According to Dave Asprey, butter coffee pioneer and founder of Bulletproof Executive, butter coffee has helped him lose weight and enhance work performance. But there’s a catch: You have to use the right kind of butter and coffee. To brew a cup with maximum health benefits, Asprey advises adding a combination of organic, unsalted grass-fed butter and MCT oil—a blend of coconut and palm oil—to mycotoxin-free coffee. As Asprey explains on his site, “MCT oil promotes high energy, fat loss and brain function. It will make you feel better and get thinner.”

The butter coffee movement stems from a similar logic as the high-fat, high-protein Paleo diet. According to some health experts, grains have displaced fat as our major calorie source, with negative repercussions for our brains. Grain consumption is thought to be linked to our current epidemic of neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s. Over 251 studies sited in David Perlmutter’s revolutionary book Grain Brain suggest everyone could use more saturated fat, like coconut oil and butter. So the idea is that by drinking a high-fat buttery brew first thing in the morning, you’ll stave off hunger later on and eat less throughout the day. Plus, devotees swear that the taste is creamier and more satisfying than your standard latte.

Before you start dishing spoonfuls of butter into your daily cup of joe, keep in mind that butter and MCTs often contain high amounts of trans and saturated fats, which may increase your risk of heart attack or stroke. As research associate Christopher Ochner, Ph.D. explains to Women’s Health, “One tablespoon of grass-fed butter and one tablespoon of MCT oil adds up to more than 100 percent of your recommended daily allowance of saturated fat.”

Not to mention—news flash!—butter isn’t exactly a low-calorie food. If you plan on drinking bulletproof coffee on a regular basis, you’ll need to account for the extra 200 to 300 calories in your diet by subtracting foods throughout the day. For similar benefits without the “ick” factor, you also might consider drinking black coffee alongside scrambled eggs cooked in natural MCT oil.

Bottom line? If you are trying to lose weight, butter coffee may not be the perfect antidote. But if you are looking for an extra boost at work, then bulletproof coffee may be worth a go.

Want to try your hand at concocting a buttery brew? Camille Styles offers a great recipe and tutorial here.