Why Butter Coffee Is the Secret to Burning Fat and Fueling Your Morning
By: Courtney Sperlazza, MPH
July 20, 2018
- Curious about butter coffee benefits? We examine the science of butter in coffee in this article.
- “Butter coffee,” or Bulletproof coffee, made with high-quality coffee and healthy, undamaged fats results in a satisfying drink that kills cravings, banishes brain fog.
- It can help you lose weight, build muscle, and increase focus and performance.
- Butter coffee helps tip gut bacteria balance in your favor
- It provides an energy boost without caffeine jitters
- Buttered coffee helps you absorb nutrients
- Read on to find out why blending butter in your coffee will change your life.
Butter and coffee — what’s all the hype about? You might think blending butter with your coffee falls somewhere between completely bizarre and totally intriguing. Either way, the concept, otherwise known as Bulletproof Coffee, has crossed into your space enough that you’re willing to give it a go. If something has developed a cult following like this, there has to be some merit behind it, right?
There are a zillion reasons why people are making Bulletproof Coffee: they’re on a ketogenic diet, they want mental clarity, it’s crucial to their weight loss, or they just simply want a cozy, frothy treat in the morning.
Healthy fats from butter release caffeine slowly
When you blend your coffee with butter (and Brain Octane Oil if you’re making Bulletproof Coffee), your body uses the caffeine differently.
First, the fats turn your coffee into a creamy latte, which encourages you to sip and savor your coffee instead of knocking it back. It’s a more satisfying experience, but it’s also takes a little longer for you to finish a cup. That allows you to avoid the sudden jolt you get with black coffee.
Second, fats take time to break down, which results in a slow release of caffeine. If you drink black coffee, or coffee with milk, all of the caffeine gets released almost immediately. That’s when you get the caffeine jitters. The act of blending the coffee breaks the fats into micelles, or small droplets, which bind to caffeine molecules. From there, they’re all broken down together at the pace of the slowest part of the molecule — in this case, the fats.
There you have it — a steady, lasting effect without the tweaky, buzzy feeling.
Butter and coffee turbocharge “thin people” bacterial strains in your gut
Let’s nerd out on gut bacteria for a minute. Microbiome science has established that obese people have a high proportion of Firmicutes, a type of bacteria, whereas naturally thin people have less Firmicutes and more of the Bacteroidetes type.
So, you pick up a probiotic that contains Bacteroidetes, right? Not exactly — you can’t get them in a capsule. Instead, you tip your balance by feeding the Bacteroidetes you have and encouraging them to reproduce. You accomplish this when you eat plenty of foods that contain their favorite food source: polyphenols.
You may have read that polyphenols are good because they’re antioxidants, compounds that protect your cells. Another reason to seek them out: polyphenols function as prebiotics (a food source) for Bacteroidetes. You get them in brightly colored vegetables, but the most abundant source of polyphenols in Western diets is coffee. Fun fact: chocolate has a high polyphenol content, too.
Butter-boosted gut bacteria
When everything works properly, your body controls fat-burning and storage in a way that optimizes your energy and stores just enough, and not too much, for future energy requirements.
Your liver makes a protein called fasting-induced adipose factor (FIAF), that blocks fat storage enzymes. Your gut bacteria have their own FIAF regulation in place, which can help you stay slim or make you hang onto weight, depending on outside factors.
When you’re eating a high-fat, high-sugar diet, gut bacteria suppress FIAF (their own and yours from your liver) and cause your body to hang onto fat instead of burning it. When gut bacteria do not have carbohydrates and/or sugar, they signal for other fuel sources. Hungry bacteria make FIAF and you burn fat.
When you use healthy fats with intermittent fasting (as you would if you’re having Bulletproof Coffee as breakfast) you’re actively encouraging your own liver and your gut bacteria to make more FIAF, and you burn fat for energy. When your fat source is in coffee, you get a boost of polyphenols that feed Bacteriodetes, which reproduce and charge up your body’s fat-burning mechanisms.
A rodent study linked the coffee and fat combo with decreased body weight, less body fat, lower liver triglycerides, and reduced energy intake. The combination tipped the balance to a more favorable ratio of Firmicutes to Bacteriodetes.
In coffee, butter is far better than milk
Milk or cream in coffee is likely the most common way to take your coffee. As an aside, fake creamers aren’t even on the same planet as milk. They contain sugar, hydrogenated oils, and thickeners that make you fat and weak. If nothing else, stay far, far away from non-dairy creamers!
Back to milk and half-and-half. Replacing the milk in your coffee with butter benefits your body in several ways. One consideration is the binding property of milk proteins. When you put milk or cream into your coffee, they bind the beneficial polyphenols and your body absorbs 3.4 times less polyphenol.
Butter also contains butyric acid, which can help heal the gut and directly lowers inflammation in the brain.
Fat boost for the ketogenic diet — easier ketosis first thing in the morning
Typically, you burn carbohydrates for fuel. When you run out of carbs, your body gets the signal to start burning fat for energy. The liver produces ketones as a by-product of this fat metabolism, which are an amazing body and brain energy source. You get into ketosis when you eat a lot of healthy fats, low carbs, and moderate protein. When just starting out, people have a hard time getting enough fat into their day.
Blending butter in your coffee gives you the fat you need to get into ketosis right out of the gate. Bulletproof Coffee on an empty stomach is the cheat code to mild ketosis. You get all the mental focus and reduced food cravings, even if you went overboard with carbs at last night’s dinner.
High-quality grass-fed butter maintains healthy A, D, E, and K levels
Grass-fed butter contains the fat-soluble vitamins you need to support your immune system, bones, cardiovascular system, vision, and more. Not only that, but having adequate fats allows your body to absorb vitamins A, D, E, and K from food. When you start your day with fat-soluble vitamins and the healthy fats to absorb them, you’re good to go.
The best part: butter coffee tastes amazing
Think you look forward to your morning cup of coffee as it is? Wait until you’ve tried Bulletproof Coffee.
If you have a blender, you can make yourself the creamy frothy latte that puts any coffee shop or expensive cappuccino machine to shame. And, you can get creative with it. Add ceylon cinnamon, vanilla, cocoa, mint, serve it iced, whatever you can dream up. As long as you’re not adding sugar, you get all the benefits of a plain Bulletproof Coffee, except it will have your own custom flair.
Also worth a mention: saturated fat does not cause heart disease. There’s a ton of science that supports the notion that saturated fat is a nutrient, and other things contribute to heart disease. If you’re curious, you can read this. After that, take a few minutes to blend up a Bulletproof Coffee, and let us know what you think!