This is a guest post by S. Christine Chung (Andrews University School of Public Health)

Miracle brain and body booster?

David Asprey lost 100 pounds without counting calories or exercising. He also increased his own IQ by 20 points. Not only that, he claims to have lowered his biological age. Biological age is how well your body is functioning in comparison to your actual age (Basaraba, n.d.). What is his secret? Bulletproof coffee. In case you haven’t heard of Bulletproof coffee, here is a short history on it. David Asprey was in Tibet when he first tasted yak butter tea. He felt so rejuvenated and energized after drinking that tea, he became obsessed with replicating a way to get the kind of rejuvenation he felt in Tibet. After much effort, he came up with the Bulletproof coffee recipe. The recipe consists of:

  • 1C filtered boiling water
  • 2.5 T fresh ground UpgradedTM coffee
  • 1-2 T Upgraded Brain OctaneTM
  • 1-2 T grass fed unsalted butter or ghee
  • Whirl in a blender until frothy.

Bulletproof coffee explained

So what makes Bulletproof coffee so special that top executives, recording artists, and famous athletes drink this stuff? What is the reason that millions of people visit his website called bulletproofexec.com each month? His podcasts on iTunes is currently ranked #7. What is so great about Bulletproof coffee? First of all, the recipe uses UpgradedTM coffee beans. These coffee beans are processed in a special way to improve your performance and help you focus all day long. They also contain a lot of antioxidants that are good for you. Upgraded Brain OctaneTM is a mixture of coconut and palm oil that will give you more brainpower, reduce brain fog, and give you energy. Grass fed unsalted butter contains healthy fats and will give you lots of energy for your day. So when these miraculous ingredients are used to make Bulletproof coffee, your day will be filled with amazing energy, clarity, and laser focus all day long. To top it off, you won’t feel hungry all morning.

A note of caution

Does it sound too good to be true? Let’s look into this a little more in detail.

David Asprey recommends drinking only Bulletproof coffee in the morning for best mental performance. According to Stephanopoulos (2014), a serving of Bulletproof coffee has 460 calories and 52 grams of fat, mostly saturated fat. Based on a 2000-calorie diet, the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend daily fat intake of 44g-78g. The recommendation for saturated fat is 20 grams or less per day. Although Upgraded Brain Octane oil contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) that has been shown in research to help with weight loss (St-Onge & Bosarge (2008), consuming more than half of the recommended maximum daily fat allowance in a cup of coffee is excessive. This means what you can have for lunch and dinner will be limited to extremely low fat foods. Another cause for concern is the lack of nutrients in Bulletproof coffee. Even though Bulletproof coffee touts more antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals than traditional coffee (as a result of using the Upgraded coffee beans and grass fed unsalted butter), drinking only Bulletproof coffee for breakfast robs you of necessary nutrients that are part of a healthy breakfast. Lastly, this fatty coffee takes some getting used to. This is because it may take some time for your body to get used to the effects of MCT. You may experience nausea, loose stools, or stomach cramping. It is recommended that you start with a small amount of Braine Octane oil and butter, and then gradually increase to 2 tablespoons each of grass fed unsalted butter and Brain Octane Oil. So far, no reputable scientific research study has been done to show that Bulletproof coffee reduces biological age.

Will it hurt to try it?

Even with the just mentioned limitations of Bulletproof coffee, are you still interested in trying it out? Would you like to try your hand at hacking your own biology by drinking Bulletproof coffee? Will it improve your IQ, give you boundless energy, and prevent you from craving food for hours? Does being rejuvenated sound appealing to you that you just have to try it out? As long as you are not a cardiac patient or have risk factors for cardiac disease, you are free to satisfy your curiosity. Even Dr. Andrew Weil, the natural health guru, says it probably won’t harm you to try it. But if you have any doubts at all about trying it, you need to ask your primary care physician about it. Please keep in mind that a regular habit of consuming a very high amount of fat, especially saturated fat such as butter and MCT is not the best way to keep your body working at its best. A diet high in saturated fat has been associated with heart disease and obesity. The best way to feel at your optimum physically and mentally is to eat lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Fats should be just a small amount of what you eat each day. And don’t forget about adding regular exercise and enough sleep into your life to feel awesome.

Is there a better alternative?

Instead of drinking 52 grams of fat for breakfast, try a nutritious breakfast consisting of a bowl of whole grain cereal with fresh blueberries and ground flaxseed sprinkled on top, 0.5oz of nuts, whole fruit, and a glass of soymilk or low fat milk. The total calories for this meal is 489, similar to Bulletproof Coffee, but also contains 15g of fiber, 17.4 g protein, only 14g of fat, not to mention a variety of vitamins and minerals. With a balanced healthy breakfast like this, your mind will work efficiently all day and you will have plenty of energy to keep you going for many hours!