By now, you've probably heard about bulletproof coffee. It's popping up everywhere, with devotees singing its praises from movie sets to boardrooms. But, if you hear "bulletproof" and nothing comes to mind besides vests and windows at sketchy Chinese food spots, allow me to introduce you to the latest craze.
What is Bulletproof Coffee?
Bulletproof coffee, developed by biohacker Dave Asprey, is basically a cup of coffee blended with grass-fed butter and coconut or medium chain triglyceride (MCT) oil, traditionally drank in the morning, often as a meal replacement. I know what you're thinking: "Butter in coffee? Gross." That's generally the first reaction, with the second being, "that cannot possibly be healthy." However, you may be wrong on both points. Here's why.
Benefits of Bulletproof Coffee:
- A healthy dose of saturated fats. For the past 50 years or so, saturated fats have borne the Scarlet Letter in traditional Western diets, thanks in large part to a study that erroneously linked an increase in dietary fat to an increase in heart disease. Recent studies have proven that this is just not true. In fact, quality sources of saturated fat can actually lower your chance of heart disease, and bulletproof coffee provides these in abundance.
- A sustainable source of energy. Because of the way the body breaks down MCTs, this type of fat actually increases your energy and physical endurance. Great for endurance athletes!
- The MCTs in bulletproof coffee are also show to improve cognitive performance.
Add to those benefits the fact that bulletproof coffee is, undeniably, delicious. The result of blending the butter and oil with the coffee is a steaming, creamy concoction not unlike a latte. And if Starbucks' sales are any indication, we love our lattes.
My Personal Experience
I first came across bulletproof coffee as a component of the ketogenic (basically, high fat/low carb) diet, which I've followed for some time now. I won't lie, I initially balked at the idea of basically eating butter for breakfast, but then I recalled a lecture I'd heard a couple years ago about resetting your digestion from Dr. John Douillard. Dr. Douillard, a respected Ayurvedic doctor based in Boulder, Colorado, recommended eating a spoonful of ghee (clarified butter) every morning as the key to a successful detox program to fire up your digestion and get your metabolism going. (If you'd like to know more about this topic, Dr. Douillard has a fascinating article about the benefits of ghee on his site.) This recollection in mind, I decided to roll with it, closely monitoring the scale for the first month or so, making sure the extra dose of fat didn't make me, well, fat. Fast forward seven months, and I still drink it daily. I'm happy to say that:
- I haven't gained a pound since then.
- My most recent set of bloodwork from January shows marked improvements in my HDL and my LDL cholesterol, which is something my doctor wanted me to monitor.
- I completed a half century (50 miles!) bike ride on nothing but bulletproof coffee, a couple boiled eggs and some macadamia nuts -- so yes, the energy boost is real.
I should note, however, that I've made a few modifications to the way I go bulletproof.
- I actually drink bulletproof tea. Coffee gives me a heartburn. I vary which teas I use, but my faves are matcha, chai or anything with cinnamon. Basically, if you choose tea, you want it to be strongly flavored so it doesn't taste like you're drinking creamy water. Yuck.
- Technically, I don't really drink "bulletproof" anything anymore. While I started off using the Bulletproof-branded products, I've found that I get the same effects using regular extra virgin coconut oil over their MCT oil. It's much cheaper, and coconut oil has a host of other benefits along with the MCTs.
- Here's another #wellactually: I also use ghee that I've made with Kerrygold grass-fed butter. You saw that article up there...how can you not love ghee? Plus, I try to limit my dairy consumption. (Key word: try. I loooove cheese.)
Is Bulletproof Coffee Right for You?
This is a good question. As a fan, of course I recommend it to everyone I talk to, with a caveat. If you're planning to add bulletproof coffee to your lineup of eggs, pancakes, bacon, cereal and OJ this morning -- don't. I cannot in good consciousness recommend that a person who eats a diet in excess drink bulletproof coffee. However, if you're using it as a meal replacement in the morning, or eating it with a source of a lower fat protein in the morning, go for it. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. As a person who's never been a big fan of breakfast, it has actually helped me to consume something for this all-important meal, and it keeps me full for hours.
Have you ever tried bulletproof coffee? Is the concept just too weird for you? Let me know! Sound off in the comments.