Butter and coconut oil — in your coffee?

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By Samantha Bove

When I first heard of bulletproof coffee–a mixture of coffee, butter, and concentrated coconut oil–I was skeptical, but intrigued. How could loading up on fat first thing in the morning be beneficial to your body? Doesn’t eating fat make you fatter? These were some of the many questions I had before I decided find out just why bodybuilders, nutritionists and celebrities were hopping on the bulletproof bandwagon.

The answer to my questions all lies in the fat-enriched cup of coffee and debunking the common health myth that the more fat you eat, the more pounds you gain.

I originally came across bulletproof because I was fed up with the lethargic feeling I had only a couple of hours after eating my typical breakfast: either a bowl of oatmeal and fruit or sunny-side up eggs and toast.

After researching what I could to avoid it, the concept of replacing carbohydrates with a fat-enriched breakfast continuously surfaced. Loading up on toast, oatmeal and pancakes in the morning has become a standard American practice because carbohydrates act as a source of energy after they converted into glucose.

The problem is that these typical breakfast items are often overeaten, made with refined sugars or are classified as simple carbohydrates as opposed to complex (legumes and whole grains), which take longer for your body to break down. Because of this, the glucose is released in surplus, causing your body’s blood sugar levels to skyrocket and result in an unavoidable slump.

Instead, low carbohydrate, high fat diets are becoming more popular. This is because certain kind of fats like MCT oil can be just as, if not more efficient, at fueling your body and brain.

A recent study revealed that the low-carb athletes had higher fat oxidation during workouts, meaning their bodies were using stored fat as energy at an increased rate.

Consuming a high fat content specifically in the morning is beneficial because it is essentially kickstarting your body into fat-burning mode for the rest of the day.

According to Fox News, researchers from the University of Alabama found that mice who were fed a fat-enriched meal after waking up exhibited normal metabolic profiles whereas the mice that consumed a carbohydrate-rich meal showed “increased weight gain, glucose intolerance and other factors related to metabolic syndrome.”

This is not to say that eating a Big Mac in the morning will have the same effect as consuming the fat from a cup of bulletproof will- even though they both stack in at about 30 grams. The difference is that the ingredients, the butter and MCT oil are both naturally- derived, healthy fats.

The MCT oil, which stands for medium chain triglycerides, is produced naturally from coconuts and is said to increase energy, focus, memory and aid in weight loss. The butter, that must be unsalted and produced from grass-fed cows is rich in omega-3s fatty acids, vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E , vitamin K and has antioxidant and anti inflammatory qualities.

“Vitamin D, K, A & E are all fat soluble vitamins, for them to be absorbed through the small intestine we require dietary fat,” says Anna Baker, a registered dietitian/nutritionist.

And if you are still worried that 30 grams being too much, Baker says it lies within recommended daily intake.  

“If you are consuming 1800 calories in a day, you should limit yourself to 90 calories or less (10 grams or less) of saturated fat and your aim should be between 360-400 calories or 40-50 grams should be from fat in total.”

After learning of these health benefits, I gave bulletproof a try for ten days. Using 1-2 cups of coffee, 1-2 tablespoons of grass-fed unsalted butter, 1-2 tablespoons of MCT oil and adding in cinnamon and vanilla extract for flavor, I mixed it into my blender and drank up. While I did not see any changes in weight, I definitely felt fuller for significantly longer and had little to no desire for sometimes up to five hours later. I was also shocked by how much my energy levels and focus remained throughout the morning and into the afternoon. While I don’t wish to part with my eggs and oatmeal forever, bulletproof is definitely something I will be substituting into my diet regularly.

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