Is Butter a Health Food?

updated May 1, 2019
How To Make Butter Coffee
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(Image credit: Dana Velden)

Do you love butter? Of course you do. Who doesn’t love butter? But when you add it to your cooking, do you also fold in a little teaspoon of guilt while watching that butter dissolve into batter? Or perhaps you are making a nice roasted veggie dish and silently screaming to yourself, “Hey, I’m making vegetables here, for Pete’s sake!” in the hopes that it will cancel out the “sin” of throwing a hunk of butter in the mix?

Well, what if you didn’t have to feel guilty about butter? What if butter, that tastebud dream maker, was really a health food star?

(Image credit: DarkBird)

Before I blow your mind with some health facts about butter, let’s get one thing straight: I’m not talking about any ol’ butter. I’m talking about the good stuff — it’s got to be grass-fed, organic butter.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get back to the point at hand.

Some Science About Butter

Grass-fed, organic butter is rich in vitamins A, D, E, and K2. And I want to take a brief moment here to give a shout out to K2, which has been linked with reduced risk of osteoporosis and heart disease, and is difficult to obtain in a modern diet. Butter is also high in beta carotenes; according Bulletproof coffee founder Dave Asprey, one tablespoon of grass-fed butter has more beta carotenes than a bunch of carrots. But here is my favorite fact about butter: It is rich in conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which is a reported weight-loss supplement. Yeah, let me say that again: Butter is rich in fat-burning properties. (Is that the sound of margarine companies quietly weeping in a corner somewhere?)

Some History Behind Butter’s Maligned Reputation

American scientist Ancel Keys first proposed the correlation between cholesterol and cardiovascular disease in 1955, prompting the Seven Countries Study, which seemed to confirm this hypothesis. In 1956, the American Heart Association announced that a diet high in animal fat and coronary disease were linked, and the U.S. government recommend a low-fat diet as the key to heart health.

The idea that fat makes you fat led to the invention of margarine, and with all those baby-boomer mamas feeding their kids margarine, our fat intake as a nation had dramatically decreased by the 1970s. Meanwhile obesity, heart disease, and diabetes rates took off like a collection of crazy rocket ships operated by a pack of wild monkeys.

How to Eat More Butter

Now that I’ve dropped some buttery health knowledge and made your spirits and taste buds soar, I’m going to leave you with one of my favorite ways to enjoy butter every morning: in coffee.

I actually eat a predominantly dairy-free diet, except for butter, and when I started adding butter to my coffee, I lost weight. But if you are dairy-free and want to remain so, I highly recommend you give ghee a try. It’s not only delicious, but all the milk proteins have also been cooked out of it, leaving just the nutrient-rich, dairy-free fat.

Ghee has been an Ayurvedic ingredient for thousands of years, is extremely tasty, and frankly deserves it’s own post, but suffice it to say, it’s also delicious in your coffee, so feel free to substitute it if you like.

And if you don’t drink coffee, try this morning combination: ghee, matcha, coconut oil, a splash of homemade almond milk, and a pinch of cinnamon.

How To Make Butter Coffee

Makes 1 (8-ounce) cup

Nutritional Info


  • 8 ounces freshly brewed strong, black coffee
  • 1 tablespoon of grass-fed butter
  • 1/2 tablespoon

    coconut oil or MTC


  • French press, AeroPress, or pour-over coffee maker
  • Blender


  1. Brew the coffee to desired strength (strong recommended). Pour coffee into blender. Add butter and oil, and blend on high for at least 30 seconds.

Recipe Notes

This link can be helpful in finding grass-fed butter near you. The most common grocery story brand is Kerrygold Irish butter.

I purchased MTC oil at Whole Foods.

It is important that you blend it for at least 30 seconds; you will literally not get the same drink if you simply stir the butter and oil into your coffee.

I make my coffee every morning with an AeroPress. The simplicity of the process and the taste is by far the best, in my opinion, so I make an 8-ounce cup of coffee only. And if you love it so much that you want another cup, then just rinse and repeat.