Buttered coffee is the latest trend in beverages that claim to offer health benefits to drinkers. Recently, health-conscious individuals have been singing the praises of adding two tablespoons of butter from grass-fed cows and one or two tablespoons of oil containing medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) to a cup of java. When added to a specific type of coffee that does not give the “crash and burn” feel afterward, some people claim that this buttered coffee combo gives them a greater feeling of mental clarity, extended energy, and the ability to burn fat throughout the day while feeling full from this turbo-loaded beverage.
Leslie Bonci, R.D., UPMC Sports Medicine’s director of sports nutrition, believes that buttered coffee may not actually promote a truly healthy lifestyle.
Here are five reasons why buttered coffee may just be a bust.
1. Added Calories
One of the reasons behind the popularity of the buttered coffee trend is the claim that it promotes fat-burning and weight loss. Yet, the recommended amount of butter and oil added to your coffee can add roughly 200-300 extra calories to your diet. While an occasional calorie splurge is fine, adding this amount of calories to your daily intake on a regular basis can also add pounds to your frame. You could potentially gain 20 to 30 pounds in a year by regularly heaping butter into your coffee.
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2. Increased Risk of Heart Attack and Stroke
In addition to helping you pack on the pounds, regularly adding the recommended amounts of butter and oil to your coffee can actually increase your risk of having a heart attack. While oil rich in MCTs can help you to regulate cholesterol levels due to their use for treating problems with absorbing nutrients from food, the saturated fat content in grass-fed butter cancels out the positives.
The beverage clocks in with a whopping 441 calories and 41 grams of fat. The recommended ratio of butter and oil to coffee actually amounts to over 100 percent of the daily recommended allowance of saturated fat. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), eating foods that are high in saturated fats increase the levels of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke.
3. Unproven on Energy
Although including some fat in your diet is beneficial to your overall health and nutrition, there is no scientific evidence that plopping a pat of butter in your coffee will give you a burst of energy. Based on the previously mentioned effect of weight gain, you may actually feel more sluggish by lugging around extra pounds gained from drinking buttered coffee.
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4. Higher Cholesterol
Another downside to consuming buttered coffee on a daily basis is its impact on your cholesterol levels. Some of the long-chain saturated fatty acids in butter may raise both your HDL cholesterol levels (the “good” kind of cholesterol) along with your LDL levels, which are associated with heart disease and stroke.
While everything in moderation can provide a welcome change to the body, a steady diet of butter – grass-fed or not – can do more harm than good, even on a short-term basis, such as over the course of a few months.
5. Empty Calories
Although coffee itself is low in calories, adding butter and oil can skyrocket the calorie content of this beverage. Typically, it’s recommended that buttered coffee drinkers swap out a meal in favor of this beverage – usually breakfast. Yet, skipping a meal in favor of a beverage loaded with extra calories and lacking in essential nutrients may have a negative impact on a person’s daily nutritional intake. While grass-fed butter contains vitamins A and K2, buttered coffee is actually low in protein and fiber – two key components of a healthy diet.
While it may seem like a hip new health trend, drinking buttered coffee on a daily basis may actually do more damage to your health over time.
So what do you think? Would you try it?
Based in Pittsburgh, UPMC is a world-renowned health care provider and insurer. We operate 40 hospitals and more than 700 doctor’s offices and outpatient centers. Our expert physicians are among the leaders in their fields, and we are leaders in groundbreaking research and treatment breakthroughs. UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside ranks as “One of America’s Best Hospitals” and No. 1 in Pennsylvania in U.S. News & World Report’s listings.