Is bulletproof coffee all it’s cracked up to be?

Is bulletproof coffee all that it's cracked up to be?

Is bulletproof coffee all that it's cracked up to be?

Bulletproof coffee is hot right now (get it?), but does it really deliver the health benefits that it promises?

Y’all, I am not too cool to get in on the bulletproof coffee trend. In fact, when my husband told me about an emerging trend of lightening coffee with butter a couple of years ago, I went digging for a vegan bulletproof coffee recipe to make.

Related: How to Quit Caffeine with Delicious Coffee Alternatives

For me, bulletproof coffee was less about turning coffee into some kind of superfood and more about finding an alternative to processed soy creamer. If you don’t want to read my whole experience with it, I will sum it up and say that I medium liked it.

Jill Ettinger, editor at our sister site Eat Drink Better recently shared a little history of bulletproof coffee along with a little bit of bulletproof myth-busting. The short version: this is a myth along the lines of protein combining. Want the more nuanced version? Check out Jill’s piece right here!

Bulletproof Coffee … It’s No Magic Bullet

Is bulletproof coffee all it's cracked up to be?by Jill Ettinger, Eat Drink Better

If you haven’t yet tasted, let alone heard of Bulletproof coffee, let’s get you acquainted.

The concept is based on Dave Asprey’s interpretation of a popular drink of the Himalayas. In places like Tibet, it’s not uncommon to see people drinking tea with yak butter added to the brew. According to Asprey, it’s the addition of butter that provides extra energy and contributes to weight loss. But Tibetans might tell you that they add the butter because it actually provides extra calories and flavor to an otherwise bland cup of tea. There’s not much in the way of almond milk or stevia that close to the top of the world. Yak butter is probably a lot more like our obsession with Sriracha than it is used as “bulletproof”—the Tibetans put it on everything whether they should or not—because they can.

But it’s the butter (and coconut oil), Asprey says, that allows the body to burn energy more slowly (than say, adding 4 teaspoons of sugar to your brew), preventing the inevitable coffee crash most daily drinkers are familiar with.

So, Asprey took the yak butter tea idea from the Tibetans and gave it his own twist: coffee mixed with unsalted butter and coconut oil. You brew up a strong pot of (organic) coffee and then send it to the blender with the butter and coconut oil to blend it all up. The result? Oily coffee.

Food and health expert, “Medicine Hunter” Chris Kilham put Bulletproof to the test. Kilham has consumed traditional medicinal foods and beverages all around the world, so he’s a good gage on things like this. “I will not say that Bulletproof coffee is the worst beverage I have ever had,” he wrote on Fox News, “But I will say that only a fanatic would drink this stuff on a regular basis.”

Kilham goes on:

“While I applaud human ingenuity, I must give my “Worst Idea Of The Year” award in the food and beverage category to Bulletproof coffee. Thankfully, this too shall pass. Today’s Bulletproof coffee craze is destined to be tomorrow’s what-were-we-thinking laughable beverage idea. By all means, try it, if just to get the curiosity out of your system. I’ll stick to a fragrant, well-made cup of joe, and a slice of buttered toast, thanks.”

Like Kilham notes, enjoying buttered toast (or coconut oil on toast) right alongside a regular old cup of tasty coffee can provide you the same results Asprey’s Bulletproof coffee claims to provide. Asprey’s not wrong about consuming a good dose of healthy fats—they can sustain energy and even aid in weight loss. But you don’t have to ruin a perfectly good cup of coffee to do that.

Coffee images via Shutterstock.


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About Becky Striepe 36 Articles
Hi there! I'm Becky Striepe, a green crafter and vegan foodie living in Atlanta, Georgia with my husband and two cats. My mission is to make eco-friendly crafts and vegan food accessible to anyone who wants to give them a go. If you like my work, you can also find me on Twitter, Facebook, and .

5 Comments

  1. I am a fan, but only on occasion as it is very rich. Blend it long enough with cinnamon and it’s delightful. No need for carby toast. Worst idea is a bit harsh, especially for a combo that does the body good!

    • Amen to that! My coffee is close to bulletproof for 2 months, and I have been losing 2 pounds a week, while eating non-bulletproof recommended food, and I feel marvelous. For me this is an experiment, so I’ll have my blood tested soon to see how I measure up to last test’s results. Advice, always test and consult with your physician, but for now, it’s looking pretty good!

      • Listen to your body, that’s what I say! I love the energy I get from it and I am less sore than usual after jiu-jitsu. I read a negative review of it in National Geographic, which is a bummer since I think this knowledge could help a lot of people. I suspect the Big Diet industry would stand to fall on it’s ass if it got out that fat can be good for you. Let’s spread the word. ;-) Butter is better…

        • Exactly Lindsey. What I’ve read about the benefits of an HFLC diet is stunning: may cure diabetes type 2, may prevent memory loss/Alzheimer, reduces inflammation in your body, turns your body into a fat burning machine, high-energy, high-focus, etc. Also, because of minimal sugar intake it may prevent cancer cells from growing too! Plus, the weight loss allows me kick ass again in the karate dojo :)

          • My wife has type 2 diabetes and has tried the HFLC diet, but I talked her out of it! HFLC diet may lower blood sugar, but at what cost? The number one killer is cardiovascular disease. Long term HFLC will most definitely cause this disease. We are on a vegan high carb low fat diet, and her blood sugar is in the normal range without the negative side effects caused by eating fat. We also don’t get that crash exhausted feeling after eating a meal. The biggest plus of all is not counting calories!

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