The world remains divided since the advent of the bulletproof coffee. Massive followers claim it’s basically a healthier twist to the good ol’ cup of Joe.
This trend also garnered quite a handful of detractors, asserting that it’ll only make your weight gain dilemma and cholesterol levels worse.
What’s with all the love-hate controversy anyway? What is the real deal?
If you’ve been drinking yet still bothered by the contradicting opinions, or if you’re someone who’s curious and wants to try it out, then this article is just for you. It’s undoubtedly great to try out new things, but before you take a sip, it’s wise to know the different – opposing, rather – sides of this deliciously scandalous drink.
Bulletproof Coffee: Breaking It Down
It’s just de rigueur to present to you the ingredients used to make a cup of bulletproof java.
According to Paleo Hacks, this type of coffee is more of a recipe than a brand. Widely known for its weight loss wonders, bulletproof is a combination of the following:
- high-quality coffee
- grass-fed butter and
- medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil
Blend them all together and you get one big energy pack in a single cup. It’s also said to perk up your brain, especially when you woke up groggy. So basically, it’s coffee’s stimulating prowess taken to a whole new level.
This recipe hit the headlines thanks to its catchy name and founder Dave Asprey.
According to his website Bulletproof, Asprey said to have upgraded his brain, lifted his IQ by 20 points, lowered his biological age and learned to sleep more efficiently in less time. Furthermore, he claimed to have lost 100 pounds “without counting calories or excessive exercise.”
Aside from being a self-confessed “biohacker,” he’s an author and a Silicon Valley investor and technology entrepreneur.
This seemingly powerful elixir isn’t the first of its kind as it’s an age-old tradition in certain countries in Asia and Africa. It’s otherwise known as “butter coffee” before the “brand” took the world by storm.
According to nutritionist and consultant Marisa Moore, the Sherpas of Nepal and the Kashmirs of northern India have been sipping similar brews for centuries. She shares this and more in her article Tradition Turned Trendy: Exploring the Origins of Butter Beverages.
She further enumerates that the Gurage natives of Ethiopia customarily add butter, honey and salt to their coffee. The chon coffee beans in Vietnam are sautéed with butter, salt and sugar. It’s also not unusual in Singapore to sauté coffee beans with butter and spices before grinding.
Perhaps the most popular among these is the po cha or the Tibetan butter tea. Made from churned fermented black tea with yak butter, po cha is of Ayurvedic origins, says Moore. This drink is specially made for the people living in high-altitude areas.
The polyphenol compounds in the tea serve as a defense to stress brought about by living in high-altitude areas. The 2.5% conjugated linoleic acid in the yak butter has been shown to have anti-carcinogenic properties, may reduce hunger, decrease body fat mass and increase lean body mass.
Essentially, the po cha keeps the Tibetans energized, hydrated and fueled for farming and pilgrimage, says Moore.
Aside from helping people attain a long and healthy life, the coffee drink has a reputation of being a part of a weight loss plan.
Used as a substitute for breakfast, people would definitely lose weight because they can get through hours without eating anything. Furthermore, it’s combined with diet trends like the Paleo, ketogenic diet and intermittent fasting.
According to Grill Girl, the Bulletproof Diet developed by Dave Asprey is actually a “hybrid,” taking some concepts of Paleo and Ketogenic diets.
Eating healthy saturated fats is the core concept of the Bulletproof, with an emphasis on the source of the fats and food you consume. This is frequently done with intermittent fasting as well. This type of fasting aims for about only two meals a day, so the drink is a perfect alternative to a full meal.
The Good Points
Now let’s take a look at the benefits of the bulletproof coffee trend.
It’s rather unnecessary to enumerate the benefits of coffee. However, coffee is just as divisive as many studies get contradicting results on its various effects.
What makes bulletproof different compared to the ordinary coffee is that it doesn’t cause any jittering. With a moderate amount of consumption a day, coffee is nonetheless beneficial, especially to keeping people’s mental condition healthy.
Added to that is the butter from grass-fed cows which are arguably healthier than conventionally-raised ones.
The medium-chain triglyceride oil component, specifically the Brain Octane oil, is a dose of brain-boosting agent that enhances your mental function through efficient fat-burning process.
The Brain Octane oil is developed by Asprey’s company, which according to him, is four times more effective than coconut oil in raising ketones. This is also responsible for the suppression of hunger and fuels the body and brain with ketones.
The Not-So-Good Points About Bulletproof Coffee
At the other side of the coin lie the issues that continue to lurk around the BPC.
The main concern of many people is perhaps the probability of being undernourished. When people drink two to three cups, they’re suppressing their hunger even further which would ultimately lead to nutrient deficiency. If – and only if – you love that hunger-free feeling and then make it as a meal replacement, you’re depriving your body of the vitamins and minerals you’ll get in other foods.
In addition, the drink is not as nutrient-dense as it may sound.
According to Nutrition Advance, an ordinary recipe of BPC contains “zero carbohydrates, virtually no protein and a significant amount of dietary fat.” As for its micronutrient profile, the “standout nutrients are vitamins A and B2” with 10% and 11% of their Daily Value (DV). The rest of the nutrients are of insignificant qualities.
According to Paleo Hacks, MCT oil is manufactured by machine to separate the medium chain fatty acids from the rest of the oil. The more concentrated, the more effective the oils would be.
However, many experts would say that it still depends on your needs and intentions for the consumption. If it’s plainly for weight loss, then the concentrated version is better. Nevertheless, whole food sources of medium-chain triglyceride oils (MCT) have extra benefits than pure MCT oil can’t provide.
The Final Bout
As you can see, the ins and outs in the bulletproof coffee arena are downright tricky and complex. The two sides repel each other yet are both noteworthy to consider altogether.
Can we get away with enjoying a few cups with the detrimental effects? YES. We could always maneuver our way through the conflicting sides unscathed if we exercise self-discipline and balance.
An ordinary recipe of a cup of bulletproof coffee contains a total of 328 calories, while others can go up to 450. An active 31-35-year-old needs about 2,200 for women and 3,000 for men.
Relying on your three cups of BPC can’t suffice your body’s total requisite. It’s still advisable to consume other foods to make up the total amount of calorie to keep you running and your body functioning properly.
Just to note, though. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration considers food with 450 or more calories per serving is high.
Saturated fats when consumed in moderate to the recommended limit, is fine and is important for a healthy metabolism.
According to Live Strong, a 2,000-calorie diet needs about 44 grams to 77 grams of total fat intake a day. Less than 7% of the total fat should come from saturated fat, based on the US FDA’s recommended daily macro-nutrient requirements. As for trans-fat, it should range not higher than 2g.
Contrary to what we were told over the years, cholesterol isn’t as dangerous as it previously deemed to be.
In fact, the 2015 report of the US Department of Health’s Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee claims that “cholesterol is not a nutrient of concern for overconsumption.”
However, oxidized LDL will still harm your body as the particles they contain obstruct the arteries. Thus, it’s still imperative to consume healthy cholesterols from quality sources.
As you take a sip…
Moderation is still key to keep the body in equilibrium. While this is virtually impossible to achieve, setting limits and adhering to the healthy amounts health experts set can take you a long way.
Being mindful of your food consumption and of this controversial java will definitely let you live longer, and that means more cups of Joe to enjoy!
Have you tried bulletproof coffee?
About The Author
This is a guest post by Abigail Sabijon, a health and fitness enthusiast and the managing editor of Scoopfed. Before setting foot the blogging sphere, she roamed around the realm of teaching while making a difference whenever she could.