Cool post from Mike Kesthely at Dynamic Nutrition
The Scoop on “BulletProof Coffee”
You’ve probably heard the term used to describe the combination of coffee, butter, and coconut oil—aka BP coffee. The most well known proponent of this is by Dave Asprey, former silicon valley tech dude-turned bio-hacker (but non-athlete). That said, folks have been putting coconut milk (along with some MCTs, or medium chain triglycerides) in their coffee for years. Asprey’s combo actually calls for grass-fed butter and concentrated MCTs (caprylic & capric acid), but many folks sub straight coconut oil.
The claim to fame is that it will lean you out, boost your energy, create mental clarity, and keep hunger at bay all day. But what does it really do???
It’s designed to be used along with IF (Intermittent fasting). That’s key. Also, it’s designed (by way of marketing) to be used in non-athletes. Think of it like this: Fat dude, pushing a desk, poor diet, doesn’t train. If, all of a sudden, you:
1) Take away a poor quality, high processed carbohydrate breakfast
2) Add caffeine
3) Add quality fats
What happens? Lowered caloric intake, increase good fats for hormone creation, increase metabolic rate, increase morning cognition (caffeine + cortisol from fasting)…. weight starts to come off, energy normalizes, and one can think straight.
That’s the magic in bulletproof coffee—fasting (increase in cortisol) plus caffeine, along w/ fatty acids to prolong ketosis from the night. Also, caffeine is lipophyllic; that is, it likes fat. Fat is readily absorbed lymphatically, so some of it bypasses the liver and heads straight to our systemic circulation. BAM, caffeine bolus straight to the brain. That’s another reason why people orgasm over BP coffee.
The Bad: Folks that add it to a normal diet. 1 tbsp coconut oil and 1 tbsp butter is 220 kcal, 25g fat. Not a big amount, but have 2 BP coffees in the AM, and you’ve added 440kcal, 50g fat. For some folks, this adds calories they don’t need. Their main goal is leaning out, and they wonder why the magic of BP coffee isn’t working.
The “Ok”:Folks that are training regularly. If the energy expenditure is there, and goals are performance based, there’s no problem adding this mixture to your intake. Just don’t expect magical things—it’s just added (quality) fats.
The Really Bad: Performance based athletes that cut out whole food and replace with BP coffee. Lowered caloric intake + carbohydrate depletion coupled with performance-based training = WAY too much cortisol secretion. It’s a highly efficient way of breaking the machine. While protocols do exist to stack a ketogenic diet w/ strength based or low intensity aerobic training, one has to keep in mind where the idea of BP coffee came from: a non-athlete with limited daily caloric expenditure.
I personally think it messes up good, strong, black coffee, but that’s just the coffee snob in me.