Health

A Dietitian’s Take on the Bulletproof Coffee Trend

Drinking a 400-calorie cup of coffee sounds crazy, but there just might be something to it

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Forget the Master Cleanse. The latest oddball beverage trend to enthrall celebrities and tech titans alike is bulletproof coffee, according to Fast Company. “I’m convinced that [it] may very well be one of the greatest of human achievements,” tweeted superfan Shailene Woodley last year.

To make your coffee “bulletproof,”substitute cream and sugar for two to six (!) tablespoons of unsalted, grass-fed butter and one tablespoon of medium-chain triglyceride oil. You also skip breakfast, which is probably a good idea because your coffee is now clocking in at 400-plus calories.

Why, oh, why would one opt to drink a stick of butter—rather than, say, eat a bagel with a generous schmear of cream cheese—with your morning cup of caffeinated joy? To lose weight, boost brainpower and reduce cravings, says bulletproof creator Dave Asprey, a.k.a, the Bulletproof Executive. (He shows you how to make his recipe in a video accompanying the Fast Company piece.)

Asprey, who told FC that he first came upon the butter/caffeine combo while on a trip to Tibet in 2004, claims his concoction was instrumental in boosting his IQ by 20 points. It’s also boosted his bottom line: he’s launched an entire business on the recipe, selling bulletproof coffee beans and MCT oil. (The jacked-up java is just one aspect of Asprey’s overall dieatary approach. He also follows a Paleo-esque plant- and protein-based diet.)

Here’s the really weird part: there just may be something to adding butter and MCT to your coffee. “We need good quality fats, just like we need good quality protein and good quality carbohydrate calories to make for an overall well-balanced diet,” says Vancouver-based dietitian Patricia Chuey. “Healthy fats play many roles in the body. They’re involved in the production of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. They’re a key element in the cells of nerves, the brain and the spinal cord. Good quality fats also help keep hair and skin healthy.”

Add those fats to coffee and you may in fact get a beneficial chemical reaction.

“Caffeine itself from the coffee stimulates the nervous system and promotes an awake, alert state. Adding quality fat to it, may enhance that effect not by adding more alertness, but more satiety and less hunger or more of a feeling of being content,” she explains.

In Chuey’s opinion, however, there’s “way more research needed” to support these effects. Moreover, she adds that while the combo may have real benefits, it also constitute serious calories and lacks protein, fibre and many key vitamins and minerals.

That being said, she’s intrigued: “I’d definitely be up for trying it.”

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