Examining the Health Benefits of Butter Coffee
Bulletproof coffee appears to be one of the demands made by the low-carb diet movement. The movement believes that foods containing a large number of fats, but low amounts of carbs, are beneficial to health.
Bulletproof coffee is also known as butter coffee. Food products made from butter coffee are common among paleo dieters and low-carb enthusiasts, but then, it is a mystery whether they have any health benefits in the real sense. In this article, we will get to know what bulletproof coffee is, its uses, and of course, the health benefits of butter coffee.
What is bulletproof coffee?
Just as we’ve said in the introduction, bulletproof coffee is just another name for butter coffee. Bulletproof coffee is simply plain brewed coffee mixed with butter.
History of butter coffee
Many people think that butter coffee is a modern recipe. Well, nothing could be farther from the truth. Butter coffee has been drunk throughout history.
Many communities and cultures, including the Gurage of Ethiopia, and the Sherpas of the Himalayas, have been drinking butter tea and butter coffee for hundreds of years.
Butter coffee and butter tea is mostly consumed by people living in regions located at high altitudes. The reason is not far-fetched. Working or living in high altitude regions increases individual calorie needs (1, 2, 3).
Also, consumption of tea prepared with yak butter is common among residents of the Himalayan region of India and Nepal, as well as some areas in China. Po cha or butter tea is common in Tibet and consumed daily (4).
In developed climes like Canada, the UK, and the US, butter coffee refers to coffee loaded with MCT oil, coconut oil, or butter. MCT is an acronym for medium-chain triglycerides. MCT is a type of fat derived from coconut oil.
The bulletproof coffee recipe is a trademarked recipe – the brainchild of Dave Asprey. It is made up of coffee, MCT oil, and grass-fed butter. Low-carb dieters are very enthusiastic about bulletproof coffee because of its many benefits such as appetite control, and energy boost.
Presently, butter coffee is consumed for many reasons, including promoting ketosis and enhancing weight loss. Ketosis is a metabolic state in which fat serves as the body’s main source of energy (5).
Butter coffee isn’t hard to make. You can prepare it with ease at home. On the other hand, you can purchase bulletproof coffee online or at grocery stores.
Does bulletproof coffee have any health benefits?
Google the health benefits of butter coffee and you’ll see loads of articles on the internet. There are several anecdotal pieces of evidence claiming that butter coffee increases focus, boosts energy, and promotes weight loss.
However, we have here some evidence-based health benefits of individual ingredients used to make butter coffee:
- Coffee: Coffee contains antioxidants such as chlorogenic acid. As such, it may enhance concentration, increase energy, boost fat burning, and also reduce the risk of some diseases (6).
- Grass-fed butter: Grass-fed butter is rich in potent antioxidants, such as beta-carotene and omega-3 fatty acids, compared to regular butter (7, 8).
- MCT oil or coconut oil: Coconut oil is a fat, a healthy one at that. It has anti-inflammatory properties and can increase HDL cholesterol. MCT oil improves cholesterol and promotes weight loss (9, 10, 11, 12, 13).
While the ingredients used in making butter coffee may offer many health benefits, the advantages of combining these ingredients have not been investigated by any studies.
Keto dieters may benefit from bulletproof coffee
Butter coffee offers many advantages to keto dieters. Taking a high-fat beverage such as butter coffee can help the body to reach ketosis.
Studies have shown that taking medium-chain triglyceride oil can trigger nutritional ketosis and minimize the symptoms of the keto flu (14).
The reason for this is not far-fetched. MCT oil has more ketogenic potentials than other fats. This means that it can easily be converted into ketones. The human body uses ketones for energy whenever it is in a state of ketosis (14).
Butter and coconut oil are very important and highly beneficial for keto dieters. Eating fat-rich foods is necessary to achieve and maintain ketosis.
So, when you combine the fats with coffee, you are assured of an energizing, filling, ketogenic drink.
Bulletproof coffee promotes fullness
Mixing coconut oil, MCT oil, or butter to your coffee makes it more filling due to the many calories in it and the high amount of fats. But then, a cup of butter coffee may contain no less than 450 calories per cup (15).
You are on a safe side if you’re making a cup of butter coffee as breakfast with no other side dish, but drinking this fatty beverage in combination with your normal breakfast can cause weight gain.
You’ll do just fine with a nutrient-dense diet
Aside from helping one to reach ketosis faster, butter coffee does not have many health benefits.
While each ingredient may have unique health benefits, there’s no evidence showing that combining all into one beverage offers any more than what you’d get when consumed separately. Even though bulletproof coffee enthusiasts may recommend substituting butter coffee for a meal, eating a balanced meal is a better and healthier option, irrespective of your diet plan.
Tonika Bruce, MSN, RN, MBA. is an accomplished nurse leader, published author, and personal development expert passionate about advancing healthcare management and quality patient outcomes.
She taps into the years of experience in healthcare management to produce credible and easy-to-understand health and leadership content. Her exceptional work has been featured in reputable publications, including Forbes, Recruiter, Inc, and the Color of Wellness magazine.