I swear by buttery Bulletproof coffee for energy and focus, even though nutritionists warn against it

·5 min read
making bulletproof coffee
I make my Bulletproof coffee with grass-fed butter but use coconut oil instead of MCT. I haven't noticed a difference in benefits. Gabby Landsverk
  • Despite being aware of the limited evidence of its benefits, I love Bulletproof Coffee.

  • I find it gives me more energy and fewer side effects than plain coffee.

  • However, I only drink it occasionally, and it's not a substitute for a healthy breakfast.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Bulletproof Coffee, the trend of blending freshly brewed coffee with butter from grass-fed cows and MCT oil, is one of the rare diet fads I actually like as a nutrition reporter.

Fans say the drink can boost energy and focus, reduce caffeine crashes, and helps regulate appetite and blood sugar levels. Bulletproof coffee isn't for everyone; one Insider reporter who previously tried it didn't notice a difference in drinking it from consuming regular coffee. There's also mixed evidence behind some of reported benefits.

And dietitians tend to caution against the butter brew because it's high in saturated fat.

While I'm aware of the limitations of research supporting the benefits of Bulletproof Coffee, I still drink it because it offers me a major productivity boost. Drinking it makes me feel more energized, and makes me less likely to crash mid-afternoon than when I drink regular coffee.

However, it's not a magic health hack for everyone, and it's not a regular part of my routine. Here's what to know if you want to try it yourself.

How to make Bulletproof Coffee

There are different versions of Bulletproof Coffee (or tea), but all involve mixing a caffeinated beverage with rich sources of fat like butter, ghee, and oil. It was popularized by biohacker and entrepreneur Dave Asprey, who credits it with fueling his high-intensity lifestyle.

I prefer to drink eight ounces of hot (but not scalding) coffee, mixed with a tablespoon of butter and half a teaspoon of coconut oil (This is the raw material for MCT oil. It's significantly cheaper, and I haven't notice a difference in benefits).

I blend it in a shaker cup or blender until it's a smooth, creamy consistency.

Drinking it is a bit like having a latte, but a silkier texture and richer flavor.

Bulletproof Coffee
Bulletproof coffee is creamier and silkier even than a latte. Gabby Landsverk

Its high fat content makes it somewhat controversial

Nutritionists sometimes caution against drinking buttery coffee because of its high saturated fat and cholesterol content, which some evidence suggests can increase the risk of heart disease.

For people trying to lose weight, the high-calorie drink may make it harder to sustain a calorie deficit.

However, I drink it anyway, in part because I have an overall healthy and active lifestyle, and I enjoy it as part of a balanced diet.

With Bulletproof coffee, I have fewer caffeine crashes or jitters

The main reason I add butter to my coffee is that I like the taste. I'm not a sweet coffee person, and this is a fun treat, especially with a flavored coffee like butter rum.

I also feel like I get the benefits of caffeine with fewer side effects.

I'm a daily coffee drinker, and while I'm generally pretty good at pacing myself, I sometimes overdo it on the caffeine when I'm sleepy or stressed. That means instead of feeling alert and productive, I end up getting sweaty and distracted. Too much caffeine for me also tends to lead to a crash a few hours later.

Since I naturally have lower energy in the afternoons, feeling groggy as my morning coffee wears off is the last thing I want.

When I've had Bulletproof Coffee, I feel like the energy boost is more gradual, so I'm less likely to get too amped up. It also lasts longer and feels less jarring when it wears off.

That makes it ideal for times that I need a pick-me-up. Overall, it helps me be productive when I need to stay focused and work for a long period of time without breaks.

I don't feel hangry after drinking it, even if I don't have time to eat

Another advantage of Bulletproof Coffee is that I find I'm really not hungry after drinking it, and can go several hours without thinking about food.

As someone who tends to get "hangry," that makes it helpful for when I'm too busy to stop for a healthy meal or snack in between tasks. I noticed the appetite-suppressing effects of rich Bulletproof Coffee were similar to when I tried a high fat carb-cycling diet.

While Bulletproof Coffee is high in calories, that's not a problem for me since I'm not trying to lose weight. As someone who is fairly active and lifts weights, I'm more concerned about getting enough calories, so being able to have a reliable, tasty source of liquid calories in my coffee is a plus.

I don't see it as a substitute for a good breakfast

Swapping out Bulletproof Coffee for breakfast on a busy day is useful, but not as a permanent part of my routine.

I almost always have a healthy breakfast and lunch. For me, that means plenty of protein from eggs, Greek yogurt, or beans, as well as fruits, veggies, nuts, and whole grains.

When I don't do this, I find that my mood and energy levels immediately suffer. I'm less focused and more likely to get sleepy or distracted at work.

Bulletproof Coffee can help if I need some extra pep for a few hours, but unless I follow up with a healthy meal, I'm eventually going to be just as drained as if I drank too much black coffee.

Eating a nutritious breakfast has loads of benefits for health, including stabilizing blood sugar and energy levels, and supporting a more balanced mood.

I like Bulletproof Coffee best in moderation

I drink Bulletproof Coffee about once a month or so. But it's not a magic replacement for planning and prepping healthy whole foods for most of my meals.

I haven't experienced any of the side effects potentially linked to Bulletproof Coffee, such as digestive issues, either.

If you want to try it yourself, I recommend starting with a smaller amount of butter and MCT oil at first. Then, follow up with a good meal afterward.

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