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Is Bulletproof Coffee a Healthy Quick Fix?

Bulletproof Coffee

Bulletproof Coffee?  This topic is right up Health Haxors alley and has been a novel “water cooler” discussion from time to time.  So, let’s take a quick (scientific) look at “Upgraded Coffee” and see if it really does provide any health benefits.

Biohackers apply the hacker ethic to endeavors that involve biology. The term can also refer to enhancing one’s state of physical and mental wellness by combining nutritional supplements with each other and sometimes with electronic devices.

At the end of July 2015, Fortune.com reported that Silicon Valley-based Trinity Venture, an early investor in Starbucks, wrote a $9 million check to biohacking corporation Bulletproof Digital, best known for its Bulletproof coffee. Bulletproof’s founder and CEO Dave Asprey envisions a chain of Bulletproof cafés but for now concentrates on building the company’s maiden store in Santa Monica, Calif.

Bulletproof Coffee Santa Monica California

Bulletproof Coffee, Santa Monica, California

Asprey, a Silicon Valley investor and technology entrepreneur, explains:

“The goal is not to be the next Starbucks. The goal is to take this idea of biohacking and bring it to people in a way that they can feel it and bring it into their daily habits.”

He authored New York Times bestseller “The Bulletproof Diet” and maintains that he lost 100 pounds by practicing the techniques outlined in the book. Asprey says he was inspired to invent BPC (Bulletproof coffee) on a trip to Tibet, during which he was “rejuvenated” by a cup of yak butter tea.

Bulletproof Digital Inc. also carries a line of other products that they promise improves your life:

  • their proprietary Upgraded Coffee
  • starter kits
  • tea
  • hot chocolate
  • supplements
  • devices that allegedly promote wellness
  • t-shirts
  • and of course coffee mugs

Asprey claims that starting your day with BPC will promote weight loss, provide you with long-lasting energy and increase your I.Q.

Bulletproof Coffee begins with Bulletproof’s trademarked Upgraded Coffee beans. Brew a one-ounce cup, then add roughly a tablespoon of Brain Octane Oil (Bulletproof’s trademarked version of MCT oil) and a couple tablespoons grass-fed unsalted butter. Then you mix the concoction in a blender about half a minute until frothy. Java aficionados liken a cup of Bulletproof Coffee to a delicious latte.

Medium Chain Triglycerides MCT

Medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) are triglycerides whose fatty acids have an aliphatic tail of 6–12 carbon atoms. Rich sources for commercial extraction of beneficial MCTs include palm kernel oil and coconut oil.

Why Bulletproof Coffee?

Asprey’s biggest concern when formulating BPC was the high levels of mycotoxins that contaminate most coffee beans. He goes on to say that those mycotoxins–toxins produced by mold–“steal your mental edge and make you weak.”

Bulletproof’s Updated Coffee undergoes a “secret process” that reduces mycotoxins. Asprey boasts that Updated Coffee was “designed” to be “the lowest toxin, highest performance coffee there is.”

Bulletproof advertises Brain Octane Oil as different from conventional MCT oil in that it exclusively contains the types of fat that most effectively instigate ketosis. In short, you burn more fat when your coffee is laced with Brain Octane Oil. The folks at Bulletproof claim that the fats in their Brain Octane Oil (not to mention fats from the butter in BPC) boost energy and enhance mental focus while curbing hunger.

Cows naturally eat grass so Asprey reasoned that grass-fed cows must be healthier than grain-fed cows. He recommends that you use grass-fed unsalted butter in your BPC, calling it a “superfood” and pointing out that it contains high amounts of nutrients including vitamins K2, D and E. He also concedes that grass-fed butter is easier to come by than yak butter.

Asprey insists that skipping breakfast and instead drinking a cup of Bulletproof Coffee “reboots” your metabolism and “programs” you to burn fat all day long. But he adds:

“It will take your body a week or two to fully turn on its fat digestion systems once you switch to a diet with abundant healthy fats like the Bulletproof Diet.”

Supposedly, all that fat energizes you and satisfies your food cravings as you lose weight.

Not Everyone’s a Fan of Bulletproof Coffee

Scads of people are devoted to Bulletproof Coffee with all the zeal of cult members. Others frankly consider Asprey a con man.

Critics are quick to remind everybody that the coffee industry has been aware of mycotoxins for decades. That’s why wet-processing was developed, a technique whereby the beans are washed and almost all mycotoxins removed. Nearly every coffee roaster worldwide wet-processes their beans. One study showed that a person who drinks four cups of coffee daily harbors only 2 percent of what is considered a harmful level of mycotoxins. Physician David Bach asserts that there is:

“no evidence that supports the idea that mycotoxins make you sluggish.”

An article posted on Gizmodo.com alleges there is absolutely no difference between Brain Octane Oil and generic MTC oil. The author, Brent Rose, sampled coffee containing Brain Octane Oil and coffee spiked with generic MTC oil; he found:

“no detectable difference.”

He goes on to report that a 32 ounce bottle of Brain Octane Oil costs roughly twice as much as the same amount of regular MTC oil purchased at Whole Foods. Healthline.com acknowledges that numerous dietitians regard the boost of energy given by Bulletproof Coffee as:

“just a caffeine buzz.”

Most nutritionists recommend that your intake of fat be 25 percent of your daily diet; Bulletproof puts that number at 50 to 70 percent. A cup of Bulletproof Coffee contains 140 percent of your RDA for saturated fat. Though a cup of BPC weighs in at 460 calories plus―all from fat―your body can tell the difference between solid food and a beverage.

A cup of Bulletproof Coffee contains 140 percent of your RDA for saturated fat. @HealthHaxors

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Is Bulletproof Coffee Just a Fad?

A considerable amount of both famous and average people swear by BPC. Aspery says that that Bulletproof Digital’s revenues have increased 700 percent in the last year. But many nutritionists regard BPC with unveiled contempt. Nutritionist Maren Robinson, CNC, observes:

“To me it represents the American obsession with a quick fix to weight loss.”

Despite BPC’s legion of rabid advocates, many doctors and nutritionists find clams of the “supercharged” coffee beverage to have no basis in science. They still recommend a balanced diet to achieve and maintain good health.

So, have you tried Bulletproof Coffee?  Please share your experience with your fellow Haxors in the comments below.

Stephen Ralph
Stephen Ralph
Stephen is the Founder of Health Haxor, an active duty USAF service member, online entrepreneur and fitness buff. In between a busy schedule Stephen is an active contributor to Health Haxor and regularly posts articles related to men's health, fitness and nutrition.
Stephen Ralph
- 4 years ago
Stephen Ralph