Image: Supplied. Source:BodyAndSoul I’ve always been intrigued by bulletproof coffee . When a health fad originates with a Silicon Valley tech entrepreneur rather than via excitable rumours inside a bunch of wellness influencers’ DMs, I’m likely to be more on board. Actually that’s not true at all – I’ll try anything – but the fact this brain-boosting concoction was invented by US biohacker Dave Asprey gives it a nice sciencey sheen.
If it’s new to your radar, bulletproof coffee is black coffee spiked with high fat compounds that are alleged to sharpen mental acuity and help you lose weight. Some people simply blend gobs of butter or coconut oil to their morning java but purists go one step further and whiz theirs up with something called Medium Chain Tryglycerides (MCT) oil .
Because MCT fats are broken down in the liver rather than stored as fat, the theory goes, they are converted quickly into energy. They help bring the body into ketosis, especially if digested on an empty stomach. “It helps you stay sated and you end up eating less calories throughout the day,” says food scientist Josh Gaudry from Flannery’s Organic and Wholefood Market, who has been bulletproofing his coffee for several years. “You eat voluntarily, it helps maintain energy and stops the insulin spike you get from regular coffee.”
It should be noted, however, that Josh combines his daily cup of the bulletproof stuff with a high-fat, low-carb keto diet , a factor which can’t be entirely overlooked when considering his favourable results which he says include weight stability and sustained daily energy. But me? For the sake of a clean trial I’ll be going bare-naked bulletproof for a whole month, with nothing between me and good health except coffee beans and a slug of fancy oil. Bulletproof coffee converts claim it helps stabilise insulin and increase energy. Image: iStock. Source:BodyAndSoul Week 1
The nice people at Flannerys kit me out with a couple of bags of whole coffee beans, a bottle of their OWN-brand coconut oil and a bottle of Jimalie brand MCT oil. I’m instructed to brew a regular cup of coffee, then whiz it the Vitamix with a tablespoon of each oil. The coconut oil/MCT oil combo is not advocated by everyone – many opt for just the MCT on its own – but the Flannerys people reckon putting the two together (a mixture they call “Unicorn Fuel” because everything tastes better with unicorns) gives you ‘power’ from the MCT oil while the coconut oil ‘slows down’ the caffeine rush.
Ugh, I’m glazing over from all this scientific mumbo jumbo and I haven’t even had my morning coffee. I whack my cup of hot coffee into the Vitamix, blob in both the oils and whiz.
First thing I notice is that my coffee turns a rich, creamy caramel colour, like the frothiest latte. This was a surprise. As someone who abandoned every science subject by Year 8, I had this vague idea that even with the whizzing, the oil from my bulletproof coffee would sit on the top like the Exxon Valdez had just upended itself (because oil and water don’t mix, right?). Which is a bit thick when you think about it – what did I think the blending was supposed to do, then?
Point is, it looks delicious and … it is. I’ve been a black coffee girl for years after I realised that drinking half a cow every morning is a bit tough on the stomach. Now I get to drink creamy coffee again! Magical. Unicorn and fairies magical.
Aside from the deliciousness I don’t notice much in my first week. Maybe slightly less of a jolty caffeine feeling after each cup. A bit more alertness. Mmm. I don’t really know how to measure alertness. When it’s a Bachelor in Paradise night I’m still alert by 7:30PM. When it’s not, I’m not. So jury’s out. The MCTs (left) are supposed to give you ‘power’ while the coconut oil ‘slows down’ the caffeine rush. Image: Flannerys. Source:BodyAndSoul Week 2
The internet informs me, somewhat mysteriously, that I should start with only one tablespoon of both the oils in my bulletproof coffee and ‘work up’ to adding more once I’m used to it which seems foreboding. What will overdosing on oil do? Make my joints stop squeaking? But by week two I’m feeling bold and start adding a second tablespoon of my MCT oil. Nothing geysers out of me like a well of Texan crude so that’s good.
Again, I don’t think I notice much on the ‘feeling’ front. But perhaps that’s exactly the point. Regular coffee is meant to wrench you all over the place – up, down, awake, asleep. Bulletproof coffee seems to be more about what it takes away than what it gives me. It takes away that ping-pong energy feeling, as far as I can tell.
*strokes chin like pensive Silicon Valley tech boffin discovering a new algorithm that will make me into a billionaire* Week 3
Guys. GUYS. I don’t want to attract the attention of the ACCC or anything but I’ve lost weight. At least my clothes are looser – I have banished scales from the house so I’m not totally sure. Let’s not go crazy here – there are a bunch of other factors that could be at play. I have maybe been eating more plants, less meat in the last few weeks. I walked to the train station literally twice. I refuse to believe that an oil is doing this.
*crosses arms mutinously* Of all the experiments, this one has Alex hooked. Image: Supplied Source:BodyAndSoul Week 4
I don’t say this often with these health experiments but this one has won me. First of all, it tastes good. Please see: my experiments with celery juice and apple cider vinegar for health fads that taste incontestably bad.
I didn’t come across any obvious side effects, with the single exception of it being a bit annoying to use and wash a Vitamix every day. Even upping the oil dose – which I think was supposed to lead to a fiesta of diarrhea if mismanaged – didn’t have any adverse effects.
And I do seem to feel more, OK, I’m not going to say ‘energised’ because I simply don’t think that’s measurable. Some days I sleep well, some days I don’t etc. But I feel more stable, I guess you’d call it. Less all over the place.
And then there’s the weight loss, which I’m still refusing to completely believe. But it happened. Not much – maybe a kilo or two – but noticeable. To me anyway.
Most of all, bulletproof coffee simply doesn’t seem to be a difficult thing to add to my routine, especially since I drink coffee anyway. This is just a tastier coffee. Again, please see celery juice, with its eye-watering costs and the unmanageable amount of real estate it took up in my fridge for things that are too difficult to do long-term.
Bulletproof coffee, please accept this rose. The experiments so far
Marks out of 5 for each category. Total of 20.
Lack of side effects: 4
Total: 12/20 Apple Cider Vinegar
Lack of side effects: 1
Total: 8/20 Bulletproof Coffee
Lack of side effects: 4
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