Butter Coffee: Recipe, Benefits, and Risks

Medically Reviewed on 7/14/2022
Butter Coffee: Recipe, Benefits, and Risks
Learn about how to make butter coffee as well as the potential health benefits and risks

Butter coffee has become popular among people who follow a keto diet or practice intermittent fasting. Although some people swear by it, there is little research as to whether butter coffee lives up to the health claims.

Learn about how to make butter coffee as well as the potential health benefits and risks.

What is butter coffee?

Butter coffee is a DIY version of Bulletproof coffee, which was developed in 2011 by an entrepreneur named Dave Asprey. The original Bulletproof version uses a specific type of coffee bean, grass-fed, unsalted butter, and a liquid high in medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). MCT oil is an easily digested type of fat that is usually made from coconut or palm kernel oil. 

Butter coffee is made without the need for special beans or MCT oil. Instead, it can be made with coconut oil, unsweetened nut butter, and other alternative ingredients.

Follow these simple steps to make butter coffee:

  • Brew 1 cup (8-12 ounces or 237 to 355 mL) of coffee.
  • Add 1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil.
  • Add 1-2 tablespoons of unsalted butter or ghee (clarified butter lower in lactose)
  • Blend for 20-30 seconds until it looks like a latte.

What is the nutritional profile of butter coffee?

Table 1: Nutrients in 1 cup of Bulletproof coffee
Ingredient Nutrient Amount Rich sources of
Coffee (1 cup)
  • Antioxidants
  • Caffeine
Calories 2
Protein 0 grams
Fat 0 grams
Carbohydrates 0 grams
MCT oil (1 tablespoon)
  • Vitamin E
Calories 130
Protein 0 grams
Fat 14 grams
Saturated fat 14 grams
Carbohydrates 0 grams
Butter (1 tablespoon)
  • Beta carotene
  • Vitamin A
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
Protein 0 grams
Fat 12 grams
Saturated fat 7 grams
Cholesterol 31 milligrams
Carbohydrates 0 grams

Table 2: Nutrients in 1 cup of butter coffee
Nutrient Amount
Calories 445
Carbohydrates 0 grams
Total fat 50 grams
Protein 0 grams
Fiber 0 grams
Sodium 9% of the reference daily intake (RDI)
Vitamin A 20% of the RDI

5 potential health benefits of butter coffee

No studies have directly investigated the effects of butter coffee on health, but proponents claim that it has the following benefits:

1. Reduces hunger

Researchers believe the high-fat content of butter coffee results in feelings of fullness by slowing down digestion and suppressing appetite, thus helping you lose weight.

2. Provides lasting energy

Butter coffee provides steady, long-lasting energy without a blood sugar crash. Because of their shorter chain length and faster metabolic rate, MCTs are rapidly broken down and absorbed by the body, resulting in energy-boosting effects.

3. Improves mental clarity

Most of the fats in MCT oil travel directly to the liver and are processed into powerful energy particles called ketone bodies. Ketone bodies are an excellent, alternative source of the primary fuel—glucose. Studies have suggested that MCT oil may improve cognitive function and enhance mental clarity.

4. Good for digestive health

According to some research studies, butter contains glycosphingolipids, which are fatty acids that help prevent gastrointestinal tract infections, especially in young children and older adults.

5. Source of nutrients

Aside from its high-fat content, butter coffee contains other important nutrients, such as vitamin A (a fat-soluble vitamin), which is good for immune function, eye health, and skin health.

What are the potential risks of butter coffee?

Butter coffee is very high in fat, which makes it a poor choice for people who are concerned with the following:

  • Weight gain: The high amount of saturated fat can lead to weight gain and health problems associated with obesity.
  • High cholesterol: Although dietary cholesterol does not affect most people’s cholesterol levels to a great extent, it can significantly raise blood cholesterol levels in some people.
  • Heart disease: Butter coffee is very high in saturated fats (nearly 85% of the fat in butter coffee is saturated fats), and dietary guidelines advise people to limit their intake because it can lead to heart diseases and other related conditions.
  • Gastrointestinal problems: For some people who are not used to consuming a high amount of fat, butter coffee can cause stomach discomfort and other gastrointestinal issues such as bloating and diarrhea.
Medically Reviewed on 7/14/2022
Image Source: iStock image

Dan Brennan. Butter Coffee: Is It Good for You?. WebMD: https://www.webmd.com/diet/butter-coffee-good-for-you

Is Buttered ‘Keto Coffee’ Good for You? Cleveland Clinic: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/can-buttered-coffee-give-you-a-better-body/