By now we’ve all seen the trendy boosted coffees. Coffees with butter and other oils. I believe Bulletproof Coffee was the first to really put it on the radar of the public eye. This trend has truly blown up in recent years, Bulletproof and Dave Asprey have built an entire diet, lifestyle and brand surrounding their coffee. We have also all heard the varying reports, one day we read research that says coffee is good for us, the next day we read it’s bad! I truly hate the demonizing of whole foods, so rarely is it so cut and dry. Well, of course this is said with exceptions, hydrogenated oils and shit tons of sugar – those (and a few obvious others) deserve demonizing. But well-meaning coffee, let’s just all agree that the answer to “Is coffee good for me?” – should simply be “it depends!” I can say that when I choose to drink coffee, which isn’t necessarily daily, I opt for this boosted version, to maximize my morning brew’s full potential.
Chris Kresser did a really great job with this post and the corresponding podcast episode, discusssing exactly this topic. He covers the many healthful benefits to a daily cup of hot java and also the harmful effects that it can have on *some* people. Like so many things that I talk about when it comes to food and nutrition, it’s all highly bio-individualistic. There is no black and white here. What is good for one, isn’t good for another. So, I won’t even bother starting this discussion, as he did such a great job covering it.
I can say, I have found myself on both sides of the coin at varying times. In the past, when I was far sicker, I couldn’t tolerate even one cup of coffee, a single serving would cause full body shakes, sweating and I would feel crazy keyed up. I later realized that because our liver metabolizes caffeine, if our liver is bogged down or sluggish or needing to be detoxified, the reaction we can have to the caffeine can be worse than your average person. Thankfully I no longer have those seizure-like responses to a cup of coffee, but I also have to be mindful to practice moderation with it. More than a cup once in a while and I will be reminded that I’ve gone too far.
I have never been a daily coffee drinker, mostly because I have a real problem feeling a slave to anything I consume. Food or drink. I never want to feel like I HAVE to drink or eat something or I will cease to function. I see that a lot with daily coffee drinkers. It’s not for me (especially now that I know the long term affects and the problem with resorting to caffeine as a means to fuel your day). More, I enjoy the culture around a cup of coffee, I love the smell of it brewing, I love the thought and care put into a steamy mug of a properly-brewed cup of joe created from consciously cultivated beans. I love the people that are passionate about coffee, who are sourcing fair-trade organic beans and/or roasting their own. I’d also be lying if I didn’t say that some days, I also really love that caffeine buzz.
When I do consume my coffee, which is as much as couple of days in the week to as little as just a few cups in the entire month, I prefer to boost my coffee. My morning cup of boosted coffee sits far better with me, than the black stuff or just coffee and a little cream.
Caffeine can affect insulin action as well as increase cortisol output and for some it can affect the adrenals. Including healthy fats from the MCT or coconut oil and coconut milk (if including) helps slow the absorption of the caffeine and slightly mitigate it’s affects, including the often following crash. Including a quality oil to start your day also encourages fat burning and boosts metabolism. I take collagen peptides daily (read more about that here) and I find including it in my morning coffee to be the easiest and more efficient. Collagen peptides are tasteless and mix easily into hot and cold drinks.
I am not of the camp that believes this boosted coffee should be a meal replacement or that we should hold off eating until 2:00pm and let the coffee hold us over. Fasting works great for some people and not so much for others. Mostly I feel that if you are going to start your day with a cup of coffee, rather than store-bought creamers and sugar, syrup laced lattes or even just black – this boosted counterpart offers so much more. A great way to include a small amount of healthy fats first thing in the morning to fuel your day and to boost your brain, all in a much more efficient manner than the usual, temporary caffeine boost than can often leave us in a mid-afternoon crash, looking for more.
What’s in Boosted Coffee:
MCT or Coconut Oil – helps with fat-burning, a great source of energy, boosts metabolism, improves cognitive function and slows down the effects of the caffeine.
Collagen Peptides – a rich source of amino acids, great for improving digestion, the health of skin, nails and hair, helps with bone and joint health.
What is the Difference Between MCT Oil and Coconut Oil?
