I have previously discussed how you can enjoy coffee, tea, or hot chocolate with a rich and delicious creamer by using a combination of MCT oil powder and collagen hydrolysates. But, taking a lesson from Dave Asprey’s Bulletproof Coffee experience, you can make it even better by adding butter.
Medium-chain triglycerides, or MCTs, are a form of fat that have an intermediate (“medium”) chain of carbons in their structure: 6, 8, or 10, rather than the 20 or more, for example, in the EPA and DHA of fish oil, the 18 carbons in the oleic acid of olive oil, or the 4 carbons (“short” chain) of butyrate produced by microbial species in human bowel flora. MCTs are metabolized differently than other fats, however, as they are not “packaged” into chylomicrons after absorption to transport through the bloodstream, but are absorbed directly (into the portal circulation), then metabolized into ketones by the liver. Modest rises in blood ketones therefore result after ingesting MCTs, similar to the rise obtained with a ketogenic diet or taking exogenous ketones. (For anyone fingerstick testing ketones, blood levels of 0.2-0.4 mmol/L are typical after ingesting 20 grams MCTs.)
The useful effects of MCTs include:
- Appetite suppression, as I discuss in this video. Take 10 or more grams of MCTs and appetite is suppressed for about 4 hours. For this reason, I call using MCTs to facilitate fasting “assisted fasting.”
- Increased energy and enhanced mental clarity. (More and more people are using MCTs to partially reverse mild cognitive impairment, as in early Alzheimer’s dementia, though it is not yet clear whether this is a nootropic or a neurotrophic effect.)
- There may also be modest weight loss benefits, specifically reduction in visceral (inflammatory) fat
- Modest reduction in insulin resistance.
MCTs as oil can be used just as any other food oil: added to foods, baking, salad dressing, etc. You can take it directly by the spoonful, but many people find the oily consistency unpleasant.
But now there are products that are MCT oil powders, i.e., the oil reduced to powder form. Interestingly, MCT oil powders make a terrific creamer for coffee, tea, or hot chocolate—better, I believe, than full-fat cream, as it yields a rich, smooth creamy texture with great mouthfeel and taste, not to mention the health benefits of MCTs. Add a few drops of liquid stevia or a bit of the natural sweeteners in Virtue Sweetener, and I find myself enjoying coffee more than I have in a long time. And my 2 cups of coffee in the morning (total 20 grams MCTs) are followed by complete absence of appetite until around noon, as well as heightened mental clarity, focus, and curious dissolution of the proscrastination impulse characteristic of higher blood ketone levels.
Some MCT oil powders on the market, however, tend to have undesirable ingredients, such as lecithin, maltodextrin, or corn fiber. Recall, for instance, that we minimize exposure to emulsifying agents like lecithin because they emulsify the mucous lining of the intestinal tract and thereby add to inflammation and disruptions of bowel flora. The products that I believe are safe and without adverse health implications are listed below.
We add more potential health benefits by mixing in collagen hydrolysates, i.e., collagen that has been broken down into small hydroxyproline-containing peptide pieces that have been shown to:
- Reduce skin wrinkle depth by increasing dermal collagen, skin elasticity, and hydration, effects that may begin to become evident after 4-8 weeks of consistent daily consumption. Collagen peptides also protect skin from sun damage and photoaging by reducing the activity of the enzyme matrix metalloproteinase.
- Reduce joint pain that likely derives from an increase in collagen and proteoglycans in cartilage, the materials that comprise cartilage and erode in arthritis.
For even better creaminess, you can also add a tablespoon of butter, high in fat, just as we like it in the Wheat Belly lifestyle, as well as being a rich source of butyrate, a critical nutrient for the intestinal lining and for many metabolic benefits such as improved insulin sensitivity. Yes, dairy products have their issues mostly due to lactose, as well as casein and whey proteins, but butter is 99% fat with only minor quantities of problematic ingredients. Butter is therefore among the least problematic of dairy products.
I like adding a squirt of liquid stevia or your choice of natural sweetener, also.
Oh, and by the way: If you choose your ingredients wisely, you should not encounter any polysorbate 80, carageenan, modified cornstarch, artificial flavors nor any of the other garbage ingredients you find in commercial coffee creamers.
To make your coffee, tea, or hot chocolate, you will need a stick blender to emulsify the melted butter.
8 ounces freshly-brewed coffee, tea, or hot chocolate
1 tablespoon butter
10 grams MCT oil powder (about 1 1/2 tablespoons)
10 grams collagen hydrolysates (about 1 1/2 tablespoons)
Sweetener equivalent to 2 teaspoons sugar (e.g., 1/2 teaspoon Virtue
Makes one 8-ounce cup
In large mug, combine about 1/4 cup of coffee and butter. If butter does not fully melt, microwave briefly (e.g., 20 seconds) to melt. Stir in MCT oil powder, collagen, and sweetener. Blend with stick blender for 10-15 seconds. Stir in remaining coffee, tea, or hot chocolate.
For convenience, I have made the Bean Envy MCT Oil Powder + Collagen and the Perfect Keto MCT Oil Powder, as well as recommended collagen products, available in our Wheat Belly Marketplace.