Bulletproof Coffee – what does the butter in the coffee do?

Written by Marina Lommel
11 minutes reading time
17. July 2023 zuletzt aktualisiert am 1. August 2023 von
Butter im Kaffee

Another trend that comes from the USA, you might have thought. Why on earth does the net community like butter in their coffee?

Table of contents

    1. what is Bulletproof Coffee?

    The name Bulletproof Coffee was invented by American blog writer Dave Asprey and registered as a trademark. Therefore, in the following we will speak of a butter coffee. Because that’s what Bulletproof Coffee is: coffee frothed up with butter made from pasture-raised milk and MCT oil to create a deliciously frothy drink. This is reminiscent of fine latte and has nothing to do with greasy eyes in coffee.

    2. how to make Bulletproof Coffee?

    The recipe for the butter coffee is very simple. The focus is on really good black coffee. Because a fine beverage stands or falls with high-quality coffee beans. The best way to prepare coffee from freshly ground beans is to use a press pot.

    You need:

    • 200-400 ml freshly brewed black coffee
    • 1-2 tablespoons pasture butter (i.e. butter made from pasture milk)
    • 1 tablespoon MCT oil(a special oil that stimulates the metabolism)

    Simply mix the hot black coffee with the pasture butter and MCT oil and whip for 2 minutes until creamy.

    Besides the ingredients, the most important accessory is a really good blender. Because only when the butter coffee is really nice and frothy, it reaches the best creaminess and a great mouthfeel.

    We have already used these blenders and had very good experiences:

    A smoothie maker where you place the jar upside down on the stand (such as the NutriBullet*) will not work. Because the hot drink should not be mixed in an airtight container. Otherwise, the hot air will try to make room for itself with pressure and when you open it, the coffee will easily splash into your face and the whole kitchen.

    Du möchtest dich auch gesünder ernähren?

    3. how does the butter coffee?

    The coffee with pasture butter and MCT oil provides intense energy in the morning. It lets you start the day without hunger and gives you energy until lunch. Coffee works best if you change your diet overall to a more low-carb diet. Then your fat burning will be trained throughout the day.

    If you’re not on a low-carb diet, however, you should definitely make sure not to eat anything high in carbohydrates along with your coffee. Because only then can the body completely utilize the energy from pasture butter and MCT oil and you have all the benefits of the energy-rich drink.

    The coffee favors the formation of ketone bodies – you get more easily into the so-called ketosis – a metabolic state in which fat burning is at full speed, hunger is less and you can concentrate razor-sharp.

    Especially among managers and other high-performers, this coffee is very popular. The combination of caffeine and high-quality fatty acids provides energy for the brain, makes you awake, peps you up and gives you the ability to concentrate.

    Those who regularly use butter coffee as a breakfast substitute benefit from the positive effects of “intermittent fasting”. Anti-aging, fat burning and natural cellular cleansing – but more on that in a moment.

    4. why do you put butter in coffee?

    The butter in the coffee provides special creaminess. But that is not the only reason. Caffeine, butter and MCT oil together achieve a special biochemical effect.

    Butter provides long-chain fatty acids that are absorbed slowly. It leads to long-lasting saturation and even energy supply.

    In addition to long-chain fatty acids, butter contains the short-chain fatty acid butyrate. This has an anti-inflammatory effect and protects against oxidative stress. Above all, it supports intestinal health, because our intestinal cells can feed wonderfully on butyrate.

    Be sure to pay attention to the quality of the butter. Always reach for butter from cows that were allowed to eat grass in the pasture. This is because their milk contains a much more beneficial fatty acid composition than the milk from grain-fed cows. Pasture-raised milk contains more valuable omega-3 fatty acids and scores high in carotenoids and fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K.

    5. why add MCT oil to coffee?

    MCT is the abbreviation for medium chain triglycerides. The oil contains special medium-chain fatty acids. These are recorded via a special path.

    While the long-chain fatty acids from butter first enter the intestine and are slowly absorbed there, the medium-chain fatty acids from MCT oil can already be absorbed in the stomach. They therefore enter the body more quickly and provide energy directly.

    What is also special about these fatty acids is that the body cannot store them in fatty tissue. So he wants to burn them directly. This increases the metabolism and, what is quite pleasant in winter, also the body temperature. The fatty acids from MCT oil are very easily converted into ketone bodies, providing energy for the brain. Those who follow a low carb or ketogenic diet and want to get into ketosis will be happy about the additional keto boost from MCT oil.

