The Bulletproof Coffee recipe combines some unlikely ingredients, and makes for an unconventional breakfast beverage. Along with reported Bulletproof Coffee benefits, there are several mistakes the brand suggest you can make when consuming this popular drink.
Bulletproof Coffee Origin and Ingredients
Bulletproof Coffee is the brand and brainchild of former Silicon Valley technology entrepreneur Dave Asprey, notes the American Council on Science and Health.
The Bulletproof website states that Bulletproof Coffee is comprised of Bulletproof Coffee beans, filtered water, grass-fed butter (or ghee) and Brain Octane oil. Trademarked Brain Octane oil is also known as caprylic acid (C8), a specific variety of medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) obtained from pure coconut oil.
The Bulletproof Coffee recipe has an unusual nutritional profile, notes the International Food Information Council Foundation. This frothy drink contains roughly 441 calories, depending on the serving size. It also contains 51 grams of fat, and 80 percent of that amount is potentially harmful saturated fat.
Beyond that, Bulletproof Coffee doesn't have much nutritional content. It contains 1 gram of protein, and no beneficial fiber, carbohydrates, vitamins or minerals.
Read more: Is Bulletproof Coffee a Bad Idea?
There are several mistakes you can make when consuming Bulletproof Coffee, ranging from ingredient substitutions to adding new ingredients, such as including stevia in Bulletproof Coffee. Consider both sides of each one and make the choice that suits your healthy lifestyle.
Using Substandard Coffee Beans
Drinking a cup of fresh, hot coffee might be a satisfying part of your morning ritual. Even better, drinking coffee also has some health benefits. As noted by Harvard Medical School, moderate coffee consumption (between three and four cups daily) has been associated with an extended lifespan.
Numerous studies have concluded that coffee drinkers may be at a decreased risk of several types of cardiovascular disease. They're also less likely to be affected by type 2 diabetes, cirrhosis, gout, Parkinson's disease, liver cancer or uterine cancer. The source of coffee's benefits isn't clear, as many studies don't indicate whether the subject coffee does (or does not) contain caffeine.
Each tasty cup of coffee should begin with top-quality, freshly ground beans. Bulletproof uses specially sourced beans as the base for its signature beverage.
If you buy your own coffee beans, Bulletproof recommends you select rainforest-certified Arabica beans from a high-elevation environment. If possible, choose small-batch beans from a single origin, and ensure they've been tested for harmful mycotoxins (or mold).
To decrease the chances that your coffee beans will be contaminated by mycotoxins, choose single-source coffee rather than a blend, recommends the Riordan Clinic. Multiple-source blends frequently combine cheaply produced beans that contain mold.
Stay away from beans prepared via the "wet process" or "natural process" methods. These beans have been stored outside, leaving them vulnerable to bird feces or sitting in water vats that encourage bacteria growth.
Not Adding Grass-fed Butter
The Bulletproof Coffee recipe lists butter sourced from grass-fed cows as an ingredient. Besides giving the beverage a rich, creamy appearance, Bulletproof states that grass-fed butter contains beneficial CLA fatty acids. This butter also reportedly contains nutrients such as beta-carotene and vitamin A. If you have a lactose intolerance, consider using ghee, which contains minimal amounts of lactose.
The Riordan Clinic also touts grass-fed butter's benefits. Besides highly concentrated omega-3 fatty acids, this butter contains vitamins D, E, K and several antioxidants. Grass-fed butter also contains large quantities of butyrate. This fatty acid is believed to help reduce inflammation, improve gut health and heighten metabolism.
With that said, however, the University of Utah College of Health cautions that grass-fed butter's perceived benefits haven't been proven via high-quality human studies. Specifically, they caution against claiming that grass-fed butter can help to control users' cholesterol levels.
There can also be health benefits from switching to grass-milk dairy products, says the University of Minnesota Extension. Grass-milk's increased omega-3 concentrations are especially significant. Higher omega 3s can help to decrease your risk of cardiovascular diseases and metabolic conditions. Infants, children and pregnant women can also benefit from higher omega-3 consumption.
Using a Brain Octane Oil Substitute
Bulletproof strongly recommends using its own Brain Octane oil in Bulletproof Coffee. First, the company emphasizes the C8 MCT oil's purity, quality and taste.
Bulletproof also states that Brain Octane oil, a specific variety of MCT oil, raises your ketone levels three times as effectively as plain coconut oil. This ostensibly enables your brain and body to keep humming along on fat rather than sugar.
You could save money by substituting it for regular coconut oil, but although you might experience some of the same beneficial effects as those reportedly delivered by Brain Octane oil, you probably wouldn't enjoy the complete Bulletproof Coffee experience.
The Riordan Clinic also stresses the importance of making Bulletproof Coffee with Brain Octane oil instead of plain coconut oil. Your body reportedly absorbs Brain Octane oil very easily, converting it into fuel in three simple steps, compared to sugar's 25-step processing sequence. This rapid transformation delivers energy to your brain, where it's needed for multiple simultaneous bodily functions.
Added Milk and Sweetener
Adding milk to your coffee is a popular tradition, and it can really enhance the beverage's flavor. However, Bulletproof advises that you shouldn't add any form of milk protein to your Bulletproof Coffee recipe.
