Getting to MacDonald Campus from downtown, I often need a coffee to get myself through the 45-minute shuttle ride. While researching how to keep my coffee buzz longer throughout the day to forgo a second cup, I came across “butter coffee”, which is exactly as it sounds: butter blended into coffee. There are numerous blog posts claiming that the butter in the coffee was helpful to stay energized because it “takes longer to metabolize fats, which means butter coffee is supposed to keep you energized longer”. (Carter, 2017)
One article states that, “I don’t think I’ll ever again reach the level of euphoria that I experienced that first buttery morning, but I’ll dream of it for the rest of my days, chasing that butter coffee dragon.” (Carter, 2017) This sounds too good to be true and calls for a myth bust.
A blog post writes that since fat is metabolized slower, the coffee keeps you energized longer and replaces the need for a second cup in the afternoon. Although this may make sense, the longer energy provided by butter coffee has no conclusive evidence to prove that taking coffee with fats helps slow caffeine absorption. The fat content, however, could account for a feeling of fullness, since they take longer to digest. (Lee, 2014)
Feeling more energized after a cup of buttery coffee can also originate from the grass-fed butter used. Grass-fed butter, is found to be higher in short and medium chain triacylglycerides (SCT, MCT), which are appetite suppressors, as they are able to be converted immediately into fuel for your body. (Dr. Axe: Food is Medicine, 2017) The combination of fat being an appetite suppressor and the SCT/MCT may combine to create a façade of the butter coffee’s buzz lasting longer.
Moreover, as the butter is “grass-fed”, it contains more omega –3 unsaturated fats than regular butter. Omega –3 fatty acids are essential fatty acids and must be consumed in the diet. Omega –3 fatty acids are related to decrease blood clotting, decrease platelet aggregation, decrease blood pressure, and a decrease in cardiovascular disease risk. Out of the 11g of fat in 14g of butter, 3g are unsaturated, and the other 7g is saturated (Dr. Axe: Food is Medicine, 2017). This is still a high content of saturated fat, and although grass fed is the healthier option, it should still be eaten in moderation.
Butter coffee is a risky habit to begin, especially if not committed to the keto diet, as it is high in calories (100 calories per tablespoon of butter). (Dr. Axe: Food is Medicine, 2017) Although a cup of butter coffee can keep you full, so can a breakfast with low glycemic steel-cut oats, topped with almond butter, ground flax seed, and blueberries, which offers more fiber, whole grains, antioxidants than is found in a butter coffee, with the added benefit that you get to eat real food rather than just surviving on a cup of buttery coffee. The effect of butter coffee keeping you full may reduce snacking, resulting in a more satiated and revitalized feeling, rather than the butter coffee itself. (Lee, 2014)
The problem with these fad foods is that it promises us that we can load up on something delicious and take away benefits of a healthy lifestyle with diet and exercise. (Lee, 2014) After research, as much as I love coffee, I think I will forgo the butter coffee trend. I would only try it as long as I am compensating for the extra calories elsewhere in my diet.
Carter, I. (2017). I Did The Keto Diet Where I Ate All Fat And No Carbs & It Went Better Than You'd Expect. [online]. Available at: http://www.betches.com/fad-diet-diaries-ketogenic-diet
Dr. Axe: Food is Medicine. (2017). 7 Health Benefits of Grass-Fed Butter Nutrition - Dr. Axe. [online] Available at: https://draxe.com/grass-fed-butter-nutrition/
Lee, C. (2014). Breaking down the nutritional claims of a butter coffee. [online] The Globe and Mail. Available at: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/food-and-wine/food-trends/breaking-down-the-nutritional-claims-of-a-butter-coffee/article21351487/