Bulletproof coffee – if you haven’t tried it then I bet you have heard of it. Like many things in the nutrition world, it became quite the buzz very quickly. Bulletproofs (BP) are a rich, creamy coffee drink filled with healthy fats. Dave Asprey founded and trademarked this concoction (although it is thought that butter in coffees was used as early as the 6th century) that is hyped to be great for weight loss, intermittent fasting, reaching and maintaining ketosis and more.
What is Bulletproof Coffee?
Essentially BP coffee is black coffee with butter (organic and grass fed where possible) and MCT oil which is a highly concentrated source of medium-chain triglycerides (MCT). MCT oil is man-made through a process called fractionation which involves extracting and isolating the MCTs – mainly from coconut oil. You can do BP’s two ways – with the ‘fractionated’ type – marketed as MCT oil which has no scent or taste or use straight coconut oil (which many cafe’s do). If you use plain coconut oil it still does the trick but be mindful that it will also leave a distinct flavour, so if you are not personally a fan of coconut oil get your hands on a good quality MCT (I use True Protein MCT oil – you can get 10% off by using code BROOKE at checkout). When it comes to the butter – organic, grass fed, unsalted butter is best. You may argue that stock standard table butter is still butter right? And yes, it will still do the trick, but for optimal health benefits go for the good stuff as mentioned above.
What’s the Hype Surrounding Bulletproof Coffee?
There is a lot of it and for good reason. Bulletproof coffee can be a great addition to your healthy lifestyle but as with all things nutrition – it is very individual based and depends on a range of factors. It compliments those on high fat, low carb or keto diets due to its high fat content, but you don’t have to be following these diets to make bulletproofs your staple either.
MCT oil converts to energy very quickly so it is less likely to store as body fat. BP’s are said to fuel mental and physical performance, support fat burning and help you get into and stay in ketosis (if this is your goal). MCT’s are easily absorbed and converted in the liver to ketones which help fuel the brain and body for mental and physical performance. Ketones also allow the body to produce energy from fats rather than from sugar and carbohydrates. Other benefits include improved metabolism, regulated appetite, minimise cravings, support weight loss, stabilised gut health, increased mood and strength.
However, MCT oil’s rapid and unusual digestion also means your body can’t handle too much of it at one time. Excess MCT oil causes sudden digestive distress – it’s nothing dangerous, but it can be unpleasant, so if you haven’t incorporated MCT oil into your diet before, start small (1tsp and then work up).
Should You Try Bulletproof Coffee?
Many people drink BP coffee in place of breakfast. If you are performing intermittent fasting – some will choose to have a coffee & still claim they are fasted, when in fact they are not. As soon as your body consumes something that needs to work to metabolise (anything apart from water essentially) then you are no longer in a fasted state. If you’re getting 200-300 calories from a coffee its no different to getting those calories from a smoothie. Energy is energy. If you choose to have plain black coffee and claim you’re fasted then I’ll support this a little more. BP’s can be a great substitution for those who don’t eat until later in the day or are on the go first thing in the morning to help tie them over.
You do need to be mindful that this caffeinated concoction is high in energy – depending on the amount of butter and oil that you use. Fat yields 9 calories for every 1 gram of fat, so if you add 1 tbsp of each to your coffee that could be about 250 calories so I’d recommend having no more than one BP per day. You also need to be mindful of your fat intake throughout the course of your day.
If your normal coffee is a long black then the transition to BP’s will be a pretty easy one. If you are a milky coffee lover you might need to give BP’s a couple of goes for it to really win you over. There is no need to make the switch, but if you haven’t given them a go – why not?
How to Make Bulletproof Coffee
Bulletproof coffee is simple to make, yet you’ll see a range of varying quantities on the internet. This essentially comes down to personal taste and nutrition preferences (personally I use 1 tbsp MCT & 1/2 tbsp butter).
- Shot of coffee
- 1 tsp – 1 tbsp MCT oil
- 1tsp – 1tbsp organic, grass fed butter
- Thermomix, handheld or coffee machine milk frother
- Pour your shot of coffee as you normally would
- Add your desired amount of butter and MCT oil to the coffee shot
- Mix for 20-30 seconds until it is smooth and creamy
- Top up with hot water to desired level
The above is for using a milk frother on a coffee machine. If you are using a thermomix – make a black coffee, add MCT oil and butter and then mix. Do not use a nutribullet or any plastic blender – this will not end well (speaking from experience).
Bulletproof coffee can be great in supporting a healthy diet but be mindful of your overall fat intake, activity levels and individual goals.
Brooke Turner is a nutritionist, exercise scientist, personal trainer, writer, presenter and mother of two with over ten years’ experience in the health and fitness industry. Brooke is the founder of Balance Fitness and Nutrition () and creator of her online and face to face six week STRIVE program – the complete LIFESTYLE guide and Happy, Healthy Pregnancy eGuides. She believes in striving for a balanced approach to health and fitness and aims to inspire and empower others to see that healthy active living need not be a hindrance but a habit. You can follow her on Instagram @balancefitnessandnutrition or on Facebook.