I'm here to demystify this entire Bulletproof coffee extravaganza (cough cough: fad), as well as explain what it is, who came up with it, and why I will never drink it. Ever. 

Who came up with it?

That would be Dave Asprey, a Silicon Valley investor and technology entrepreneur. Asprey is known for his "biohacking," which entails "changing the environment around you or inside you so that you have full control of your biology." He's also known for spending 20 years and a million dollars "biohacking" himself. He began this process to regain his health, as he was significantly overweight, had consistent brain fog, and was at high risk of stroke and heart attack. A trip to Tibet also provided some inspiration: he was introduced to yak butter tea. And thus, with some ingredient modifications, Bulletproof coffee was born.

The Claim

According to the Bulletproof blog:

"Bulletproof Coffee is not your average latte. It’s a high-performance drink that has a massive impact on your energy and cognitive function. Bulletproof Coffee has helped everyone from driven CEOs to professional athletes to busy parents increase their energy so they can do more of what fulfills them."

The blog also states clearly that a Bulletproof coffee is a suitable replacement for breakfast, and actually advises people to substitute their regular breakfast with this concoction for "suppressed hunger, steady lasting energy, and mental clarity." 

Am I convinced? Not quite— and I'll get to explaining why.  

The Recipe 

Ahh, the infamous Bulletproof coffee recipe you've all been waiting for. Considering how crazy popular this drink has become in the last year, the recipe is exceedingly simple. The ingredients are: 2.5 tablespoons ground Bulletproof coffee beans, 1 teaspoon-2 tablespoons Brain Octane oil, and 1-2 tablespoons grass-fed, unsalted butter or ghee. To prepare your very own Bulletproof latte, you basically brew the coffee, add in your Brain Octane oil and butter or ghee, and then blend it all up. 

Let's break down the ingredients in this recipe a little more. First off are the Bulletproof coffee beans, which are trademarked beans that are apparently toxin- free green beans containing beneficial antioxidants. For 12 oz of these beans, the price ranges from $18.95 to $19.45. A little pricey, I would say. 

Next up is the grass-fed butter or ghee included in the recipe. Grass-fed butter is "made from milk coming from cows that feed on fresh grass in seasons and hay out of season, versus grains and prepared silage." It contains about 102 calories and 7 grams of saturated fat per tablespoon. Ghee is essentially clarified butter, which means the milk solids are removed, and contains about 120 calories and 10 grams of saturated fat per tablespoon. 

And finally, the kicker: Brain Octane Oil, aka MCT oil. Basically, MCT stands for medium-chain triglyceride, and "MCTs are a special type of fat that are sent straight to the liver, bypassing normal fat digestion and absorption." So what's the hype? MCT oil is supposed to balance hunger hormones, and "raise fat-burning, brain-fueling molecules in your body called ketones."

Nutrition Facts

And you thought a Big Mac was bad for you? Take a look at this.

In one serving of Bulletproof coffee, prepared with two tablespoons of brain octane oil and two tablespoons of butter, there are 441 calories, 51 grams of fat, 0 grams of carbohydrates, and 0 grams of protein. Yup, you read all that properly-- this cup o' joe is pure fat. Not to mention, 41 of those 51 grams of fat are pure saturated fat

Just to put things in perspective: one Bulletproof coffee was the same amount of fat as 12 (!!) egg yolks. That's quite a few eggs, folks. 

Let's also touch on the Big Mac again. Not only does one Bulletproof coffee contain more fat than a Big Mac, it contains more fat than a Big Mac MEAL, which includes the burger itself, a medium fries, and a Coke. 

According to McDonald's online nutrition calculator, the Big Mac meal contains 44 grams of fat, (68% percent of your daily value), and 12 grams of saturated fat (60% of your daily value). Just as a reminder, a cup of BP coffee contains 51 grams of fat (about 80% of your daily value) and 41 grams of saturated fat, which amounts to more than 100% of the daily allowance. 

Yikes. At least the Big Mac meal has a few grams of fiber in it. 

The Verdict

Knowing what I know now, will I ever become part of the Bulletproof coffee cult? 

Absolutely not. 

Why is this, you ask? First off, as a vegan, consuming two tablespoons of pure animal fat first thing in the morning doesn't quite suit my fancy. I think I'd much rather enjoy some avocado toast (hello, healthy fats!) or a nutritious smoothie, both ideal breakfast options that do not support the unethical treatment of animals. Secondly, as a nutrition minor, the nutrition facts of the recipe are more than a little frightening. I'm not sure how anyone can argue that mixing coffee with butter or ghee and oil constitutes a balanced breakfast, especially when this drink consists solely of fat. Let's also not forget that this coffee contains zero fiber, which is incredibly important in the morning to jumpstart the digestive system and keep everything moving smoothly. 

If you take anything from this article, just remember the fat content. Remember your arteries, people. It's for your own good. Heart disease ain't a joke, especially since it's the #1 killer in the United States. Besides, what's wrong with a regular cup of coffee, which can in fact be a component of a healthy diet.

 I think I'll stick to my almond milk latte.