Is Bulletproof Coffee Complete Bullshit?
Bulletproof Coffee is a popular morning cocktail for many young hustlers.
The drink, which is a mixture of coffee, fats and other health additives, reportedly has all sorts of mental and emotional benefits.
I’ve tried BP coffee many times (using grass-fed butter or coconut oil ) in the past and here’s what I found: it takes a bit of the edge off of coffee and adds a unique flavor, but that’s about it.
There are quite a few things that bulletproof coffee doesn’t do, and that’s what I’m going to address here. There comes a point in your life where you can’t let slide a constant stream of pseudo-science.
Now before I jump in, I’m not trying to piss anyone off. If you like BP coffee — great! Just don’t tell me it does this or that then get angry when 1) it doesn’t do that and 2) you don’t actually manifest any of the purported benefits.
I just want the legions of Dave Asprey fans to know: there is another option out there…
I’m by no means an expert on nutrition. At the same time, I know enough to know that a lot of nutrition based products/supplements/etc sold on the internet are bullshit.
A year or so back, I consulted with several trusted individuals about mycotoxins found in food and drink and this idea of bulletproof coffee. Without getting too in depth, I wasn’t told it was complete “bullshit”, but was told it’s a very extreme stance that Dave Asprey was taking.
I went ahead and bought some anyways. My thought….it tasted like coffee. Decent coffee, but nothing out of the ordinary. Sure, adding coconut oil, MCT oil or butter may have some positive effects, but as far as the coffee itself… I saw zero difference between it and anything else I had drank. No extra energy. No clearer thinking.
I just chalked it up to an expensive mistake.
Over the next year, to my surprise, the product blew up. Hell, I think a lot of his products blew up. I started seeing mentions of Dave’s stuff sprinkled through my daily reading (that no longer included his blog).
A month or so back, I happen to speak to a trusted expert in passing he said “I’m not sure how much longer he’ll be able to get away with some of these claims”.
Sure enough, from there on out, I started seeing rumblings here and there. Things started coming to a head when Joe Rogan “outed” bulletproof coffee on his podcast and Martin Berkman (LeanGains.com) shared his own misgivings.
Here’s the summary of these conversions:
Free Bonus: Guide to intermittent fasting
Get the quick start guide to intermittent fasting, written by James Clear. The guide is a summary of the benefits of intermittent fasting and 3 fasting schedules you can use depending on your goals. It’s a quick 5 page PDF you can save and reference later as you try this yourself.
Benefits of bulletproof coffee:
May take the edge off of coffee.
Fats seem to “mitigate” the effects of caffeine, so you feel less anxious after drinking a cup of BP coffee.
Coconut oil in your coffee tastes… different. Not necessarily better, since the flavor of quality coffee isn’t going to be enhanced by adding oil and butter.
But, for industrial coffee, adding any healthy fat is going to flavor it up. That’s about it.
Now let’s dispel a few common bulletproof coffee myths:
Things bulletproof coffee does not do
Cause you to lose weight.
Some bulletproof coffee concoctions contain everything from coconut oil to butter to cacao powder and much more. These “breakfast smoothies” have upwards of 700 calories. News flash: you can’t lose weight in a caloric surplus.
Thinking that you can butter your way to weight loss is asinine, regardless of whether those are “good calories” or “bad calories”. The laws of thermodynamics do not discriminate.
Put you into ketosis.
The ketogenic diet, despite its benefits, boils down to one thing: being in ketosis. To reach ketosis, you need to eat an extremely low carb diet for nearly 3 weeks or more (though most reliable sources recommend 2-3 months).
If you eat the occasional carby snack or meal, or even have one day out of the week where you eat carbs, you will not be in ketosis. Eating lots of fat while not being in ketosis is a sure-fire way to do one thing: gain more fat.
To get the ketogenic benefits of BP coffee, you need to go through the 3 week no-carb pain period. Supplements like gamma-hydroxybutyrate and beta-hydroxybutyric acid can help ease this transition.
