Bulletproof Coffee: Should You Add Butter To Your Coffee?

If you’re the kind of person who enjoys the buzz from coffee  (totally guilty… once in a while) then perhaps you may have been recently tempted to try one of the newest trends to hit Vancouver – the bulletproof coffee.

People who are on the cutting edge of what’s trending in the health community say that adding butter, ghee and/or coconut oil to coffee is the hottest thing. The idea behind it is that these healthy saturated fats improve the caffeine buzz by slowing the impact on the nervous system, resulting in more sustained and heightened mental clarity and concentration, a boost in energy and also a suppression of appetite.

It’s catching on fast, and at a few cafés in the city you can ask for a butter coffee, or a bulletproof coffee. The trend was started in the states with an entrepreneur named Dave Asprey – after trying yak butter coffee in Tibet in 2004, he was determined to bring it back to the states. He started his company, Bulletproof Coffee, and sells a low-toxin coffee bean and MCT oil (coconut and palm oil).

Here’s a video showing Dave making his bulletproof coffee at home.

You basically add grass-fed butter and coconut oil (Dave recommends 2 tbsp of each) to hot coffee, and blend it until creamy.

I have to say – I was a little skeptical. Butter in coffee? Sounds gross, right?

But after trying a butter coffee at a local café, I will admit I’m impressed. To be honest, I’m not the biggest fan of caffeine. Since reducing my intake drastically after moving to the west coast, I find that now when I have coffee my anxiety is palpable. I’m jittery and uncomfortable, and have trouble falling asleep even if I drink it at 9am.  But I didn’t experience any of these things after trying my first butter coffee. I felt alert and sharp, all of the good things that caffeine can do. But I didn’t feel wired, jittery, or anxious. I was able to focus on my work without getting overwhelmed and sweaty. And I had no trouble falling to sleep that night, despite the fact that I had the coffee at 2pm.

There might be something to this butter coffee trend.

So far, there is no scientific literature on the topic of butter in coffee. It is true that saturated fats are healthy for you – grass fed butter is protective for both heart disease and osteoporosis due to the healthy short chain fatty acid butyrate which is anti-inflammatory, and healthy omega3s not found in commercial butter.

Coffee contains a great deal of antioxidant power, and has been shown to improve brain function. It has been associated with a decreased risk of type II diabetes, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

In this article, a critic claims that the high intake of saturated fat might alter blood lipid levels – but we also know that the majority of lipid research shows that dietary intake has minimal to no effect on blood cholesterol levels in the majority of people.

I’m still on the fence, and believe that if you want to have coffee the best way to do it is as follows:

-don’t drink coffee because you NEED it; if you need it, there’s something else going on with your energy systems that needs to be addressed

-further to the above, don’t drink coffee every day – have it as a treat when you’re going to enjoy it

-drink it without sweetners or added sugar

-choose fair trade organic beans that haven’t been exposed to pesticides/herbicides (a big issue in the coffee arena)

-maybe add a little grass fed butter or coconut oil? But let’s not get too crazy… For now I’m sticking with 1 tsp of grass fed butter and 1 tsp of coconut oil. Everything in moderation.

Wishing you an excellent buttery coffee adventure,

K.

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