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First thing’s first: what is bulletproof coffee and why do people recommend it as a part of a ketogenic diet? At its most basic, bulletproof coffee is just coffee with added butter and coconut oil, although some recipes add other ingredients (more on that later).
What is the idea behind drinking bulletproof coffee for keto? That the fat in the coffee will allow you to feel full and energetic for an extended period of time while supporting your diet goals. It's a simple idea, and I believe that it works - especially when you're just getting started with keto and intermittent fasting.
In this article:
Here’s everything you need to know.
The Basics: Keto and Bulletproof Coffee
What's the Ketogenic Diet
First, let’s quickly go over the basics of keto as they pertain to bulletproof coffee. The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, medium protein, low carb diet. In our healthy keto program, we recommend:
- 70% fat
- 20% protein
- 5% carbs
- 5% vegetables
The purpose of keto is to get your body to stop using carbohydrates and glucose for fuel and start using ketones, the byproducts of burning fat. This is a much cleaner, more efficient fuel source, and the switch will lead to many long-term health benefits.
Ketogenic Diet Benefits
It'll keep your insulin from spiking since fats are the only food source that doesn’t cause your insulin to rise. This is huge when it comes to weight loss and optimum body composition.
Insulin is in charge of lowering your blood sugar, and it converts extra sugar in your body to fat. Plus, it won't let your body release that fat if it's hanging around, which means you won't be able to burn fat if you have insulin triggered in your system. This is a huge problem with a non-keto diet because we generally eat way more sugar than our body needs on a "normal diet." As a result, we have more insulin than we should in our system at any given time.
This kind of long-term high insulin in the body can lead to insulin resistance, whereby your cells block the high levels of insulin and sugar from getting into them (your body's smart - it knows you don't need that much!) This can make you crave even more carbs and sugar. Why? Your cells need the glucose fuel they're blocking, and you'll need more and more to get that fuel in an insulin-resistant cell.
It's an unhealthy chain reaction that can stop with keto.
By blocking insulin, keto allows your body to burn your own fat and maintain muscle - all of which is great news for long-term health.
Where Bulletproof Coffee Fits In
The official bulletproof coffee recipe, created by Dave Asprey, is made with coffee, grass-fed butter or ghee, and brain octane oil - a specific type of MCT (medium-chain triglyceride) oil that metabolizes really efficiently. MCT oil - or coconut oil - is great for ketosis because the fatty acids in it, which include omega-3 fatty acids, don’t need to be processed by the liver before they enter the bloodstream.
That means that the body can immediately convert them to ketones and use them for energy. And that's not the only great ingredient in bulletproof coffee. In fact, just the plain coffee itself can maybe increase ketones (check out Dr.Berg’s coffee experiment)
As a high-fat morning meal replacement, then, bulletproof coffee can provide the body with the ketones and fuel it needs, and it can really help provide:
- Sustained energy
- Long-lasting satiety
- Increased mental clarity and cognitive function
Also, it can help you work toward a keto diet with intermittent fasting. We mentioned already that one of the main goals here is to keep your insulin from spiking so you can continue burning fat for fuel. Well, the biggest thing that spikes insulin is a big meal. Even if that meal is high in fat - which in itself does not cause a spike - just the physical presence of a large meal in the stomach will cause insulin to rise.
So, eating fewer meals - say, just lunch and dinner - will help you stabilize your insulin on a day-to-day basis, and bulletproof coffee can facilitate and support that transition.
So let’s dive into everything else you need to know and why all this makes sense for the body.
More Bulletproof Coffee Facts
What is keto coffee good for?
As we said, bulletproof coffee can increase mental clarity, stabilize insulin, and give you long-lasting satiety and energy - much more than regular coffee! (Check out how bulletproof helped one patient go from drinking 4 pots of coffee to 1 cup)
What doesn’t it do?
That said, it does not speed weight loss. In fact, it could actually slow down weight loss, particularly as you become more keto-adapted.
