Chances are, you've heard of and probably seen Bulletproof coffee. In person, in cafes, and most recently, all over your Instagram feed. It's popular in the health world and the subject of many artsy food photos and social media posts lately. What's the deal with it? Is it actually good for you? What's all the fuss about? Let's get into it!
What Is It?
Bulletproof coffee is frothy, oily, fatty coffee. It's essentially putting oil and fat (in the form of grass-fed butter, typically) in your coffee. And although it's currently quite trendy, the truth is that some cultures have been doing this for centuries. Spiced butter coffee is a longstanding Ethiopian tradition! Dave Asprey, the founder and CEO of Bulletproof, found out about putting butter in coffee from his travels in Tibet, where he tried "yak butter tea."
Why Is Everyone Obsessed With It?
Because of the benefits of healthy fats, really. The MCT oil — medium-chain triglycerides — plus the high omega-3 content can create a satisfying and nourishing combo, and people are losing crazy amounts of weight. Because MCTs are metabolised quickly in the liver, they're used as fuel before being stored as body fat.
- Weight loss
- Suppressed appetite (thanks to feeling full from the fats)
- Improved brain function and mental clarity
- More energy, less fatigue
- Anti-inflammatory benefits (from omega-3s), including better gut health
- Improved mood (also from omega-3s)
Is It Actually Good For You?
With a higher calorie count than a tall Frappuccino at Starbucks and an exceptionally high fat content, this is a polarizing subject — just as the keto diet is a hotly contested health trend as well.
Dave Asprey is an obvious advocate of incorporating healthy fat into your diet. "For decades, we've been bombarded with one of the most pervasive myths in nutrition and marketing — that fat is bad," Asprey said in a post he wrote for POPSUGAR. "Fortunately, modern science shows us that the right fats make us strong, lean, and vibrant. Fat is the foundation of the Bulletproof lifestyle based on years of research. I've learned which fats turn off cravings, fuel the brain, and support our hormones and overall well being to kick ass every day."
Asprey lost 45 kilos by swapping breakfast for Bulletproof coffee . . . so something is working for him.
Health mogul and naturopath Dr. Andrew Weil says this buttery coffee is "a worthwhile experiment for the sake of both taste and health if you are inclined to try it." He recommends using fats in moderation as part of an anti-inflammatory diet, saying "blending a tablespoon or so of high-quality, unsalted, organic butter into your morning coffee or tea is unlikely to do you any harm."
Some registered dietitians beg to differ. "There's all this commotion about [these drinks] because a celebrity or blogger endorses it, but the reality is, saturated fats still — from a supported, evidence-based perspective — have a negative impact on your health, especially your heart and weight," said Lisa Eberly, RD, MPH. "Plus, drinking your calories is a great way to gain weight and slow your metabolism. I have had tons of clients come to me [drinking this kind of coffee] whose hearts look like an obese elderly person's."
Registered dietitian Lori Zanini, CDE, simply says to consider your macros — how are you getting your sources of protein and carbohydrates? "I think the consideration with bulletproof coffee is to understand it is not nutritionally complete; it does not contain protein or carbs, so cannot be a stand-alone breakfast."
How Do You Make It?
The recipe is simple but calls for some ingredients you may not have laying around. If you're following the brand's own Bulletproof coffee recipe, you'll need grass-fed butter, Bulletproof "clean" coffee beans, and "Brain Octane" MCT oil.
You blend your hot coffee, butter, and oil in a blender, and that's it! Blend up a hot, frothy cup of joe (some people are even using collagen in their coffee, too), and you're good to go. If you don't have MCT oil, you can alternatively use coconut oil. If you don't have Bulletproof beans, try using organic beans and using a french press — it's what the site itself recommends!