Okay, so admittedly, this post is way overdue. And maybe it’s a little irrelevant at this point. Do people still drink bulletproof coffee? Regardless, it’s another health and wellness trend that made us go “WTF?”, so we’re here to talk about it!
I personally heard about bulletproof coffee for the first time a little over a year ago, when I was in the middle of my first Whole30. I was struggling with the whole drinking-my-coffee-black thing at first, since I hadn’t fully made the switch to non-dairy milks yet, so when I heard about bulletproof coffee, I was intrigued. Creamy, latté-esque coffee without milk? Yes, please. But what actually is bulletproof coffee? And is it really good for you?
What is bulletproof coffee?
Also known as butter coffee or Keto coffee, bulletproof coffee is coffee blended with oil and butter. But not just any oil and butter—medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil and grass-fed, unsalted butter or ghee. We’ll explain what these ingredients are and why they’re important below.
It’s important to note that, due to a rather high calorie count, bulletproof coffee is meant to be a meal replacement. It is not meant to supplement breakfast, like regular coffee—it is breakfast.
According to the Bulletproof blog, starting your day with fat for fuel will give you lasting energy throughout the day, whereas a carb-heavy breakfast like oats, granola, toast, or fruit will cause your blood sugar to spike and then crash later in the morning.
P.S. The Keto diet is a whole other topic we owe a WTF post to. Quite frankly, we still can’t wrap our heads around it. Maybe someday…
What are the potential health benefits of bulletproof coffee?
Simply put, bulletproof coffee claims to boost energy, metabolism, and brain function. Wait… doesn’t regular coffee do that too? Let’s break down the ingredients of bulletproof coffee to fully understand the claims of this “high-performance drink”.
As mentioned above, coffee has been proven to increase brain function, energy, and focus, as well as burn fat by boosting your metabolic rate. Coffee also contains several important nutrients, including riboflavin, pantothenic acid, manganese, potassium, magnesium and niacin. Yay, coffee.
Now, onto MCT oil. MCT stands for “medium-chain triglycerides” or “medium-chain fatty acids.” Producing MCT oil involves extracting and isolating the MCTs from coconut (or palm kernel) oil. The main difference between MCT oil and coconut oil is their MCT content. Coconut oil usually contains around 55% MCTs, while MCT oil is supposed to be 100% MCTs. Unlike coconut oil, MCT oil is colorless, odorless, and stays liquid at room temperature, making it ideal for blending into beverages.
There are many proven health benefits of MCT oil, but the primary benefits bulletproof coffee focuses on are a) weight loss and b) brain energy. MCT oil releases two hormones (peptide YY and leptin) that promote the feeling of fullness in the body, therefore, suppressing hunger and contributing to weight loss. MCTs are easily transported throughout the body without needing to be broken down, so they can be used as an immediate source of energy for your brain cells.
Grass-fed butter or ghee does more than just make bulletproof coffee ridiculously creamy. Good quality, grass-fed butter contains healthy fats and essential nutrients, like omega-3 fatty acids, beta-carotene, fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K, CLA, and antioxidants. Grass-fed butter is also high in butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid that can both prevent and decrease inflammation.
How do I make bulletproof coffee?
There are literally a ton of bulletproof coffee recipes out there, but if we’re going by what Bulletproof says: brew 1 cup of coffee, then blend it with 1 tsp to 2 tbsp MCT oil and 1-2 tbsp grass-fed, unsalted butter or ghee for about 20-30 seconds, until emulsified and frothy.
So, is it healthy?
The verdict on this is (*shocker*) very controversial. The opinion that makes the most sense to us, however, is that by replacing one of your meals with bulletproof coffee, you’re missing out on a more nutrient-dense meal you could be having for breakfast. Or, if you’re like me one year ago, you could end up eating breakfast in addition to drinking your bulletproof coffee, effectively doubling (or tripling) your typical breakfast caloric intake. Whoops.
It’s not that any of the individual ingredients in bulletproof coffee are unhealthy or bad. But when you’re consuming them together in larger quantities, it could be worth questioning.
As with everything else, the answer to this is that it’s up to you to decide what works best for you and your overall health. If starting your morning with a cup of coffee + fats makes you feel better than eating breakfast does, by all means, knock yourself out! Plenty of people swear by bulletproof coffee. It’s up to you to determine if you swear by it, too.
So, have you tried bulletproof coffee? Love it or hate it? We’d love to hear about your experience!
This post is part of our WTF series—where we’ll break down some of the latest food, fitness, and health + wellness trends blowing up your Instagram feed.