Becoming Clark Kent – Bullet Coffee
By Alex Burtch, M.S. CSCS
Drop a tablespoon of butter, a tablespoon of coconut oil into a Magic Bullet TM, top it off with coffee and blend for about 20 seconds. Pour out my frothy mixture into a large travel mug and head to the computer. Queue up some Three Dog Night (great writing music) and get to work.
I may have lost some of you already. You might hear the ingredients and immediately turn away. That’s OK. Not everyone will ‘dig this fad’ but stick around for the length of this blog post. The results might surprise you (they surprised me!).
A quick forward, I am a habitual and semi-addicted coffee drinker. I drink about 2/3 of a pot every day (filled to line 8 out of 12 for those who like a visual picture). So when you talk about messing with coffee, I am going to take it seriously. Now back to your regularly scheduled blog.
About a month ago, I was watching the show “My Diet is Better Than Yours”. First of all, I found it very interesting and fun to follow along with; they provide a number of tips on healthy eating so I recommend catching it on Hulu. I heard a quote during the first 5 minutes of the second episode by the gentleman on “The Wild Diet”:
“I used to put a ton of sugar in my coffee in the morning and now Abel has me putting butter in my coffee!”
That sparked memory. Back in the recesses of my mind, I had heard about Bulletproof TM Coffee. Now, legally I am most likely supposed to tell you that using the term Bulletproof TM Coffee is a trademarked item owned by The Bulletproof Exec, Dave Asprey. You can read about that on his website, https://www.bulletproofexec.com.
However, the term Bulletproof TM Coffee has become relatively household between fitness professionals. I’m going to simply call it “bullet” so I can drop the trademark logo. Let’s talk about the science and ideology behind this concept. I will get fairly research-y here but I’ll try to break down the information into bite-size tidbits that will be easy to read.
We’ll start with the coffee. Despite what your mother may have told you, recent research is trending towards the positive health benefits of drinking coffee (both caffeinated and decaffeinated). Mounds of research has been done, believe me. Currently, the effects of coffee on the heart are generally viewed as neutral or positive.
However, other research supports a U-shape relationship between developing cardiovascular disease, stroke and cancer, diabetes or other chronic diseases. That is, 3-6 cups of coffee every day lowers your risk of developing these issues. More or less of this golden range increases your risk.
Oh and by the way, 1 ‘cup’ of joe is about 5oz so when you buy your Grande, 16 oz coffee at Starbucks, that’s a little over 3 cups. For bullet coffee, you want a good, high quality coffee that has a strong flavor to hold its own with the oil additives.
Now for coconut oil. Look at the label in a grocery store. What do you see? 14g of fat per tbsp, 12g of it saturated or about 60% of the daily value! But, this is a special type of fat. It’s what we call medium chain triacylgylcerols (MCTs). MCTs have anywhere between 6-12 carbon chains behind them which allows them to be absorbed by the body quickly and directly into the bloodstream. Furthermore, they don’t need very much modification by the body before they become a fuel source. That means you have readily available energy and this queues the body to start it’s fat burning machinery!
Some research highlights: 1) in subjects with high body-mass index (BMI > 23), supplementing MTCs daily resulted in a loss of 8.8 lb body fat, 4 lb body fat in subjects with low BMI over 12 weeks 2) a separate study showed that MTCs resulted in decreased BMI, waist and hip circumference and fat percentage 3) lastly, MTCs increase the thermic effect of food by about 15% and increased energy expenditure within the body. This last point provides the nature and direction of why the benefits are what they are.
The butter. Not just butter though. High quality, organic or grass fed butter. You want a good, yellow color in your butter, this indicates good, healthy cows. This is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. Research has surfaced that omega-3’s help aid in cardiovascular health, protect against inflammation, and promote mental health.
Putting it all together. With this drink, you get every health benefit mentioned above but as they work in concert, you get something more. The combination of caffeine and increased fat metabolism super charges your body’s ability to pull from the subcutaneous fat stores for energy.
Now, when you make bullet coffee, you have to realize that coffee is water based and you’re about to mix it with oils. These two need to be forced together so you’ll have to use a high powered blender (like a Magic Bulletâ). If you’re going to try this for the first time, I suggest about ¾ tbsp. of each butter and coconut oil. From there you can modify up or down on either.
I hope you all enjoyed the information provided here. I’ve been doing bullet coffee for about a month now and I love it. I’d say I’m consistently getting more energy and feel full for longer. You can use it as a pre-workout energy booster or as a breakfast meal replacement (it’s about 250-300 calories altogether). Let me know how it goes for you and maybe I can do a subsequent “public opinion” blog. Thanks,
Have questions or comments? I’d love to hear from you! Email me at aburtch
- Bhatti SK, O’Keefe JH, Lavie CJ. Coffee and tea: perks for health and longevity? Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2013;16(6):688-697.
- Hill JO, Peters JC, Yang D, et al. Thermogenesis in humans during overfeeding with medium-chain triglycerides. Metabolism. 1989;38(7):641-648.
- Tsuji H, Kasai M, Takeuchi H, Nakamura M, Okazaki M, Kondo K. Dietary medium-chain triacylglycerols suppress accumulation of body fat in a double-blind, controlled trial in healthy men and women. J Nutr. 2001;131(11):2853-2859.
- Xue C, Liu Y, Wang J, et al. Consumption of medium- and long-chain triacylglycerols decreases body fat and blood triglyceride in Chinese hypertriglyceridemic subjects. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2009;63(7):879-886.