What’s the deal with butter coffee?

Every single time I post a photo on Facebook or Instagram of my morning beverage, I receive a swarm of questions about why I’m putting butter in my coffee, what it does, and if they should do it too.  

Well, I’m going to break it all down for you in this post because I love you and you deserve the insider’s scoop on the truth about butter coffee.

But for those of you that want answers now, here you go:

Why are you putting butter in your coffee?

1) I’m feeding my brain and setting my body up for sustained energy throughout the day — energy that is grounded and level, not manic and intense like energy from sugar

2) It helps me focus, reduces cravings, and tastes delicious

What does it do? Ok, I don’t have a short answer for this one, read on

Should I do it too? Yes, definitely

You may best recognize the mixture of organic black coffee mixed with grass-fed butter and MCT oil as “bulletproof” coffee.  This was a term coined by Dave Asprey, the founder and creator of Bulletproof Coffee and the bulletproof brand.  While I do love Mr. Asprey’s products, butter coffee traces back before his time.

In Tibet there is a regional drink call po cha that is a traditional Tibetan butter tea with Ayurvedic origins. In Vietnam and Singapore, coffee beans are sautéed with butter, and people of Ethiopia often have coffee with butter as well.  It’s helpful to know that while butter coffee is a trend right now, it has roots that trace far back.  This is always critically important to me when making food choices.  I often look to the wisdom of our ancestors, to those who were more connected to the Earth than we are now in modern society, to help guide me on what will best fuel and nourish my body.

All of these cultures, including the current trend of butter coffee here in America, found that adding butter to the coffee, yes, increased it’s flavor profile, but also resulted in long-term energy, mental alertness, and sustained fuel for a day of work.

But butter is full of saturated fat, how can it possibly be good for me?

You and I may have different viewpoints on saturated fat, but since this is my blog, I’m going to give you my opinion based off all the personal experimentation and research I have done. Not only is saturated fat not the enemy but it plays many important, neccesary roles in the body.  It provides integrity to the cell wall, promotes the body’s use of essential fatty acids, enhances the immune system, protects the liver and contributes to strong bones.  

Your lungs and kidneys cannot work without saturated fat.  Saturated fats do not cause heart disease, in fact, they are the preferred food for the heart. Let me provide some background on why fat has been made out to be the villain.

On September 23, 1955 Dwight Eisenhower had a heart attack and the issue of heart disease was brought into the public eye.

Two theories emerged:

1) Led by an American Scientist named Ancel Keys declared that fat was the problem

2) A British Doctor named John Yudkin believed that sugar was to blame 

Over the next 2 decades the discussion brought fierce arguments from both sides. By the 1970’s, Ancel Keys had won out and fat became the villian, sugar was exonerated, and the low fat movement was in full swing.

So industry perceived that they would remove fat from foods and to do this they had to replace the calories, and still make it taste good, and the best way for them to do that was with sugar. 

Since that time, metabolic disease (Type 2 diabetes, obesity, and heart disease) has dramatically increased.  Fat found in butter, plants, animals, and food from Mother Nature has always been around.  You know what hasn’t been around? Processed foods and a diet consisting of so much sugar.

Cereal and yogurt in the morning, sandwiches & fruit juice for lunch, and pasta and dessert in the evening has created a culture and society addicted to and reliant on sugar.  

If you removed all the items containing sugar from the supermarket shelves, just 20% of items would remain.

Sugar is the problem, not fat.

Ok, so back to butter coffee.

So now that we know fat isn’t harming us, let’s look at how it is actually helping us.

Good fats, like those found in grass-fed butter, are both mentally and physically satisfying, and digest more slowly helping decrease eating throughout the day. Less time digesting food allows the body to use that excess energy to fuel you steadily from morning to night. 

When you eat low-fat, fake food substitutes, your body is never actually getting the nutrients it needs to feel full and satiated so you continue to have cravings and continue eating.  Did you know that the healthiest traditional diets contained 30% – 80% of calories as healthy fats?

The idea that butter causes individuals to gain weight in an unfortunate misconception.  The short and medium chain fatty acids are used for quick energy and all the rich nutritients in butter gives you a feeling of satisfaction when consumed.

Here are the top 3 benefits of drinking butter coffee:

1) Brain fuel: What you drink and eat in the morning sets the tone of the rest of your day.  Butter coffee fuels and nourishes your brain that is often starving and not properly functioning if fed a highly processed and sugar-focused diet.  You will experience a boost in mental clairty, focus, and concentration.

2) You will feel full & satiated: If you aren’t used to including lots of greens, healthy fats, and protein in your diet, you may often feel hungry consistently throughout the day.  This is because your body is on the rollercoaster of highs and lows from sugar consumption and is seeking real nutrients.  You may eat a bagel with cream cheese and find that you are hungry an hour later because you didn’t actually give your body nutrients to use.  When you have butter coffee in the morning and the healthy fat enters your body, your system says, “ok, we are being nourished and fed. Everything is OK and we can relax.” You will have energy, your body will operate as it knows how to and is meant to, you will feel full, and mentally and physically you will be satiated.  Note: A good idea is to add whey protein or collagen to your coffee for a boost of protein.

3) Health benefits: Unlike conventional butter, grass-fed butter has omega 3’s, butyric acid (which helps maintain colon health), conjugated linoleic acid (a type of fat that may actually help protect against weight gain & cancer), vitamin A to help maintain thyroid, adrenal and cardiovascular health, and vitamin A, D and E, which are all antioxidants that support overall good health.

So now you can begin to see that perhaps butter coffee is something that you’re open to experimenting with. When someone asks you why you are drinking it, you can send them this article and say “because I want my brain to function optimally, I choose to live a real food lifestyle driven by the foods Mother Nature provides, it helps with my energy levels, it stops sugar cravings, and because it helps reduce belly fat.” Or any other version that feels more appropriate to you.

I know it may feel weird, new, and different but now you have facts to put behind it. If what you’re doing is working for you, then by all means, continue on!

But if you feel stuck, feel like you’re sick of dieting and not getting results, and ready to make a change, perhaps you can open your mind to some of the truth and science behind a real food diet & lifestyle including butter coffee.

Questions? Post them in the comments below!

**If dairy isn’t your thing, this works just as well using coconut oil instead of butter. 

Here is my go-to butter coffee recipe.

[yumprint-recipe id=’61’] 

 

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