Why, oh why?
Why would anyone put butter in coffee? In addition to an adventurous streak, it could help to understand how it works. In a previous article, I explained how I discovered Bulletproof coffee and what effect it has on me. Here, I go into more detail on the benefits, and provide a key warning for all those who want to keep their love handles just the way they are.
When you add a healthy fat to coffee, the body will use the caffeine differently. First, the addition of butter and coconut oil makes for a rich beverage, and even when you are used to it, you are likely to drink is less quickly. But the real hack is that blending the fat and the coffee turns the fat into micelles, or little fat bubbles, that will bind to caffeine molecules and slow down the absorption of the latter. The sudden, not-so-pleasant post-coffee jolt disappears. Meanwhile, the butter will feed good bacteria in the gut.
Mind you, for this to work, do not add sugar or eat carbohydrates at the same time. Bulletproof coffee works on the same principle as a ketogenic diet (which has a whole lot of health benefits). When you reduce carbohydrates, you deprive the body of immediate energy signaling your liver to turn fatty acids into ketone bodies, thus allowing the body to use fat as a source of energy.
Ketone bodies will reduce the amount of a hormone called ghrelin, which is responsible for the sensation of hunger, and at the same time increase that of cholecystokinin (CCK), the hormone responsible for feeling satiated. What do you know, no more hollow, food-crazed dip in attention mid-morning.
If you eat carbohydrates at the same time, the body takes the route of least resistance and uses them as a source of energy. What does it do with the fat? It stores it. In fact, the body will store even more of it, just in case.
To simplify, if all goes well, the body organizes itself to use fat optimally as a source of energy and stores a little, but not too much, for future needs. The liver and intestinal flora create a protein (fasting-induced adipose factor) that blocks the enzymes that trigger fat storage. When you eat fat AND carbs, the critters in your gut suppress this protein and you store fat. On the other hand, when the microbiome does not have carbs or sugar, it will send a signal to feed on fat. Bulletproof coffee, with nothing else at breakfast, encourages the body to burn fat as a source of energy—a more efficient source of energy.
So either you put butter in your coffee, or you choose normal coffee and real-butter croissants.
The low-down on coconut oil
You will notice the coconut oil on the list of ingredients. Coconut oil contains up to 60% medium-chain triglycerides (MCT), which are the ones we are looking for. Your body absorbs MCT oil faster and you get a quicker energy boost. With more ketone bodies present, you feel sated faster.
There are several types of MCT oil, categorized by the number of carbon atoms—from 6 to 12.
* C6: Caproic acid, which smells bad and is hard to digest
* C8: Caprylic acid, the best in terms of optimal use by the body
* C10: Capric acid, second best in terms of optimal use by the body
* C12: Lauric acid.
Coconut oil contains a mixture and is less effective than a source of pure C8 or a C8-C10 mixture.