The Bulletproof Coffee Trend

What is it? Created by Dave Asprey (a technology entrepreneur and businessmen) Bulletproof Coffee, which contains three ingredients: unsalted grass-fed butter, Brain Octane oil (extracted from coconut and palm kernels), and coffee made with mold-free, lab-tested beans, has health claims that include curbing hunger, burning more fat, weight loss, and optimizing brain function.

Asprey Claims: The fat content of the concoction turns off hunger cravings The fat content of the concoction could definitely turn off hunger cravings and act as an appetite suppression due to contributing roughly 450 calories into your morning cup of joe with 100% of those calories coming from fat. A normal cup of coffee with 1-2 tbsp of creamer contains about 55 calories for comparison. I don’t know about you guys but I would prefer to eat a slice of whole grain toast topped with avocado + a boiled egg for less than 500 calories versus drinking butter in my coffee, plus I would get a variety of nutrients in that breakfast versus solely fat. I would never encourage my patients to miss out on hearty breakfast that includes fiber and beneficial nutrients in replacement for buttery coffee.
Asprey Claims: “Saturated fat is a stable fat that your body needs to create proper cell membranes and hormones.” Saturated fats do indeed have many important roles in the body. Some of these include regulating hormones and the expression of genes, acting as cell messengers, and providing immune functions. The American Heart Association Recommends consuming less than 7% of your dietary calories from saturated fat for good cardiovascular health. Consuming one cup of bulletproof coffee contains 14% saturated fat without the addition of any other significant nutrients. Due to conflicting research emerging on the health benefits of saturated fat, RD’s are encouraged to focus on the overall dietary pattern for health and not just focusing on one nutrient being the answer or one nutrient causing all the problems. With this in mind, consuming twice the recommended amounts of saturated fat intake all at one time versus spreading throughout the day is properly not the most balanced diet. Don’t forget, there are still plenty of credible research articles showing saturated fat being linked to heart disease and more research needed to dispel those claims at this time.
Asprey Claims: Including this concoction in the morning will aid in weight loss. Eating breakfast is proven to help your brain function better, increase your attention span, and concentration so consuming these calories in the morning will help to boost your alertness but you are including 450 calories in your diet solely from your cup of coffee so unless you are cutting back on 450 calories in other areas of your diet this will not contribute to weight loss.
Asprey Claims: MCT oil helps the body burn more fat and helps you feel more full and satisfied than when you consume other types of fat. The jury is still out on MCT oil. Medium-Chain-Triglycerides are absorbed  more efficiently than other fats including vegetable or olive oils.A review of 25 clinical studies concluded that MCT oil consumption may lead to enhanced diet-induced thermogenesis and fat oxidation and also preserve insulin sensitivity in participants with Type 2 diabetes. However, excessive consumption could cause weight gain, especially if consumed in addition to the regular diet, rather than as a replacement.The current research still states that “the use of MCT oil should not replace dietary and lifestyle interventions for blood lipid, weight management or diabetic needs, particularly given current limitations in research.”

In summary, I am sure that consuming bulletproof coffee will definitely keep you fuller longer than regular coffee due to its increased fat and calorie content but as a dietitian I would choose a more balanced, nutritious breakfast that contains beneficial probiotics and fiber. I do not believe that this is a one stop wonder drink and I don’t think the key to weight loss is butter and coffee. Bulletproof coffee is another fad diet that claims to be a magic health food that will cure all. Proper health and nutrition is achieved by a balanced diet that includes all nutrients in moderation. All nutrients contain some harmful effects if consumed in excess, so just like a lot of carbohydrates at one time could cause hyperglycemia, or a large amount of protein at one time could potentially damage your kidneys, a large amount of fat at one time could cause health implications including weight gain. If you have any health related issues or take medications, I would recommend speaking with your MD prior to starting on any new diet including the bulletproof coffee trend. Lastly, I am excited to see new research coming out on saturated fat and I will be the first to let you guys know if there is enough evidence based research to support more saturated fat in your diet!

Side Note: I am not disputing claims about coffee providing health benefits, I love love love my coffee and it does have research based health claims that you can learn more about on my blog post : Why I Switched From Coffee to Tea

Let me know if any other fad diets or current trends that you would like a research based outlook on!

Cinthia Scott, RD (Registered Dietitian), LD, CNSC

Tea is Always a Good Idea

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