What is Bulletproof Coffee, Know its Benefits, Drawbacks and Should You Be Having It?

Bulletproof coffee is a new age beverage that combines coffee, oil, and butter. Bulletproof coffee serves as a substitute for breakfast, and supporters of bulletproof coffee firmly believe that it has a wide variety of health benefits. Since bulletproof coffee is high in calories, it is believed to be a suitable replacement for breakfast. Originally conceived and promoted by Dave Asprey, the creator of Bulletproof Diet, is today very popular, especially amongst people who are following paleo and low-carb diets. But are these claims actually valid? Read on to learn more about bulletproof coffee, and should you be having it.

What is Bulletproof Coffee?

What is Bulletproof Coffee?

Bulletproof coffee is a popular beverage that brings today coffee, oil, and butter.(1) This creamy coffee looks similar to a latte, and it is believed to offer a wide range of health benefits. These include:

  • Preventing bouts of hunger
  • Maintaining your energy levels throughout the morning
  • Improving your mental focus

Bulletproof coffee is a high-calorie drink and is intended to replace your breakfast. The concept of bulletproof coffee was initially promoted by the creator of the Bulletproof Diet, Dave Asprey. The coffee has been manufactured and marketed by Asprey’s company and is believed to be free of mycotoxins. However, since bulletproof coffee is relatively new to the market, there has not been too much of scientific research done on the benefits or side effects of this beverage.

There are four main steps to make bulletproof coffee:

  • Use only freshly ground coffee beans to brew one cup of coffee with the help of a French press.
  • Add a tablespoon of medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil, an oil that is typically derived from coconut oil.
  • Add one or two tablespoons of grass-fed, unsalted butter. You can also use a non-dairy substitute.
  • Mix everything in a blender for 30 seconds till the coffee mix looks creamy and foamy.
  • Bulletproof coffee is generally drunk warm.

Benefits of Bulletproof Coffee

Drinking coffee, but in moderation, is known to provide many health benefits and is also known to decrease the risk of death from many types of cancers and heart disease.(2,3) Drinking coffee is also known to reduce the chance of developing conditions such as type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and liver disease. However, there is a need for further research to prove these health benefits.

Having coffee in the morning is also known to boost your mental focus and helps a person feel more alert and awake. This effect has been observed to last for a couple of hours, helping you get through the morning, especially if you are not a morning person.

When it comes to bulletproof coffee, the recipe for this coffee uses MCT oil derived from coconut. MCT oil contains medium-chain triglyceride fats. When it comes to triglycerides, the shorter the chain of fats, the quicker the body is able to break them down.

A review of scientific evidence in 2015 found that medium-chain triglycerides are more useful for weight loss as compared to long-chain triglycerides. Long-chain fats are found in most fats and oils.(4) However, the research team concluded that there is a lack of research to help determine whether MCTs are effective and safe to be used as a food supplement.

Drawbacks of Bulletproof Coffee

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), people should restrict the intake of saturated fat, and only five to six percent of their total calories should come from saturated fat. This comes to around 13 grams of saturated fat per day.(5)

Data from the United States Department of Agriculture shows that one tablespoon of unsalted butter contains roughly seven grams of saturated fatty acids.(6) Since a cup of bulletproof coffee contains two tablespoons of butter, this means that it contains 14 grams of saturated fatty acids. This is much more than the daily recommendations of the American Heart Association.

Consuming large amounts of saturated fat increases cholesterol levels in the blood. High cholesterol levels increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.(7)

The supporters of bulletproof coffee claim that this coffee should take the place of your breakfast each morning. Although bulletproof coffee is rich in fat, which helps decrease your appetite and also boosts your energy level, it still lacks in other essential nutrients.

When you drink bulletproof coffee, you end up replacing a nutritious and well-balanced meal with a poor substitute.

The grass-fed butter contains some amount of butyrate, vitamins A and K2, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), at the same time, this is a medium-chain triglyceride that is refined and highly processed fat that contains almost no nutrients.

If you typically consume three meals a day, and you replace your breakfast with bulletproof coffee, this is going to decrease your overall total nutrient intake by one-third.

This significantly reduces the total nutrient load of your daily diet.

Conclusion: Should You Drink Bulletproof Coffee?

Bulletproof coffee can be useful for some people, especially those who are following a ketogenic diet and who do not have high levels of cholesterol.

However, bulletproof coffee should only be had regularly if you are having a healthy diet. It may then help you lose weight and also boost your energy levels.

If you find that having a cup of bulletproof coffee in the morning helps improve your quality of life and overall well-being, then it can be worth trying this coffee despite the reduced nutrient load.

However, make sure that if you are drinking bulletproof coffee regularly, you also have your blood markers routinely tested to make sure that you are not at an increased risk of heart disease and other chronic health conditions.

References:

  1. Asprey, D., 2014. The bulletproof diet: Lose up to a pound a day, reclaim energy and focus, upgrade your life. Rodale Books.
  2. Poole, R., Kennedy, O.J., Roderick, P., Fallowfield, J.A., Hayes, P.C. and Parkes, J., 2017. Coffee consumption and health: umbrella review of meta-analyses of multiple health outcomes. bmj, 359.
  3. Cornelis, M.C. and El-Sohemy, A., 2007. Coffee, caffeine, and coronary heart disease. Current opinion in lipidology, 18(1), pp.13-19.
  4. Mumme, K. and Stonehouse, W., 2015. Effects of medium-chain triglycerides on weight loss and body composition: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 115(2), pp.249-263.
  5. www.heart.org. 2020. Saturated Fat. [online] Available at: <https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/fats/saturated-fats> [Accessed 16 March 2020].
  6. 2020. [online] Available at: <https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/01145? [Accessed 16 March 2020].
  7. Manolio, T.A., Pearson, T.A., Wenger, N.K., Barrett-Connor, E., Payne, G.H. and Harlan, W.R., 1992. Cholesterol and heart disease in older persons and women review of an NHLBI workshop. Annals of epidemiology, 2(1-2), pp.161-176.

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