    6. can I also use coconut oil?

    Coconut oil is also often used to whip coffee until creamy. There are versions here butter + coconut oil or coconut oil alone in coffee. With butter, the coffee becomes more and more creamy.

    Coconut oil, like MCT oil, contains medium-chain fatty acids. However, they are not as concentrated in coconut oil. That is why coconut oil has a much weaker effect on satiety, metabolism and ketosis. For a pleasant taste, however, it is quite nice.

    7. what is intermittent fasting?

    Butter coffee is often mentioned in connection with intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting is fasting for a limited period of time. Fasting is not done over a longer period of time (several days or weeks) but over and over again over medium-long time windows. There are different forms of intermittent fasting, for example these:

    • Fast for 24 hours, then eat normally for 24 hours
    • Fast for 16 hours, then eat normally for 8 hours
    • Fast for 14 hours, then eat normally for 10 hours.

    The different variants of intermittent fasting differ in different lengths of fasting and eating windows. Bulletproof Coffee is most often used in a 16/8 or 14/10 fast.

    Because: The butter coffee does not interrupt the fasting phase!

    Butter coffee for intermittent fasting

    Since no proteins and no carbohydrates are supplied to the body, the fasting metabolism is maintained. As a rule, a 16/8 fast looks like this.

    8 pm: Dinner

    6-12 o’clock: 1-2 butter coffees

    12 pm: Lunch

    Thus, between the previous day’s dinner and lunch, 16 hours pass in which no protein and no carbohydrates are consumed. This puts the body into fasting metabolism.

    This fasting phase enables the body’s own cell cleaning process – autophagy. In addition, biochemical and hormonal processes increase fat burning and facilitate muscle building.

    Advantages of intermittent fasting

    • Inner cell plaster (autophagy)
    • Training for fat burning
    • Full concentration
    • Wakefulness
    • Regulates blood sugar levels
    • Lowers high blood pressure
    • Regulates cholesterol levels
    • Improves the health of the nervous system

    Autophagy - spring cleaning for the cells

    The Greek word “phagein” means “to eat” or “to devour”. The Greek prefix “auto-” means “self-“. Exactly what can be assumed behind these terms, “autophagy” means “to eat oneself”. The cell eats itself.

    This sounds scary at first, but it’s no reason to panic; it’s a completely natural process.

    Autophagy is triggered, for example, by intermittent fasting. The cell begins to digest itself – and that is a good thing. Autophagy involves the breakdown of old and broken cellular components. These can then be rebuilt again and fresh. The old stuff is thrown out and replaced with new, functional elements. A real spring cleaning for the cell.

    If we are constantly snacking and always replenishing food, this autophagy almost never takes place. Our cells then become a small Messi apartment. Unused, no longer fully functional stuff is everywhere. You can hardly get through and the cell processes are not running 100% effectively. Plus, trash accumulates – and if no one ever takes it out, it starts to stink.

    That’s why you should give your body a 5-hour break between meals every day, and regularly take a full 16-hour break from eating, so that the cell cleaning column can do its work.

    By the way: The garbage disposal of our cell is called “autophagosome”. These are small “bubbles” that collect all the scrap. They take everything unnecessary to the landfill – the “lysosomes”. Here everything is crushed, mined and recycled.

    mTor - the boss in metabolism

    Anyone interested in the biochemistry behind autophagy: The enzyme mTOR has an important influence on autophagy.

    mTOR is the abbreviation of “mechanistic target of rapamycin”. The name has nothing to do with the function, so you can forget it right away. mTOR is so much more manageable.

    mTOR is a central element of many cell signaling pathways. These signaling pathways control, for example, cell growth, cell division, protein biosynthesis (thus also muscle formation) and energy balance.

    When mTOR is activated, protein biosynthesis runs at full speed – that is, protein is assembled and muscle building is promoted.

    But: intermittent fasting suppresses mTOR.

    Now this sounds strange, because above we had mentioned that intermittent fasting with butter coffee promotes muscle building. This works in a roundabout way: during intermittent fasting, mTOR is suppressed. If mTOR is suppressed, autophagy is activated. Muscle growth is slowed down. As soon as a meal is eaten again after intermittent fasting, muscle building becomes all the more active. Imagine a bow being strung and then shooting an arrow forward at full power. During intermittent fasting, the arc is tightened. The first meal after fasting leads to a real “jump in the other direction”. The nutrients of the meal are particularly well utilized for muscle building.

