It seems that Bulletproof Coffee is the latest life hack. And just to make sure we’re on the same page, let me define “hack” – a way to improve, individualize, or streamline a process. Think IKEA hack, makeup hack, organization hack, iPhone hack, and so forth.
When it comes to diet, nutrition, exercise, ANYTHING TO DO WITH LOSING WEIGHT, I am ALWAYS looking for a way to “streamline the process.” My latest attempt has been a lowcarb-high fat (LCHF) diet. In the process of investigating this way of eating, I ran across the trend that is BulletProof Coffee® (BPC).
What is Bulletproof Coffee? At its core, it’s simply a recipe, originally developed by Dave Asprey*. For some it’s a breakfast substitute, and for others, like me, it is the drink that has turned my diet on its head. Let’s start with the recipe and the rationale behind the ingredients:
1 cup black coffee
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon coconut oil
2 tablespoons cream
BLEND until emulsified and foamy. (I use an electric whisk)
Cream in coffee? Sure, a classic combination. But coconut oil? Butter? This might seem an anathema to coffee purists, but the idea of putting butter in your brew is natural in a lot of Eastern cultures: some traditional Ethiopians put spiced butter in their coffee; likewise, in Singapore some people stir-fry coffee beans with butter, and in Tibet it’s common to consume yak-butter tea (which is where Dave Asprey developed the concept of BPC).
The idea, to my understanding, is that these fats provide 1) satiety (yes, kill the appetite) and 2) energy, with a certain mental clarity, that – when combined with the boost of caffeine – keeps you going.
So why did I decide to try BPC? I’ve never been a coffee drinker, but I slowly came around to the idea when I read that caffeine can boost your metabolism and improve your athletic performance. I’m by no means an athlete, but I do meet with a trainer at least twice a week. Marry a LCHF diet with increased energy and a metabolism boost, and this is where a regular cup o’ Joe meets the pimped-up version.
Would BPC work for me? I wanted to examine the effect a regular cup of coffee versus a cup of BPC would have on my body, so I devised a very unscientific experiment: I had a regular cup of coffee on Monday morning and BPC on Wednesday morning (my training days).
My day began at 8:00 am. I normally only have half a banana before a workout and that seems to give me the fuel I need. For this experiment, I had a cup of black coffee and half a banana (fuel plus a caffeine boost). My workout was typical – nothing super-charged or electric. If anything, I was a bit unfocused and a lot cranky.
The next training day, under the same conditions, I made a cup of BPC. Immediate satisfaction – the drink was just so creamy, so tasty, almost decadent. I wasn’t a coffee lover, but I loved this. Twenty minutes later I felt . . . alert! I left for the gym, having nothing else to eat. My workout was spot on. An hour later, I was breathless and sweaty, but not jittery or shaky. And I wasn’t hungry until lunch.
The BPC was working for my training days, so I thought to add an additional experiment – coffee on non-training days. BPC was my little magic pill (you know, the one we all want to help us lose weight). I had a cup of BPC at 8 am and didn’t feel hungry until 2 pm! I was focused and energetic.
Too good to be true? The controversy over BPC is that you are, indeed, adding FAT to your diet. Aren’t you supposed to be reducing your fat intake if you want to lose weight? It seems the “Fat is Evil” myth is slowly dying. The latest nutritional theories maintain that a reasonable amount of saturated fat from whole food sources is fine, especially if you’re eating a variety of minimally processed foods, such as veggies, fruits, lean proteins, and whole grains. What are “whole food sources?” Well, off the top of my head, butter and coconut oil!
Fast forward two months later. I still have BPC every morning. I still workout five times a week (two of those days with a trainer). I still follow a LCHF diet. The result? I’ve lost 13 lbs (5.9 kgs), AND I’ve started to enjoy coffee, even outside the BPC framework.
Is BPC for everyone? Will you really lose weight without any effort? No, and no. Everyone’s taste buds and body chemistry are unique. Some might find BPC to be greasy, heavy, or too provocative for the digestive system. And let’s face it, there really are no diet hacks. In the end, what’s most effective for weight loss is sensible nutrition and consistent exercise. But mm-mm-mm, what a satisfying cup of coffee!
*Some say it was Homer Simpson who came up BPC
Homer: Marge, how could you let me let myself go like this?
Marge: ME?! I’m not the one who puts butter in your coffee!