MCT stands for medium chain triglycerides, also known as MCFA (medium-chain fatty acids) this is a form of saturated fat that has many health benefits. Most fats consumed are taken into your body then must be mixed with bile released from your gallbladder and acted on by pancreatic enzymes to break it down in your digestive system. Medium-chain fats are digested easily and once they reach your intestine they are sent via the bloodstream directly to your liver, where they have a thermogenic effect and the ability to positively alter your metabolism. MCTs even pass the blood-brain barrier to supply your brain with energy. MCTs vs longer chain fats are absorbed more quickly, as there is less work for the body to do, in breaking down the carbon bonds, meaning they can be used quicker as fuel, rather than being stored as fat.
MCT oil is isolated and derived from coconut oil (but some also come from palm oil), so while coconut oil contains MCTs, it is not 100% MCT oil; coconut oil contains a high percentage of lauric acid, which is a long-chain fatty acid (as opposed to medium-chain). It’s the medium-chain triglycerides that are more highly ketogenic, meaning MCT oil is much more effective at stimulating ketosis (the body’s fat burning state). Ketones are also good for the (Brain) and appear to play a role in preventing and treating Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerations. Coconut oil does contain some MCTs so it carries these same benefits, but without being as potent and concentrated as pure MCT oil. Because of this coconut oil does not convert quite as efficiently into ketones and therefore does not contribute as much of an energy boost as the straight MCT. Nor does it suppress hunger or help feed your brain the way C8 and C10 do. (More on those below)
Both MCT and coconut oil also provide anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and can also offer anti-microbial support, to help rid the gut of harmful pathogenic bacteria, parasites, fungus, etc.
When buying MCT oil, always look for oil that has been expressed without the use of solvents. To read more about the differences between the varying types of MCT oils check out this post and this post. But here are some easy-to-digest (out intended) cliff notes:
MCT oils can be divided into four subcategories. These are:
- C6 (also called Capron acid or Hexanoic Acid)
- C8 (also called Caprylic Acid or Octanoic Acid)
- C10 (also called Capric Acid or Decanoic Acid)
- C12 (also called Lauric acid or Dodecanoic Acid)
I generally opt for the Bulletproof’s XCT this oil which is both C8 and C10, it is 6 times more effective at delivering medium chain triglycerides than regular coconut oil. Bulletproof’s Brain Octane Oil is 100% C8, but it is a bit more expensive than the XCT, straight C8 offers more brain performance than their XCT oil which also includes C10. Avoid C6s as they can cause digestive distress. Coconut oil is highest in C12 (Lauric Acid) MCTs, so if an MCT oil is C12 derived, save your money and just opt for coconut oil. There are plenty of other brands of MCT oils on the market, so it’s best to do your research on where they are derived from, how they are expressed and what type of MCTs they contain.
I would always recommend skipping sweetener, unless you really need or prefer it. It’s not part of the “boosting” by any means.
If you are new to including MCT or coconut oil, I would highly recommend starting with 1 teaspoon and working your way up. Before you are used to it, 1 tablespoon of oil in the morning on an empty stomach can be hard on some and cause digestive distress. Slowly increase, 1 teaspoon at a time, over a couple of weeks. Adding butter, milk or coconut milk or another fat, can also help with the digestion of the fat, while your body gets used to it. Over time, you can increase to as much as 4 tablespoons of MCT oil in a day.
Coconut oil solidifies in cold liquids, so I would always recommend MCT oil in cold brew, as it remains liquid. Coconut oil makes chunks.
- 8 ounces of organic brewed coffee (hot or cold brewed)
- 1 tablespoon Vital Proteins collagen peptides
- 1 tablespoon MCT or coconut oil*
- Grass-fed butter, raw milk, raw milk creamer, coconut milk or coconut milk creamer*
- 1 teaspoon (or less) sweetener of your choice: maple syrup, honey, date sugar, stevia, monkfruit extract, etc
- Add all of the ingredients to your blender and blend until smooth, creamy and frothy. If using cold brew, pour over ice. Enjoy.
I opt for either a small amount of full fat coconut cream or my homemade french vanilla creamer (made unsweetened)
some natural separation will occur as the coffee sits, especially depending on what you add, just give it a stir to reincorporate
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This post is for educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
This post is not sponsored by any brands, rather I am simply sharing the product I enjoy.