Should I put butter in my coffee to lose weight?

“I’m trying to lose weight so I’m adding butter to my coffee.”

***dietitian does spit take of black coffee***

Friends. This is one of those times (out of 10,000 times..that’s not hyperbole, I just counted in my diary and this has happened precisely 10,000 times) when someone tells me their diet hack, I nod my head in an effort to be polite but I’m actually thinking – Yes…tell me more about the cavemen and women using a Vitamix to make coffee.

If you’ve not heard of this, paleo or keto coffee (sometimes called bulletproof for some reason?) is coffee with added fat and/or protein in the form of butter, MCT oil, coconut milk, avocado, heavy cream, eggs and others.

This is not new by any means. It’s just currently on my mind because I overheard a coworker conversation about incorporating this coffee into their morning routine as part of their weight loss plan.

Most of the time, when people start talking about their fad diet thing, I pick a profession out of thin air and pretend that it is my profession in order to avoid any discussion about their diet. “Lovely to meet you, my name is Abigail and I am an astronaut. I wouldn’t know the first thing about your paleo diet but ask me anything you like about space travel!”

In this particular scenario, I was at work doing my job as a real dietitian so there was no hiding behind the astronaut helmet I carry around for emergencies. So, the coworker wants to know what the dietitian thinks about this. I tread lightly.

Side note… Do you think astronauts ever tell people they are dietitians to avoid answering questions about what bathroom stuff is like space? I’ll look that up later.

The keto claim to drinking this coffee is that the added fat and/or protein will keep you full through the morning so you’ll eat less. Fine…maybe this is true. The problem is that you’re adding calories to something that had no calories before. The best way to lose weight is to remove calories where you can. You’re replacing a potential balanced morning snack that could be a chance to sneak in some vitamins and fiber (an apple and a handful of nuts maybe?) with butter. Also, we know that drinking calories is never the way to go if you want to limit overall calorie intake.

Let the record show that if there is an opportunity to add protein to something, I’m on board. What I can’t get behind is the neglect of the principle…

calorie deficit = weight loss

…and making people think you can do some trickery with butter that overrides this very basic principle. Adding butter to your coffee is adding calories to your coffee that you weren’t consuming before the internet told you to drink keto coffee. By no means, should you count calories all the time. That will make you a crazy person but it’s important to know that fats have a ton of calories…the most in fact of the macronutrients. You absolutely need fat but that doesn’t mean you need to drink butter.

A stands for Abigail


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