“Assist” with intermittent fasting.
If you’re trying to fast, whether it be IF or some other form of fasting, then eating fats is one guaranteed way to knock you out of the fasted state and put your body in a fed state.
Who perpetuated the myth that eating fats can “help” a fast along? Probably Dave Asprey, but who knows.
To maintain the fast, you have to just that: keep fasting (not eating food).
Make you more productive.
Anyone who’s done intermittent fasting for more than a few days or weeks knows that, after 14-16 hours of fasting, the body and mind enter a state of “clarity”.
There are a number of reasons for this. One of which is that you’re not thinking about food, since you haven’t triggered the eating region of your brain, you’re more able to focus on creative work.
Somewhere along the way, the myth got perpetuated that, because fats help build myelin, they also make you more productive. In fact, quite the opposite is true.
Despite new dietary fads that tout the benefits of eating healthy fats, high fat diets have effects on the brain similar to hard drugs like heroin and cocaine.
But hey, at least it’s low carb.
Weaknesses in bulletproof arguments
So… is bulletproof coffee a cure all? The perfect start to your day? The gateway to weight loss and productivity? Maybe.
But more than likely, it’s just an expensive version of the same stuff you can grab at the local grocery store.
The same holds true for a good bit of nutrition products out there.
That’s the big takeaway for me.
The same shit I’ve learned over and over.
Avoid the extremes.
When someone sits at either end of the nutrition spectrum.
Proceed with caution.
Truth is, we’ve known what works.
It’s almost universally recommended amongst experts who are worth their salt.
- Eat Healthy Fats
- Eat Healthy Unprocessed Carbs
- Make Protein and Vegetables a staple in your diet
You’ve heard it before, making it difficult to “sell”. But the truth is, if you want results, that’s your best starting place.
The way I see it, I’m sure there’s some truth to Asprey’s claims, but they’re not important enough to matter.
I think there’s a lot more important things to focus on than all these tiny little details. I’m sure everyone here is familiar with the 80/20 rule – I think a lot of what Asprey talks about falls into the less important side of things when it comes to results.
The 80/20 Bulletproof Diet (ruling out the bullshit)
Instead of focusing on “mycotoxins” in coffee, try the following:
1. Start with diet
Eat ample amounts of protein (suggested reading: How Much Protein by Brad Pilon), try to eat an average of 0.8 * your weight in kg of dietary fat every day (especially important for men – too little fat can screw up the libido).
Eat lots of carbs every day, mostly vegetables and low GI fruits. If you’re carrying a lot of body fat, focus on losing fat before building muscle (it’s easier to build muscle if you’re within a normal range of bodyfat percentage).
If anyone needs help calculating their caloric needs/macronutrient profile, feel free to send me a message.
2. Exercise regularly
45 minutes of exercise, 3x a week can make a huge difference. Anyone can find that time.
3. Take supplements that work
2g of EPA/1.5g of DHA Omega 3 every day, 5,000 iu of Vitamin-D, a good multivitamin (Now Foods Adam is well designed and affordably priced), and a good Vitamin-B complex (I quite like Jarrow’s ‘b right’ formula).
4. Avoid over using stimulants
I have one cup of coffee in the morning and that’s it. I don’t drink caffeine after 2pm. If you want to use supplements for productivity, try 37.5 mg Armodafinil, but not more than once every few weeks, and LSD microdosing for creative work.
Occasionally take a few days off of regular coffee, using tea or decaf instead. Occasionally take a week or month off caffeine altogether.
5. 7-8 hours of good quality sleep every night
To get good sleep, avoid using LCD screens in the hour preceding bedtime. Make sure your mattress is comfortable and your room is slightly cool. Avoid alcohol before bed.
These things are easy to implement and they make a huge difference.
When you have it mastered, then start tinkering with the minutia.
Until then, stay the course, don’t get caught up with the masses of dolts who sip buttered coffee and tell you that it’s good for your health.