All right coffee lovers, here it is… with just a small tweak to your morning cup of joe, you’ll have yourself a high performance cup of frothy goodness. All you have to do is add fat and you end up with something I call optimized coffee.
Adding good fats to caffeine isn’t a new concept. In Tibet, the winters are cold and harsh, the people work long hard days, and they need fuel to power through. They’ve been creaming their tea with yak butter for ages to give long lasting sustained energy.
Coffee. Butter. Oil?…
Optimized coffee is a mixture of coffee, butter and MCT oil. (You can use coconut oil too) Sounds gross, right? And separately those ingredients don’t exactly tick all the boxes for a balanced breakfast. But don’t let the sound of it fool you. Once blended, you end up with a frothy, energy enhancing super drink that tastes great!
The fats from the butter/oil slow the absorption of caffeine in the system. The body can only effectively metabolize the caffeine as fast as it can metabolize fat. To break down fats the stomach has to wait for a secretion of bile from the gallbladder. The body has a limiting factor on this mechanism of action, which forces a slower drip of caffeine into the system.Your hormone levels will rise slowly, and also fall slowly, resulting in no crash and no jitters. We’ll dive deeper into the science of the body in just a minute.
1 Cup (8-12oz) Coffee
-Use a french press to preserve the beneficial coffee oils that paper filters out
1-2 Tablespoons grass fed butter (Unsalted – because no one likes salty coffee)
1 Tablespoons Coconut/ MCT oil
-Start with 1 tablespoon and work your way up to 2
Mix in a blender on high for 15-20 seconds until frothy like a latte
*If you have a sensitive stomach, start with lower amounts of butter and oil. Then slowly increase over time. Play around with the ratios of butter and oil. Some people operate better with very little butter and more oil, and vis versa.
A little nerd talk on the science behind the brew
Before we talk about how bulletproof coffee works its best to understand a little biology behind how your body handles energy. So hang on, I’m going to bore you for just a minute.
Your body has 2 main sources of fuel that can be directly turned into energy. By “energy” I mean ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) which is the cellar energy storage molecule. ATP is produced by mitochondria within your individual cells. The mitochondria require oxygen and substrate to produce energy. The substrate for mitochondria is made by breaking down glucose (sugars) in the citric acid or fatty acid cycle. ATP can also be made without oxygen by converting glucose into lactic acid. (Very inefficient compared to burning glucose with oxygen).
Excess amino acids not used to make proteins can be turned into glucose. The process of making new glucose is called gluconeogenesis.
Our bodies energy cycle
Your body can burn both glucose and fatty acids to generate energy, but can only do one or the other. Never both at the same time. The way your body decides which fuel type to use is dictated by hormones. Those hormones are regulated by the type of food we eat and how often. Insulin being the main hormone, is produced when blood glucose levels rise above a certain level. Carbohydrates raise insulin the most, then proteins. Fats raise insulin very little or not at all.
Energy management functions of insulin:
- Lowers blood glucose
- Promotes using glucose as fuel
- Promotes production of fats
- Promotes storage of fatty acids
- Protein (Muscle) breakdown
In summery insulin is a energy storage hormone. If its present you store energy and burn glucose. If its absent energy is freed up to be used and you burn fat.
Most energy in the body is stored as fat, and is only available if insulin is absent. If you have an absence of insulin fats are used as the main source of fuel and converted to ketones. Ketones boost your metabolic rate, reduce the amount of fat your store and burn the fat you already have. Therefor, making them a highly efficient fuel source for mitochondria. On top of that ketones provide your brain with energy putting you in a “switched on” state. Say goodbye to brain fog!
Breakfast with a bang
Starting your morning off with your favourite oatmeal, granola, cereal, or toast spikes your blood sugar. You’ll get a quick burst of energy followed a mid morning crash. Three hours later you’ll be hungry, tired and unfocused.
Starting your day off with optimized coffee gives you three things:
- Suppressed Hunger. The Coconut or MCT oil balance your hunger hormones gherkin and CCK.
- Steady lasting energy. The saturated fat in the butter/oil slows the absorption of caffeine giving you energy for hours instead of a caffeine spike and crash. And… no jitters either.
- Mental clarity. Coconut/ MCT oil rapidly covert to ketones giving you brain energy.
If you take optimized coffee in the morning and have not eaten anything that raises your blood glucose, your body will burn fat. This is because your body burns fat as you sleep and will continue to do so until you elevate your blood glucose.
It doesn’t matter to your mitochondria if you just ate fat for breakfast or if it comes from your fat stores. The fat will be available until your insulin spikes.
But don’t fats make you fat?
Both fats and coffee are very controversial topics in the western world. The propaganda has ingrained it into out society that fats make you fat and to stay clear. This can’t be further from the truth. Evidence is popping up everywhere bringing light to the fact that both fats and caffeine have tremendous positive health effects. Some of which include protecting against disease and reducing inflammation. Both short and long term. Of course you have to take everything in moderation, especially caffeine.
Fats are not just good for your body, they’re essential. Too many carbs will lead to unbalanced blood sugars, giving you fluctuating hormones which cause fat storage.
All that being said… don’t just take my word for it…
The best way to figure out if optimized coffee works for you is to just try it. Pick up the ingredients and incorporate it into your routine. You be the judge!