Bulletproof coffee is a buttery coffee drink that’s popular with both keto and paleo dieters. Yes, you heard that right — “bulletproof coffee”, as it’s called, contains one to two tablespoons of unsalted, grass-fed butter. Dave Asprey, the creator of bulletproof coffee, included it in the recipe as a source of healthy fats, which can help you feel full and energized throughout the day. The original recipe also calls for a tablespoon or two of medium-chain triglyceride oil. Medium-chain triglycerides are fatty acids that naturally occur in coconut oil and palm oil. The Bulletproof company blog claims that they have numerous health benefits such as suppressing hunger, aiding in weight loss, and improving gut health.
But what are the benefits of, among other things, putting butter in coffee? Well, it’s clear that bulletproof coffee has some interesting potential health benefits. But do they have a basis in science, or is bulletproof coffee just another health fad? And are the potential health benefits worth slurping down oily or unpalatable coffee every morning? We dug into the research to find out whether or not bulletproof coffee is worth your time. Here’s what we learned:
1. It Can Help You Lose Weight
Putting butter and oil in your morning coffee sounds like something you’d do to gain weight, not lose it! But surprisingly, there’s compelling evidence that bulletproof coffee can help you lose weight. Studies have shown that one of the ingredients, a dietary supplement called MCT oil, can boost your metabolism and stimulate weight loss. MCT oil also promotes fullness and helps you eat fewer calories throughout the day.
Coffee, another ingredient in this drink, can also enhance weight loss. Drinking coffee right before a workout helps you burn more calories and get more benefit from the exercise. Coffee also boosts your metabolism overall, leading to increased weight loss even when you’re not working out.
One thing to keep in mind about bulletproof coffee, however, is that it’s fairly high in calories. Depending on how much butter and oil you use, your cup of coffee could have anywhere from 200 to 400 calories. If you drink it in addition to the breakfast you already eat, you may end up gaining weight (even with bulletproof coffee’s metabolism boosting effects). Instead, consider using it as a replacement for breakfast or one of your midmorning snacks. That way you’ll get to experience the full health and weight loss benefits of this drink without risking weight gain.
2. It Gives You More Energy
Bulletproof coffee can actually give you more energy than plain coffee. Adding butter in coffee causes it to digest more slowly. This makes the stimulant effects of the coffee last longer, so you’ll stay energized throughout the day and won’t experience caffeine crashes.
Coffee isn’t the only ingredient in this drink that can boost your energy levels. MCT oil is a great source of energy for your body and is often regarded as a super fuel. MCT oil provides nearly instant energy because of how quickly it gets digested. Fat is the most slowly digested macronutrient and usually takes a while to get broken down. But the body more easily digests MCT oil than other fats because it has shorter chains of triglycerides. It doesn’t need to use bile to break these shorter chains down. Instead, MCT oil easily passes through your digestive system and into your bloodstream rapidly.
Because of the way MCT oil is metabolized, it gets utilized by your body right away and gives you nearly instant energy. The next time you need a quick energy boost, consider brewing a cup of bulletproof coffee instead of your usual latte.
3. It Can Improve Your Exercise Performance
In addition to giving you more energy, bulletproof coffee can also increase your stamina and improve your exercise performance. Studies have shown that MCT oil slows down the buildup of lactic acid in your muscles while you’re working out. Lactic acid causes that unpleasant burning sensation you feel in your muscles during exercise. Therefore, having less of it in your body can make your workouts feel easier and enable you to push yourself harder at the gym.
Coffee has also been shown to increase endurance. Participants in one study were able to cycle for significantly longer periods of time after drinking coffee. So if you have a cup of bulletproof coffee right before your workout, it may just give you that extra burst of energy you need to power through.
4. It May Lower Your Cholesterol
You wouldn’t think that consuming bulletproof coffee, which has a fair bit of butter and oil, would reduce your cholesterol. But studies have shown that MCT oil has significant cholesterol-lowering effects. It reduces total cholesterol and bad cholesterol while simultaneously raising good cholesterol. It’s also a great supplement to incorporate into your diet if you want to improve your lipid profile and decrease your risk of heart disease.
The same goes for grass-fed butter. Grass-fed butter is a healthy addition to your breakfast because it contains saturated fat. Scientists once thought that saturated fat raises your risk of heart disease. However, newer research has shown that’s not the case. Saturated fat actually raises levels of good cholesterol and converts bad cholesterol into a more benign subtype of cholesterol. So consuming healthy sources of saturated fat like grass-fed butter in your coffee may improve heart health.
5. It Can Help You Manage Your Blood Sugar
Bulletproof coffee can also help you manage your blood sugar, especially if you have diabetes. MCT oil has been shown to decrease insulin resistance and body weight in diabetes patients. Bulletproof coffee is also very low in carbs, which is great for people who are trying to manage their blood sugar. Foods that are high in carbohydrates lead to a big spike in blood sugar, while low-carb foods keep your blood sugar levels more stable. Even people without diabetes can benefit from choosing low-carb meals because they provide a more consistent, steady supply of energy than high-carb foods.
6. It May Improve Your Gut Health
The MCT oil in bulletproof coffee has been shown to improve digestive health in two main ways: it 1) prevents increased intestinal permeability, also known as leaky gut syndrome, and 2) improves your gut microbiome. If your gut lining becomes too “leaky” or permeable, it can allow food particles and bacteria from your stomach to escape into your bloodstream. These leakages cause inflammation throughout the body and may contribute to the development of certain diseases, such as type 1 diabetes. Therefore, it’s a good idea to take MCT oil as a preventative measure against increased intestinal permeability and its harmful side effects.
MCT oil also supports your digestive health by helping your gut maintain a healthy balance of bacteria. It has antimicrobial properties that can reduce the amount of bad, pathogenic bacteria in your gut, allowing the good bacteria to flourish.
As you can see, research has shown that bulletproof coffee has significant health benefits and isn’t just an overhyped trend. Bulletproof coffee not only gives you energy but also supports your digestive health, helps you manage your blood sugar, and aids in weight loss. Maybe putting butter in coffee sounds a little strange or unpalatable to you. Nevertheless, we recommend that you try it at least once and see how you feel. You may never go back to regular coffee!
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