There are a couple of reasons for this. On one hand, overconsumption of any protein-rich, fat-heavy coffee can lead to weight gain for anyone, especially someone that’s not on keto.
Looking at keto specifically, a lot of bulletproof coffee can actually prevent your body from burning its own fat. The goal, remember, is for your body to eventually burn its own ketones. Well, if it’s just going through the ketones and the fat from the coffee, it won’t have a chance to do that.
So should you add it to your diet?
Yes - it can be a great first step, particularly as you adjust to a keto lifestyle.
Like I said, drinking bulletproof coffee in the morning can help most people go through the whole morning without getting hungry at all. This makes it a fantastic supporting step toward intermittent fasting, allowing you to push your “breakfast” meal later and later until you’re ultimately only having two meals a day.
That’s the ideal.
That said, as you do become more keto-adapted, and as your body burns more of your own fat, you’ll need much less dietary fat. In fact, you’ll find that a lot of extra fat will make you feel nauseous because it’s more than your body needs. So you’ll need less and less bulletproof coffee over time.
Pay attention to if you’re becoming keto-adapted by checking in with the following:
- Do you feel more comfortable on the diet?
- Can you go long periods of time without being hungry?
- Have you lost your cravings for sweets?
- Do you have a lot of energy?
- Are you no longer getting tired after meals?
When you reach this point, you may want to replace the butter and the MCT oil/coconut oil with something like half and half or cream. That will lower insulin even more and empower you to go from breakfast to lunch without any insulin spike at all.
Here are some great bulletproof recipes to get you started:
Official Bulletproof Coffee Recipe
Here's the official recipe from Bulletproof Coffee's website. The rest of the recipes will use this as a base:
- 2 ½ heaping tablespoons of high-quality ground coffee beans
- 1- 2 tablespoons brain octane oil (MCT oil)
- 1-2 tablespoons grass-fed, unsalted butter or 1-2 teaspoons of grass-fed ghee
- Make your black coffee.
- Add MCT oil (start slow with this stuff – it’s powerful!)
- Add grass-fed unsalted butter or ghee. Word of warning - make double sure your butter is unsalted!
- Blend. Mix it all in a blender for 20-30 seconds until it looks like a creamy latte. There will be a good amount of foam on top.
Iced Keto Coffee
This is the same as the regular bulletproof recipe - but make sure that you use ghee (not butter) so that it won't separate when iced. After you blend your coffee, just pour over ice and you're good to go.
Pro tip: Make some coffee ice cubes ahead of time so the ice doesn't melt or water down your coffee on the go.
This is particularly great for those that are trying to reduce the fat in their bulletproof coffee. Just add warm coconut milk, cream, or half and half to your coffee instead of butter or ghee. As you progress, you can get rid of the MCT coconut oil as well. This will be a much lighter option that will help you fast and lower your insulin over time.
Bulletproof Coffee with Collagen Protein
This is a really popular recipe, especially with women, as the added collagen not only gives a protein boost but also has lots of benefits for hair, skin, and joints. Here's the recipe:
- Blend your coffee, grass-fed butter, and coconut oil until a layer of froth forms at the top.
- Add 10 – 40 grams of collagen protein after it’s blended, and then lightly blend the collagen in just until it’s mixed in. Do not over-blend as it will ruin the collagen. Feel free to add more collagen depending on how active you were the previous day or how sore your muscles are.
Not a big coffee drinker or don't want to deal with the caffeine? Check out our decaf bulletproof recipe.
Finally, there are many add-ins that you can add to your bulletproof coffee to switch things up. Here are some great ones to take your coffee to the next level:
- L-theanine: This supplement works great with caffeine, as it's known to mitigate negative effects (anxiety, jitters, etc) while boosting the benefits.
- Vanilla: This not only adds flavor but can also work as a cognitive enhancer if you get the real deal.
- Ceylon cinnamon: Cinnamon can help you further regulate blood sugar and reduce insulin resistance - score!