What is Bulletproof Coffee?
Nutrition Blog

What is Bulletproof Coffee?

If you haven’t heard of bulletproof coffee, then you probably will soon. It’s a popular trend, especially among those who subscribe to certain diets such as ketogenic and paleo. It is often consumed instead of or as breakfast. Solid nutrition research does not exist about bulletproof coffee, so I’m here to tell you what I know to be the good and bad about it.

What is Bulletproof Coffee? Most recipes include brewed coffee (low-toxicity beans) + unsalted, grass-fed butter + Medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil. Some recipes use coconut oil instead of pure MCT oil because it has a high ratio of MCT.

The Good:

  • MCT oil is processed differently in our body than other fats. It travels directly to the liver and is processed into powerful energy particles called ketone bodies. People who drink bulletproof coffee swear by it, in terms of having lots of energy for a long time.
  • Grassfed butter contains more of the fatty acid CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), Omega-3 fatty acid and Vitamin K than grain-fed butter.
    • Its high levels of Omega 3 fats may help you hang on to the caffeine energy longer.
  • If doing ketogenic or paleo diet, a specific ratio of “macros” (shortened version of word macronutrients à fat : protein : carbohydrates) is typically prescribed. These 2 diets tend to be higher in fat, moderate in protein, and low/very low in carbohydrates. Drinking bulletproof coffee is a simple way to help reach the “macro” goal.

The Bad:

  • Consuming large amounts of butter and coconut oil is concerning because of their high levels of saturated fat, which is known to be linked to weight gain and poor heart/vascular health. Saturated fat has its place, and small amount can be fine, but large quantities are worrisome.
    • If on a ketogenic diet this isn’t as concerning because a different metabolic process is happening in the body. But if eating medium/moderate/large amounts of carbohydrates, bulletproof coffee may be a recipe for disaster.
  • A highly nutritious meal (breakfast) is being displaced by something that is low in essential nutrients. In a breakfast composed only of fat, you will miss out on nutrients such as protein, fiber, and lots of vitamin and minerals.

My take: For most people, bulletproof coffee isn’t the answer. A balanced breakfast is the answer. For those on the Ketogenic diet, this might be a great way to meet your macros….and lose weight.

How do I feel about the ketogenic diet? Solid research-based evidence to support this diet doesn’t yet exist. However, it is a fact that it can help people shed pounds, and fast. But I’m not a big fan of the ketogenic diet because for most people it isn’t a sustainable lifestyle eating pattern. Most people love carbs. So, when the cravings kick in, the carbs are eaten, and the weight comes back. This is usually very disheartening for the dieter. I remain an advocate of balance, variety, and moderation!