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Bulletproof Coffee’s Benefits: How It Supercharges Your Morning

By: Dave Asprey
July 18, 2018

  • Bulletproof is famous for its signature Bulletproof Coffee — the mix of high-quality coffee beans with powerful fats increases focus, banishes hunger and cravings, and burns fat.
  • A Bulletproof cup of joe has three core ingredients: coffee, Brain Octane Oil, and grass-fed butter.
  • Bulletproof uses a blend of coffee beans that don’t contain any mold toxins — these can be carcinogenic and impair your immune system.
  • You want to choose grass-fed butter over regular butter, since cows that graze on grass produce milk that’s jam-packed with healthy fats and fat-soluble vitamins.
  • Brain Octane raises fat-burning, brain-boosting molecules in your system called ketones.
  • You can blend up just about any beverage with these powerhouse ingredients to get similar benefits. Try tea, matcha, hot chocolate, or turmeric for variety.

Bulletproof is famous for its signature coffee, and for good reason. The mix of high-quality coffee beans with powerful fats increases your focus, banishes hunger and cravings, and spurs weight loss. You may have wondered why this particular combination of ingredients can have such a potent effect.

Read on for a deep dive into the benefits of Bulletproof Coffee, and the science-backed reasons for why each ingredient will kick your performance into overdrive, without the bummer caffeine and sugar crashes.

RELATED: Get free guides, ebooks, recipes and more to supercharge your health

What is Bulletproof Coffee?

You may be new to Bulletproof Coffee, and wondering what exactly goes into a cup. Here’s the breakdown:

To find out exactly how to make it, check out the official Bulletproof Coffee recipe here.

A closer look at each ingredient

If you’ve been drinking Bulletproof Coffee for a while, you know the impact that it has on your energy levels and mental focus. Each ingredient is powerful on its own, and when taken together, they work synergistically to up the benefits of each cup of coffee even further.

Studies show that combining medium-chain triglycerides like Brain Octane Oil (more on that below) with other liquids increases its fat-burning effects. Caffeine also increases your body’s ability to burn fat for energy, making coffee and Brain Octane a formidable team. [1][2] The fats from the butter and Brain Octane also slow the absorption of the caffeine, giving you a gentler, steadier dose of energy throughout the morning.

Coffee beans

Upgraded coffee beans are loaded with good stuff like essential nutrients, polyphenols, antioxidants.[3] Study after study also shows it improves your focus and memory recall, and lowers your risk of stroke and heart failure. [4][5]

But not all coffee is created equal, and the quality of your coffee beans counts. Coffee often carries naturally-occurring mold toxins — these can be carcinogenic and impair the immune system.[6] Moldy coffee also gives you the jitters and increases brain fog.

While the amount of mold on coffee beans varies by batch, you can pretty much bet that a lot of the coffee you’re drinking contains mold. One study tested green coffee beans in Brazil and found that more than 90 percent of them were moldy before they were processed.[7] Another study of coffee beans in Thailand found that 98 percent of beans were contaminated with mold.[8] 

If you’re exposed to even small doses of mold toxins, you can lose your edge and feel cranky. Ramp up your exposure and mold toxins can cause serious health problems, including cancer, cardiomyopathy (heart muscle disease), and brain damage.[9]

Bulletproof puts a lot of effort into making sure the coffee beans that we sell are free of mold toxins, so you’re getting all the benefits of Bulletproof Coffee without the harmful side effects. Here’s how we do it:

Farming: Bulletproof only uses coffee beans from organic, Rainforest Alliance Certified farms in Guatemala and Colombia. They grow coffee without herbicides and pesticides, and they follow high standards that ensure the workers are treated fairly and the environment is taken care of. Bulletproof works directly with farmers to make sure they’re schooled in our process so the beans aren’t contaminated with mold and other toxins during growing and harvesting.

Processing and taste: Bulletproof screens and tests its beans in a lab to make sure they are free of mold toxins. The coffee beans are then roasted in small batches in the US. Bulletproof uses high-quality Arabica beans — these have a smooth, slightly sweet flavor. They’re also not as likely to grow mold as other beans.

Grass-fed butter

Butter is what gives Bulletproof Coffee its creamy consistency. You want to choose grass-fed butter over regular butter. Here’s why: Regular butter (from grain-fed cows) has a different fat composition that doesn’t blend as well or taste as good as butter from pasture-raised cows.

