Is buttering up your morning cup of Joe the secret to weight loss success? 

Bulletproof Coffee, a caffeine-, butter- and oil-infused concoction created by Silicon Valley entrepreneur Dave Asprey, has everyone from Hollywood health-obsessed Shailene Woodley to the Los Angeles Lakers gawking over its supposed health benefits - and the beverage has become so popular, Asprey is opening up a Bulletproof Coffee shop in Santa Monica in February. But can the frothy and fatty beverage really upgrade your IQ, enable you to reach your highest potential and help you lose weight without exercising, as Mr. Asprey claims?

"It's good for your happiness. It's good for your taste buds. It's great for your brain. Your stomach likes it, too," Woodley, 23, raved about the trendy morning pick-me-up to Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show. "It sort of supplies your body with a healthy amount of fat in the morning. Fat is so underrated! It's so good for you, healthy sources of fat!"

Asprey, a self-professed “Professional Biohacker, Entrepreneur, Investor,” explains on his website that Bulletproof was born after a hiking expedition in the Himalayan mountains, when he “staggered into a guest house from the -10 degree weather and was literally rejuvenated by a creamy cup of yak-butter tea.” He spent the next few years coming up with the following recipe: Brew one cup of coffee using filtered water and freshly ground Bulletproof Upgraded Coffee ($18.95 for ¾ pound) in a French press, and add 1 to 2 tablespoons of Brain Octane Oil ($49.95), an MCT (“medium-chain triglyceride”) oil Asprey claims is 18 times stronger than coconut oil. Finally, throw in 1 to 2 tablespoons of grass-fed, unsalted butter (like Kerrygold) or ghee and mix it all in a blender for 20 to 30 seconds until it is frothy. 

“Recent scientific evidence shows that saturated fat does not increase your risk of heart disease and that all the evidence to the contrary was based on faulty research. A high fat source is an excellent way to start your day,” Larry Kaskel, MD, Medical Director of Northwestern Wellness Center explains. “You don’t need carbohydrates in the morning and you will end up burning the fat. It will give you increased energy and alertness all morning and you will have no cravings for food until lunchtime.”

However, Kaskel, who has personally tried Bulletproof Coffee and recommends the drink to his patients who like coffee, points out that there is no need to buy Asprey’s brand of coffee or “Brain Octane,” and that any high-quality coffee blended with coconut oil and grass-fed butter will do the trick. 

Christopher Ochner, PhD, Director of Research & Administration at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and research associate at The New York Obesity Nutrition Research Center at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospitals, is more skeptical of Asprey’s “Bulletproof state of high performance.” 

“Bulletproof Coffee is not a good idea in terms of health, in addition to tasting gross. There is no magic to it, it is 100% pure gimmick but people are desperate for a quick fix so they will try anything,” maintains Ochner. “It delivers a ton of calories and saturated fat, which is no bueno. There is no reason why Bulletproof Coffee should stave off hunger or make you lose weight or any of the other claims. It's just coffee with extra fat and calories.”

Still, we’re thinking it’s healthier than a processed Cremora and half ‘n half added to your coffee.

Sources:

  1. Dave Asprey
  2. Bulletproof Coffee Recipe
  3. Larry Kaskel
  4. Christopher Ochner