    During the fasting phase a spring-cleaning takes place, during the eating phase all building processes of the cells are fully activated again and important cell components are rebuilt.

    That’s exactly why it’s especially important that your first meal after fasting (and preferably all meals) contain a high-quality protein source and important nutrients in the form of vegetables and valuable fats.

    You need support? We help!

    Behind Foodpunk is a team of nutritionist, biochemist and fitness economist. Since 2015, we’ve been dedicated to explaining the science behind healthy eating in an easy-to-understand way and helping you on your way to healthier eating. We inform and advise. If you have a topic you’d like us to cover on the blog, just drop us a line at info@foodpunk.de.

    If you need more intensive support with your dietary change, you can check out our range of “Foodpunk Challenges”. With an individually calculated nutrition plan and expert supervision, we support you in a Foodpunk Challenge for an effective and long-term dietary change.

    Always stay up to date with our Newsletter.

    Explanation of terms

    Autophagy – is also called autophagocytosis . Autophagy is a process in which cells utilize their own components. Among other things, defective cell components are recycled.

    Autophagosomes – are small cell organelles formed during autophagy. These small vesicles pick up the cell components that are being utilized and bring them to the lysosomes.

    Butyrate – a short-chain fatty acid found in butter that can be used by intestinal cells as an energy source.

    Ketogenic – is a diet that is very low in carbohydrates, which allows for ketosis.

    Ketosis – is a metabolic state similar to fasting. In ketosis, fat burning runs at full speed and hunger decreases. You can find out more on our blog in the article “How to define ketosis?”.

    MCT oil – a special oil that is made from coconut oil by good manufacturers. You should avoid MCT oil from palm oil. Learn more about MCT fats on our blog.

    mTOR – “mechanistic target of rapamycin” (formerly: “mammalian target of rapamycin”) is an enzyme that controls signaling pathways of energy metabolism.

    Lysosomes – are cell organelles that contain enzymes for the degradation of proteins. They fuse with the autophagosomes. The enzymes can then break down and degrade the cell components.

    Protein biosynthesis – is the rebuilding of proteins from amino acids. This is necessary to build up the body’s own structures (including muscles).

    Further reading

    Chang Hwa Jung, Seung-Hyun Ro, Jing Cao, Neil Michael Otto, Do-Hyung Kim (2010): mTOR regulation of autophagy. FEBS Letters, 584(7), 1287-1295.

    Kelly Cushing, David M Alvarado, and Mathew A Ciorba (2015) Butyrate and mucosal inflammation: new scientific evidence supports clinical observation. Clin Transl Gastroenteral, 6(8): e108.

    Nutrition-World-Group, SMMA Switzerland, Cellpro GmbH Switzerland and Cellpro Patzen KG Austria (2017): Autophagy – Fountain of youth for the cells – What is autophagy – Intermittent fasting – how it works – Intermittent fasting – how it works. (Customer information from Jan./ Feb. 2017).

    Reuben J. Shaw (2009): LKB1 and AMPK control of mTOR signalling and growth. Acta Physiologica, 196(1), 65-80.

    University of Southern California (2017): Fasting-mimicking diet may reverse diabetes: Periodic cycles of fasting reprogram pancreatic cells and restore insulin production. ScienceDaily

    University of Southern California (2017): Scientifically-designed fasting diet lowers risks for major diseases: A phase III trial of a fasting-like diet shows the greatest benefit for ‘at-risk’ patients. ScienceDaily

    Xu J, Ji J, Yan XH (2012): Cross-talk between AMPK and mTOR in regulating energy balance. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr, 52(5), 373-81.

    This article was written by

    Marina Lommel

    Marina gründete Foodpunk nach ihrem Abschluss in Ernährungswissenschaften und ist aktuell CEO des Unternehmens. Während ihres Studiums arbeitete sie in verschiedenen Bereichen, darunter in der Wissenschaftsredaktion beim Radio, Redaktion beim TV und Uni-Wissensmagazin sowie im Labor am DZNE in der Parkinsonforschung. Marina ist außerdem Autorin von 5 ernährungswissenschaftlichen Sachbüchern.

    Similar posts by Foodpunk

    Back to overview