More importantly, when cows graze on grass, their milk is jam-packed with healthy fats and fat-soluble vitamins like vitamins A, K, and E — these nourish your skin, heart, brain, eyes, and more. It’s also rich in fatty acids including conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which burns fat and is anti-inflammatory, and butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid that strengthens the gut and the brain.[10] Cows that eat grains don’t pack the same nutritional punch, and produce milk that’s lower in nutrients and omega-3 fatty acids.[11] [12]

Check out this infographic on why grass-fed butter is good for you.

If you’re lactose intolerant or don’t digest dairy too well, you can try organic, grass-fed ghee. Ghee is butter that’s been heated and strained to remove the milk fats and water. This process also eliminates the lactose and casein that bothers some people.

In an ideal world, you’re buying your butter from a local farmer. But if that’s not possible, Kerrygold Pure Irish butter is a high-quality, affordable option. Check out your local Trader Joe’s or Costco for the best prices.

Related: Health Benefits of Grass-Fed Butter — Why it’s Good For You

Brain Octane Oil

Adding Brain Octane Oil to your coffee is where the real magic happens. Brain Octane raises fat-burning, brain-boosting molecules in your system called ketones. Your body then uses these ketones for energy rather than glucose from carbs. Burning ketones in place of glucose boosts weight loss and reduces inflammation.[13][14] Note that your body won’t use ketones for fuel if you’re eating any sugar or carbs with your breakfast.

So what is Brain Octane? The short answer — it’s a purified form of saturated fatty acids called medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), derived from 100% coconut oil.

There are four different types of MCTs: C6, C8, C10, and C12. Some of these turn into ketones more effectively and more quickly than others. C8 (caprylic acid) is the good stuff — studies show that C8 is the most ketogenic oil.[15] Most MCT oils on the market are a blend of all four types, while coconut oil is mostly C12.

So where does Brain Octane fit in? It’s pure C8, and raises ketones four times more effectively than plain coconut oil. Usually you have to restrict carbs, fast, or work out really hard to get your body to produce ketones. With Brain Octane, you raise your ketone levels in a matter of minutes, with very little effort.

What makes Brain Octane different?

Purity: Some companies use chemicals like hexane during processing to extract as much oil as possible from coconuts. Brain Octane is produced with zero chemicals. It’s cleaned with activated charcoal — a natural detoxifier — and refined using just heat, water, and pressure. This results in a really clean product consisting of pure triglycerides (a form of fat). Remember, eating fat doesn’t impact the fat levels in your bloodstream, so it won’t raise your levels of bad (LDL) cholesterol.[16][17]

Taste: Brain Octane is completely flavorless and odorless, so it won’t affect the taste of your coffee. You can also drizzle it over sushi or add to a salad dressing without changing the flavor of the food.

You can read more about MCTs vs. Brain Octane Oil here.

Brain Octane adds other benefits to your Bulletproof Coffee

More brain power: Brain Octane rapidly converts into ketones, which the brain can use as an immediate source of energy. You can actually feel your brain switch on and any fogginess disappear. This frees you up from the sudden energy crashes you get when your body runs on sugar.

Suppresses hunger: Brain Octane turns into ketones, and ketones suppress ghrelin, your hunger hormone, and increase cholecystokinin (CCK), which makes you feel full.[18] This makes it easier for you to go for longer periods without eating, which encourages your body to reach into its fat stores for energy.

Dosage

MCT oils can loosen your bowels, and it can sometimes take a little bit of time for your digestive system to get used to them. Start slowly with just a teaspoon of Brain Octane in your coffee, and ramp up from there.

The good thing is that most people adjust pretty quickly, within a week or two. The goal is to get to one tablespoon of Brain Octane Oil a day. If your digestion is strong and you’re following a high-fat, low-carb diet, you can probably tolerate more. I generally have 5 or 6 tablespoons a day.

Variations

You don’t have to use coffee to get the energy boost and mental focus from butter and Brain Octane. You can blend up just about any beverage with these powerhouse ingredients to get similar benefits. Try tea, matcha, hot chocolate, or turmeric tea for some variety.

But don’t add any sugar (and that includes honey or maple syrup). Sugar will affect your blood sugar levels and keep you from burning fat. If you must use a sweetener, try xylitol, erythritol, or stevia. You can read more about Bulletproof-approved sweeteners here.

You can also add some nutrient-dense ingredients to your Bulletproof Coffee to create new tastes and get different benefits. Adding a scoop or two of collagen protein powder, for instance, adds gut-repairing, skin-tightening benefits. Check out this full list for some Bulletproof-approved ideas.

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