First, Bulletproof explains that whey protein isn't stable when subjected to heat. The protein's IGG peptides can become damaged by the beverage's high temperature and the blender's agitation of the ingredients. Bulletproof also discourages you from adding casein protein, as this ingredient can negatively affect the drink's antioxidant properties.
However, milk also has numerous health benefits. It possesses antihypertensive and anticarcinogenic properties, plus positive effects on your immune system, notes the summer 2016 issue of the Iranian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research. These benefits closely relate to milk proteins' nutritional value and biological make-up. Whey protein and casein are milk's primary proteins, with casein comprising about 80 percent and whey protein making up the remaining 20 percent of the total.
Bulletproof also doesn't recommend adding any type of sugar to Bulletproof Coffee. Maple syrup, honey or other natural sugars will also impact your blood sugar levels, which will negatively affect the fat-burning process. However, Bulletproof does approve the use of stevia in Bulletproof Coffee. Erythritol or xylitol are also on the permitted sweeteners list.
Consuming Too Much Bulletproof Coffee
If you often enjoy a cup of coffee with your meal, you should rethink that practice if you add Bulletproof Coffee to your daily diet. This high-fat beverage is designed as a breakfast meal replacement, rather than a hot beverage that accompanies your meal.
By drastically increasing your calorie intake, you could set the stage for a fat and calorie overload, with unwelcome weight gain just around the corner. So, if you begin your day with Bulletproof Coffee, restructure your remaining meals and snacks so you get your needed nutrients without exceeding your calorie and fat limits.
Bulletproof Coffee is also designed to be a "wake-you-up" morning beverage, making it most appropriate for breakfast, states the University of Texas Austin. It's not recommended you replace a second daily meal with this steaming hot beverage.
Although Bulletproof Coffee's high fat content might decrease your appetite for a few hours, you'll miss the real-food nutrients packed into a balanced breakfast. You'll also take in more than 40 grams of saturated fat in just one meal. The American Heart Association recommends a maximum of 13 grams of saturated fat daily, based on a generic 2,000 daily calorie diet.
Using Bulletproof Coffee for Weight Loss
Maybe you've thought about using Bulletproof Coffee as a weight loss tool. The beverage's high saturated-fat content may help to reduce your feelings of hunger and desire for unhealthy foods, says Interface EAP. When you do consume a food containing saturated fat, you're more likely to feel full, decreasing the chances that you'll overeat.
So, does that feeling of satiety mean you can drink Bulletproof Coffee and lose weight? Some Bulletproof Coffee drinkers have reportedly lost weight while following this regimen, states the International Food Information Council Foundation. However, there aren't any clinical studies that show Bulletproof Coffee's weight loss benefits.
Equally importantly, many people who lose weight while drinking Bulletproof Coffee already follow a high-fat, low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet, so their bodies are conditioned to getting their energy from fats rather than carbs.
In the short term, following a ketogenic diet (with or without Bulletproof Coffee) might result in desirable weight loss. However, the majority of that weight loss results from water loss, as dehydration often accompanies adherence to a ketogenic diet.
In addition, shunning carbs isn't a practical long-term healthy eating strategy. Your body needs those carbs for beneficial fiber and essential energy. Starting your day with a nutritious breakfast packed with healthy nutrients is your best bet for avoiding long-term weight gain and harmful obesity.
What Are Bulletproof Coffee Benefits?
Bulletproof Coffee touts the reported health benefits of this unconventional drink. The Cleveland Clinic delves into the potential benefits of regular butter and MCT oil consumption and acknowledges that although there is a lack of research about buttery coffee, butter's fat does contain useful glycosphingolipids. These beneficial fatty acids help to prevent gastrointestinal tract infections, particularly in older adults and very small children. This may be one of the Bulletproof Coffee benefits.
Butter's omega-3 and omega-6 fats make your body metabolize caffeine more slowly, so you enjoy increased energy for a longer period of time. This might also qualify as one of the Bulletproof Coffee benefits.
With MCT, which is contained in coconut oil, you don't store this fat around your muscles as you do with other dietary fats. Instead, MCTs speed right to your liver, where they're transformed into energy-providing ketone bodies.
If you experience a cognitive impairment that affects your ability to break down body-fueling glucose, your brain can enlist these ketone bodies as an energy source. In some cases, cognitively impaired people who ingest MCT demonstrate a rapid enhancement in their mental function.
The Cleveland Clinic states that in certain cases, butter and MCT oil can provide health benefits. However, adding these substances to your coffee isn't necessarily the best way to include healthy oils and fats in your diet.
- American Council on Science and Health: "Bulletproof Coffee. Plenty of Bull. And Fat Too."
- Bulletproof: "Everything You Want to Know (Plus the Recipe)"
- International Food Information Council Foundation: "Busting Open the 'Bulletproof Coffee' Trend"
- Harvard Health Publishing: "The Latest Scoop on the Health Benefits of Coffee"
- Riordan Clinic: "Bulletproof Coffee"
- University of Utah Health: "Butter Your Toast, Not Your Coffee"
- University of Minnesota Extension: "Grass-fed Cows Produce Healthier Milk"
- Iranian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research: "Health-Related Aspects of Milk Proteins"
- University of Texas Austin: "Bulletproof Coffee"
- Cleveland Clinic: "Is Buttered 'Keto Coffee' Good for You?"
- Interface EAP: "The Truth About Fat"
- American Heart Association: "Saturated Fat"