Adding grass-fed butter and coconut oil to your coffee is a primal-inspired nutrition trend that’s having a moment right now. The trend was started by Dave Asprey, the guy behind Bulletproof Coffee, a coffee blend that claims to have superior health benefits.
Dave developed the coffee, then long story short, discovered that Tibetans living at high altitudes in the mountains were putting homemade butter into their tea as a way to survive the challenging climate and lifestyle. So he combined the two into a Bulletproof Coffee recipe. A blended mix of black coffee, 2 tbsp of unsalted grass-fed butter, and for an extra boost a spoonful coconut oil. The theory: that it will keep you full, enhance your mental clarity and have you powering through your morning without the need for breakfast. But does it live up to the hype?
Does it work?
There are no scientific studies to back its claims specifically but looking individually at the ingredients, they possess some well-documented health benefits. Caffeine is a performance enhancer and can boost metabolism and alertness. Grass-fed butter contains antioxidants, vitamin A and E, and traces of iodine and vitamin D. Grass-fed is also higher in omega-3s compared to regular butter. Coconut oil contains saturated fats and medium chain triglycerides that studies show don’t negatively impact your cholesterol levels and it also contains small amounts of micronutrients.
I have nothing against good quality butter or some coconut oil. But if you’re skipping breakfast for this drink, you’re skipping out on proteins, carbohydrates, and essential vitamins and minerals that build, repair, and replenish your body for optimal performance, as well as fibre to help eliminate toxins and waste products you don’t need.
On the other hand, if you’re having this with your breakfast, that’s a whole lot of excess energy you’re consuming. Approximately 300 calories or 35 minutes straight of burpees! You need to be very active and already following a higher-fat, low carb diet in order to see any benefits.
Consuming a high fat low carb diet means your body is already primed to burn fat as a main energy source. If you’re enjoying a wholefood diet that has plenty of protein, fat and low GI carbs from starchy vegetables, fruit, wholegrains and legumes then your body is likely burning carbs as its main energy source. Adding the butter to your coffee will only end up stored as excess fat if you don’t burn it off over the day.
Bottom line: it’s not something I would recommend for the typical desk-job worker. For the majority of us, skip the butter and enjoy coffee how we usually do at this altitude, black or with a dash of your favourite milk.