What is Butter Coffee?

Butter coffee, also recently called bulletproof coffee, is currently the rage in some places. Butter coffee is eight ounces of freshly brewed coffee plus a teaspoonful each of unsalted butter and coconut oil. There are variations on the theme but the claim of those who like butter coffee is that it gives you more energy, helps you lose weight and avoids the ingestion of so-called inflammatory sugars. It turns out that butter coffee is not really a new idea. In Ethiopia where coffee was first discovered putting butter in freshly brewed coffee is a custom.

Is Butter Coffee Good, Bad or Indifferent?

We have written at length about the health benefits or both regular and healthy organic coffee. But good health recommendations today include limiting the amount of saturated fats in your diet. When you think of saturated fats think of animal fat and butter! The claim that drinking butter coffee helps you lose weight is not proven. It does make sense that fats and proteins take longer to digest so that we do not feel hungry as soon after butter coffee as we might after black coffee and sugar. Limit yourself to butter coffee instead of black coffee and a greasy sweet roll and you are probably exchanging the butter in the sweet roll for the butter in the coffee and excluding the carbohydrates in the sweet roll. But you are probably also missing out on the B vitamins that are commonly included in and added to wheat flour!

What Is the Proof and Can You Trust What They Say?

We just published an article about a Bogus Green Coffee Extract Claim. A couple of years ago a study was published stating that healthy volunteers who took measured quantities of green coffee extract lost weight. It turns out that the data was fudged and the US researchers who published the study have just retracted it. In addition the company that sponsored the study is in hot water with the Federal Trade Commission!

The Federal Trade Commission has levied a fine of $3.5 million on Applied Food Sciences, the company that sponsored the study claiming that green coffee extract resulted in weight loss. Here is a quote from the FTC.

…the study’s lead investigator repeatedly altered the weights and other key measurements of the subjects, changed the length of the trial, and misstated which subjects were taking the placebo or GCA during the trial. When the lead investigator was unable to get the study published, the FTC says that AFS hired researchers Joe Vinson and Bryan Burnham at the University of Scranton to rewrite it. Despite receiving conflicting data, Vinson, Burnham, and AFS never verified the authenticity of the information used in the study, according to the complaint.

Despite the study’s flaws, AFS used it to falsely claim that GCA caused consumers to lose 17.7 pounds, 10.5 percent of body weight, and 16 percent of body fat with or without diet and exercise, in 22 weeks, the complaint alleges.

The point of bringing up the green coffee extract fiasco is this. If you like to put butter and or coconut oil in your coffee and skip the cream and sugar go for it. But do not go for the hype about there being specific health benefits to drinking butter coffee or so-called bulletproof coffee without seeing well documented proof. Organic coffee is good for your health. There are lots and lots of well documented studies showing the benefits of coffee and there is a lot of good data showing that organic coffee is free of a large number of contaminants that may be found in regular coffee. Enjoy your coffee but insist on proof before using concoctions like butter coffee as replacements for good dietary advice or medications.


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