A few years ago, I listened to a guy named Dave Asprey (the mind behind the "bulletproof" brand) talk about putting grass-fed butter into his coffee every morning on the Joe Rogan Podcast. I was aghast at what I thought this guy doing to his body? Keep in mind, I am a trained clinician and was all in, hook-line-and-sinker, with the low fat/low cholesterol approach for health and fitness. I also took (and continue to take) pride in the fact that I practiced what I preach and boasted of a strict diet consisting primarily whole grains, fruits, vegetables and the occasional lean meats. It was bland, it was boring, and it was going to help me live forever!
But was I wrong all along about fats? The short answer: maybe. The science seems to indicate so. You may or may not have heard that dietary guidelines have shifted over the past few years and have done so rather unheralded. The recommendation of the low-fat/low-cholesterol diet has shifted to a more rational - "maybe just stop eating processed junk filled with hydrogenated vegetable fats and sugar" (paraphrased of course). So, it seems it was the processed fats and sugars that were the problem all along. Certain fats are just another dietary macro-nutrient that shouldn't be demonized and they may actually be a healthy alternative to the prototypical high carbohydrate diet we've grown accustomed to over the past 50 years. How convinced am I about all this? I've shifted my personal diet to between 50-70% of my daily calories derived from healthy fats, 20-30% proteins and 10-20% carbs. And yes, I drink butter in my coffee nearly every day.
The Benefits of Starting Your Day With Fat
Consuming healthy fats create the feeling of "satiety". You may be familiar with this feeling following a big (and healthy) meal. It's not bloated, it's not "busting at the seems", it's simply satisfied. When we are satiated, we are content and focused. This is the perfect zone to be in when starting your day. Another effect of consuming healthy fats is a stabilization blood sugar and blood insulin levels. We could get real "sciency" here but I'll simplify with an quick example:
When you consume a 250 calorie high-carb bagel for breakfast, you get a flood of glucose into your bloodstream and the body responds with a flood of insulin to move that glucose to your cells. When this happens for 3 - 6 meals a day, 365 days a year, our insulin levels become chronically elevated and our bodies may stop responding to it. This results in elevated blood sugars and we start treading the water of insulin resistance and diabetes. Conversely when we consume healthy fats there is no subsequent glucose load our blood sugar remains level and our insulin levels remain low. In fact, people who eat a lot of high-fat dairy products actually have the lowest incidence of diabetes, according to a 2015 study of 26,930 people in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Those who ate a lot of low-fat dairy products, on the other hand, had the highest incidence.
Adding fat to your coffee may take some getting used to but it is far from unusual. In fact, most coffee drinkers do it every day without hesitation. Before you scoff at the notion of drinking butter, remember cream is basically fat suspended in water. (check out the science of cream over at Serious Eats) Butter is simply cream agitated to the point where the fats stick together and clump.
Why I Choose Coffee Booster Brand
Since about 2014, I've tried various mixtures of organic grass-fed butter, ghee and coconut oil mixed in a blender with hot coffee. All these ingredients add a creamy and delicious smoothness to your morning Joe. I've tried them either alone or in a 50/50 mixture. One unavoidable downfall is that It adds a few steps to your morning routine and if I am running late this may be problematic. Earlier this year, I discovered Coffee Booster, a product which adds a level of simplicity to the process. Coffee Booster is a premixed coffee "creamer" and its ingredients are very simple: grass-fed ghee, virgin coconut oil and cacao powder. I buy it in bulk and leave a jar at work. In case I get hungry around mid-day, I mix up a cup and it gets me till dinner. On some fasting days, it will be my only source of calories - technically not a fast, I know. The sustained energy I feel from drinking coffee this way carries me throughout the morning and into the afternoon. As a fan of intermittent fasting (16:8), I often find myself satiated well into the afternoon and have to remind myself that maybe it is time to eat.
All in all, no matter what brand you buy or if you get it from the farmer down the road butter coffee is a great way to start your day. Keep in mind, it may not be for everyone. I always remind my patients that we can't run and hide from our genes and that the only perfect diet is the one that makes YOU healthy and happy. It's imperative that you research healthy fats to understand what you are putting into your body. Talk with your doctor and get some blood-work too. If you decide to try this fantastic way to start your day, you won't regret it!
Want to learn more about the truth about dietary fats?
Check out these titles:
Here are some of my favorite Butters/Ghees for coffee:
Oh, and don't forget about one of these!