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April 11, 2019

Should you pick or pass on bulletproof coffee?

Here's what you should know about the beverage spin-off

Healthy Eating Coffee
bulletproof coffee health benefits Brigitte Tohm/Unsplash

Bulletproof coffee might work well for some, but there's also a few cons to the drink.

With the keto craze still raging, you’ve likely heard the term "bulletproof coffee" thrown around on social media and maybe even by your friends. 

So what is this coffee derivative, sometimes referred to as “butter coffee”?

Essentially, it’s coffee blended with one to two sources of fat. According to Bulletproof, which founded the idea in 2004, it boosts brain function and happiness, improves physical performance, suppresses hunger and might help you lose weight.

The Bulletproof brand follows that the beverage requires a very specific recipe of freshly ground Bulletproof Coffee Beans brewed in a French press, mixed with one to two teaspoons of Brain Octane Oil and one to two tablespoons of grass-fed butter or ghee. You blend this all together, so it gets all frothy, and you have the “original” Bulletproof brand coffee.

RELATED READ: Are these popular diets (keto, paleo, etc.) keeping your gut healthy?

That said, plenty of people have tweaked the original recipe to create other bulletproof coffee recipes, including healthy add-ons like coconut oil, collagen, adaptogens and even the beloved pumpkin spice. 

If you’ve heard about the coffee derivative, it’s likely from someone who absolutely LOVES it, and there is some merit behind the beverage. Of course, we know that coffee — albeit a dividing topic when it comes to health — is antioxidant-rich, might help you live longer and perhaps has some cancer-fighting properties

Others applaud the beverage for fitting in with the ketogenic diet — a low-carb, high-fat eating plan — because with oil replacing sugar and cream, bulletproof coffee becomes a high-fat, no-carb drink, Medical News Today explains. 

While bulletproof coffee might be life-changing (or close to it) for some, health experts generally believe you can skip it. The beverage made Huffington Post’s list of “the Best and Worst Health Fad Foods, According to Nutritionists,” and, spoiler, it wasn’t on the best list.

Megan Meyer, Ph.D., director of science communications at the International Food Information Council Foundation, suggested to HuffPost that bulletproof coffee should be on the “worst” list because it adds hundreds of calories and close to 40 grams of fat to a person’s daily intake — when they could be eating other nutritious foods. Adding just one cup of the beverage would put a person over the daily recommended intake of saturated fat. 

For context, the American Heart Association recommends that people try to limit the amount of saturated fat they consume. Per the organization’s instruction, only five or six percent of calories should come from saturated fat, which is about 13 grams of saturated fat per day.

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