What is bulletproof coffee? Why do you drink it? Super Staffer Rosie combined her intermittent fasting regime with this keto go-to beverage to see what all the fuss was about. This is what happened!
Coffee is my spirit animal. But I decided to play the guinea pig and reconsider my usual skim latte with two stevias for a week in the interest of trying new things and, basically, to see what all the fuss is about.
What Is Bulletproof Coffee?
Bulletproof coffee was originally created by entrepreneur and businessman Dave Asprey, aka The Bulletproof Executive, but it’s fairly mainstream now. You’ll find it in a lot of progressive cafes and there are loads of different recipes available online. Most contain coffee made from high quality, low-toxin coffee beans, either coconut oil or some other kind of medium chain triglyceride oil (aka MCT oil), and grass-fed butter or ghee.
Why Do You Drink It?
Firstly, let me just say: I love coffee and I can’t go without it, even on a fasting day. I’ve tried black coffee but I don’t like the taste, so bulletproof coffee appealed to me for a few reasons:
- Although it’s technically ‘breaking the fast’ because you’re still consuming calories, it doesn’t spike your blood sugar levels like coffee with milk.
- It’s an ideal partner to intermittent fasting, especially the part-day fast, because if you can keep your 16-hour fasting window free of insulin spiking ingredients, you’re more likely to enter ketosis (or ‘fat burning mode’).
- It gives you a big energy boost that’s also a good slow burn
- A lot of people who love it also say it helps them feel fuller for longer
- It’s ketogenic-friendly because you’re only consuming black coffee, fat-rich oil and butter.
How to make Bulletproof coffee
I swapped my usual twice daily skim milk lattes with stevia for bulletproof coffee for a week. I like strong coffee, so brewed two tablespoons of Toby’s Estate El Futuro Espresso Roast ground coffee (enough for a large mug), then combined it with just over half a tablespoon of Melrose Give Me a Kick Start MCT oil (which contains 100% MCTs derived from coconut oil) and half a tablespoon of Sweet & Delicate Unsalted Organic grass-fed butter, and blended it in my Nutribullet. I usually use fairly cheap coffee, so I figured anything else was a step up. A lot of people invest in fancy high quality, low-toxin coffee, but I had trouble finding anything specifically called ‘low-toxin’ available in my area, so I used organic coffee instead.
Tips for BulletProof Coffee
- Opt for Unsalted: salty coffee is no-good. Read the packet to make sure you buy unsalted butter!
- Blend, Don’t Stir: you can’t just stir MCT oil and butter into your coffee – trust me, it’s gross. You have to blend it to get the creamy texture
- Get It While It’s Hot: don’t let it go cold, it’s nowhere near as nice
- Start Low & Go Slow: don’t add too much MCT oil or butter to start with. I put more than a tablespoon in my first mug and it made me feel a bit sick. Start with half a tablespoon and build up from there.
What I Liked
- It was creamy, slightly sweet and much more delicious than I thought it would be
- I didn’t get the usual jittery, slightly anxious feeling than generally accompanies my morning coffee
- Instead, I felt energised and focused, but kind of relaxed
- Even though it took me longer to make because I had more energy more quickly, I still seemed to get out the door earlier
- It put me in a really good mood
- It made my 16-hour fasting window a breeze
- It also made my end-of-the-day workout a lot easier, and I found I could push harder for longer
What I Didn’t Like
- The blender noise at 5:02 am bugged my still-sleeping partner no-end
- It was more effort than regular coffee, and sometimes it all seemed too hard
- The ingredients were expensive to buy straight-out (but they do last a while and make plenty of cups)
- Keto-friendly, non-insulin spiking benefits aside, it’s still pretty calorific at around 210 calories per cup.
How Does Bulletproof Coffee Work?
Ok, let’s get nerdy! Basically, oils and fats can either contain long, medium or short chains – a lot contain a mixture of all three. Long chain fatty acids (or LCFAs) contain between 13-21 carbon chains, medium chain (or MCTs) between 6-12 and short chain (or SCFA) contain 6 or fewer. The difference between these is in how your body processes them.
Long chain fatty acids are processed via the digestive tract, lymphatic and circulatory systems, require the production of extra chemicals in order to convert them into energy and are more likely to be stored as body fat. MCTs and SCFAs, however, provide immediate energy because they can cross the double mitochondrial membrane and don’t rely upon the digestive tract for absorption. This process also stimulates the production of ketones, which give you immediate energy, and are great for your brain.
Grass-fed butter is high in butyrate, which is a short-chain fatty acid that’s great for energy and for your gut health. Butyrate also has anti-inflammatory properties. It’s also high in Omega-3s, antioxidants, and fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E and K.
So, Would I Recommend Bulletproof Coffee?
Coffee is a pretty personal thing. So, while I can’t promise that everyone will love it, I’d definitely say it’s worth a try. Especially for those who find themselves lacking energy or getting hungry while intermittent fasting. Probably not for the 2-Day Method (aka 5:2) as it would soak up a lot of your 500 calories. But for the 3-Day Method, where your calorie allowance is 1000 per day, I’d say it’s worth considering. And for the Part-Day Method (aka 16:8) – which is my personal favourite – where you’ve got a much more generous calorie allowance of 1600… heck yes!