Bulletproof Coffee: WTF is It & Should You Drink It?
Golden milk. Kombucha. ACV & LJ. Every time you turn around, it seems there's something else you need to be drinking or eating or doing to live healthier. It's good — keeping on-top of new health and fitness trends that can bolster our well-being is always good. But, it's also exhausting. Not all of these trends legitimately deliver on their promises, and even when they do, some may not deliver much. Of course, there are those that do, but rifling through the mound of crap claims to do this can be a full-time job. It is a full-time job.
It's our full-time job.
That's why, when we first started getting questions about bulletproof coffee — one of the newest (or relatively newer) nutrition trends — we decided to do our due-diligence and look into it ourselves.
What is Bulletproof Coffee?
Bulletproof coffee is coffee with butter and MCT oil (medium-chain triglyceride; usually extracted from coconut) added. The standard recipe is 1 cup hot coffee, 2 tbsp grass-fed butter and 1 tbsp MCT oil, or, in a pinch, coconut oil.
Champions of bulletproof coffee claim that it can help facilitate weight loss since the hefty dose of fats in the drink will keep you satiated longer, immediately bolster energy, increase focus and help drinkers avoid a mid-afternoon energy slump.
We tried it out for a couple of weeks, and we’re not going to lie: it tastes pretty good. It tastes pretty damn good. There’s also no doubt that it is worthy of its short-term energy enhancing reputation. This said, a cup of black coffee will do the same thing.
So what about the other claims? The weight loss. The increased focus. The reduction in hunger and staying off of 2PM energy lulls. Is there any truth to that?
We didn’t notice any marked change in our weight, focus, hunger or long-term energy levels. But sure, there’s a chance it could work for you. It depends on the rest of your diet.
Here’s the thing: studies have shown that coffee can increase energy, fat burn and exercise performance. And studies have shown that fats — especially healthy fats like those of coconut oil — can help you lose weight and keep you full, longer. But when answering the question of whether drinking bulletproof coffee will definitely help you lose weight and increase your energy and your focus, there is no concrete answer other than the one we already gave: It could.
Then again, it could make you gain weight. Bulletproof coffee is meant to be enjoyed as breakfast, not with breakfast. The combination of MCT oil and butter makes for a lot of fat (together, over your daily recommended intake of saturated fat) and unless you count this fat and these calories toward your daily intake, you could pile on the pounds. What’s more, bulletproof coffee was meant to be consumed as part of a low carb diet, where carbs make up as little as 5% of your daily macros. So, if you’re not eating strict paleo or keto and you drink this concoction every AM, don’t be surprised if your jeans start to get snug. If you're going to start adding more fat to your diet — good or bad — you need to be eating very little in terms of carbohydrates.
(Interested in trying a low-carb diet? Check out our Low-Carb Lifestyle Guide & Recipe Book!)
Another thing: bulletproof coffee is not for the faint of heart. If you have high blood pressure or heart disease, it will probably do more harm than good thanks to the hefty helping of saturated fat in the butter and MCT, which could increase your cholesterol levels.
And the MCT oil: it can cause upset stomach, thanks to its laxative properties. Combine that with the coffee, and sure, you will likely lose weight quite quickly — but it won’t be fat.
We’re not saying not to try it out: just to do so with a full sense of what to expect. Don’t expect to be able to down your bulletproof coffee with a blueberry scone from Starbucks and lose weight. Or even a piece of whole grain toast. Don’t expect it to give you more benefits than drinking a cuppa black java and having some scrambled eggs cooked in a little coconut oil. You can, however, expect a rich, creamy taste and to stay closer to satiated until lunch time. So if you can fit bulletproof coffee into your clean diet and want to give it a whirl, then go for it. Let us know what you think!
Melissa and Toni, couldn’t agree more!
I agree that you need to be doing keto to drink this version of coffee and lose weight, where your body has turned to burning fat as the main fuel source. This means keeping carbs very minimal, which varies per person but in my experience for me to stay in ketosis, I had to have an extremely LOW amount of carbs, almost an impossible level (I tracked my ketone levels with urine sticks and a blood meter). Keto did work for weight loss for me initially but it was very hard to sustain the diet and I ended up gaining weight over the long term. If you decide to add this to your diet, I would suggest making sure you measure everything closely and log it for tracking your calories and macros.
I also recently tried bulletproof coffee again not on keto but using it during intermittent fasting, which was recommended on some nutrition blogs. I would NOT do this again, bulletproof coffee ends the fast and adds a hefty dose of fat to your diet. I gained weight over the 2 weeks I did this and the calories take you out of the fasting state, regardless of what people claim.
These articles are great, by the way, keep it up!
I love these articles. Your so witty and honest!
Keep up the good work!
I currently do the bullet proof coffee for breakfast. My holistic nutritionist recommended it but she doesn’t have me use as much butter. Originally I did it with no butter but was so hungry an hour later she had me add some butter. When I remember I also add the collagen protein. i do a lot in the morning. After coffee I walk the dog, do some weights. I have the coffee at 5:30, walk the dogs 1.5 miles at a clip and by the time I go to leave for work at 8:30 I am starving so i have some oatmeal to hold me till lunch. I lost very little weight using it and will continue to use it because without it my weight was going up, up, up. They do sell it now at whole foods which makes it cheaper than buying on-line and paying shipping and sometimes it is on sale at whole foods.