Whether it’s with a splash of cream, some almond milk, a sprinkle of cinnamon, or even a scoop of collagen powder, we’re always looking for ways to upgrade our morning cup of Joe. Healthy coffee connoisseurs are infusing all sorts of ingredients into their mugs these days, including one that many people still can’t wrap their brains around: butter.
Self-described biohacker Dave Asprey started the butter-in-coffee trend back in 2014, coining the concoction “Bulletproof Coffee” and praising it as “a high-performance drink that has a massive impact on energy and cognitive function.”
Today, with diets like keto singing the praises of healthy fats, it’s no wonder this trend is alive and well.
Bulletproof Coffee Basics
Asprey’s Bulletproof Coffee is simply coffee blended with grass-fed butter or ghee, along with an optional serving of MCT oil, explains Amy Shapiro, M.S., R.D., C.D.N., founder of Real Nutrition in New York City. Just whip the ingredients together in your blender and enjoy the frothy, rich result.
Bulletproof Coffee Benefits
So, why exactly would you load your mug with fat? According to Shapiro, adding butter to your coffee can actually help keep your energy stable throughout the day. The fat in the butter slows down your body’s metabolism of the caffeine in your brew, so instead of feeling an adrenaline rush first thing in the morning and crashing by lunchtime, you sail through the day with steady energy.
Plus, if you usually skip breakfast or turn to something sugary, those fat calories make a satiating way to start your day. “Because buttery coffee contains fats, but no sugar, your body uses those fats for fuel, which keeps you from getting hungry,” she says. With ample calories—but no blood sugar spike and crash—you’ll feel satisfied all morning long.
“Not to mention, many people who enjoy their coffee this way describe having a very clear head and clear thinking,” Gorin adds. (This is totally anecdotal for now, since large-scale studies have yet to confirm a boost in cognitive function after fueling with fatty coffee in the morning.)
Rules For The Road
If you’re going to put butter in your coffee, it’s essential that you stick with grass-fed, says Shapiro. Grass-fed butter contains more heart- and brain-friendly omega-3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a fatty acid that supports our ability to use fat for fuel, than the conventional stuff.
If you’re sensitive to dairy, try ghee (a.k.a. clarified butter), which is boiled down to just the pure fat, suggests Shapiro.
Asprey’s recipe calls for one to two tablespoons of grass-fed butter or one to two teaspoons of grass-fed ghee blended into your coffee.
You could stick with the butter and call it a day, or you could take your fat-filled brew a step further by adding MCT oil. Made by filtering coconut oil and/or palm oil, MCT oil contains fatty acids called medium-chain triglycerides, which are often used for energy instead of stored as body fat. Some research suggests MCTs can have a positive impact on your satiety hormones, though more research is needed to back up Asprey’s claims that they help you ‘think faster.’
Related: Why Is Everyone Talking About MCTs?
Start with a teaspoon of MCT oil and slowly work your way up to a tablespoon or two. (This stuff can do a number on your stomach if you down too much too soon.)
Is Bulletproof Coffee Right For You?
If you’re following a keto diet and your body relies on fat for energy, loading up on that much fat in one sitting makes sense. Bulletproof Coffee is best for those on a low-carb, higher-fat diet who don’t typically have breakfast or need to up their calories to meet their exercise needs.