What is a Bulletproof Coffee? Is it good for me?

What is a Bulletproof Coffee? Is it good for me? - An Apple a Day
So, I did it. I crossed into Bulletproof territory. It wasn’t an easy decision, but I love to try new things and I am pleased to say that I was pleasantly surprised. When I started telling my friends just how much I was enjoying the occasional Bulletproof Coffee (BPC), they all stared at me blankly. It is then I realised, not everyone knows what they are! So here we are, about to delve in… 

What is a Bulletproof Coffee?

From what I understand, a traditional Bulletproof coffee is made the following way: 

  1. Brew 1 cup of black coffee using filtered water
  2. Add in 1 tablespoon of coconut oil to the hot coffee 
  3. Add 1 tablespoon grass-fed, unsalted butter or ghee
  4. Mix it all in a blender for 20-30 seconds until it is frothy like a foamy latte

 Now before you start screwing your nose up, it actually is quite tasty. Well, it was, until I realise that… wait, I need you to keep reading…

What are the health benefits of Bulletproof Coffee?  

I’m not going to even touch the endless list of claims out there (some substantiated, others not so much), but I will tell you why I decided to give it a shot. In an attempt to reduce the magnitude of blood-sugar swings from caffeine (the highs and the lows we all experience after our daily cup), my holistic health training had taught me to understand that by combining coffee with quality fat sources, you can reduce the caffeine hangover effect.

Butter coffee (yes, just 1 tbsp butter in your black coffee) has been recommended by my mentors for years, so I felt that the bulletproof was just an extension of this and I decided to take the plunge.

My Bulletproof Coffee experience

The taste? Surprisingly delicious! It’s creamy and incredibly filling, so I would always opt to share my BPC with my man. Like anything, I’ve found that some cafe’s are better at brewing than others, I thought it was a coffee thing, little did I know it was an ‘oil’ thing… 

On a recent visit to my favourite bulletproof coffee barista, I was left speechless. As I went to order my BPC, the staff member asked me whether or not I wanted to use ‘Upgraded MCT Oil’ instead of the standard ‘MCT Oil’. I stared at him blankly, “Sorry, what? What happened to Coconut Oil? What is MCT oil and what on earth is Upgraded MCT Oil?”. Coincidently, he didn’t have the answers and it was right then that I watched my love affair with BPC start to unravel. 

The tasty BPC’s use MTC Oil and the not so tasty BPC use coconut oil (in my opinion anyway).

What’s the difference between MCT Oil and Coconut Oil

Yes, I’m about to get all “science-y” on you, but bare with me, I’ve made it as easy as possible to understand and it’s essential to the parting message. 

MCTs stands for medium chain triglycerides. MCT’s are also known as MCFA’s or medium chain fatty acids. 

“Medium” references the length of the triglyceride/fatty acid chain. Oils can contain short chain, medium chain, or long chain fatty acids. Most oils are a combination of all three types.

According to Dr Mary Enig, medium chain fatty acids contain between 6 and 12 carbon chains. They are:

  • C6 – Caproic Acid
  • C8 – Caprylic Acid
  • C10 – Capric Acid
  • C12 – Lauric Acid

These medium chain fatty acids (found woven together in real foods) are known to have some wonderful health benefits.

Coconut oil contains all four MCTs. In addition, it contains a small percentage of longer chain fatty acids.

As you might have guessed, MCT Oil is not found in nature and as such, is made using a processing method called ‘fractionation’ (solvents can be used to help separate the MCT’s, but I am not up with processing on MCT’s, so I will have to give them the benefit of the doubt). During this process, the MCT’s (from both coconut oil and palm oil) are separated from the longer chains and then sent to market. No thanks. 

Further investigation also led me to discover that the Lauric Acid (C12) is only ever found in trace amounts in MCT oil (if at all). As you can imagine this is another downfall, especially since Lauric Acid makes up about 50% of the coconuts fatty acids content!

As you can imagine, in the case of simply eating real food, my Bulletproof Coffee (using MCT oil) from my favourite barista went out the window. 

Do I use Coconut Oil in my BPC? 

Whilst this is the real food alternative, I personally don’t like the taste so I have opted to skip the BPC’s going forward. But if you wanted to try a BPC, then coconut oil is the most natural way to go about it. 

Some parting words…

I would NEVER use a BPC to replace a wholesome breakfast. BPC doesn’t pump as many nutrients into your day. This is a trend I have noticed, and isn’t something I choose to support. 

BPC were a sometimes food for me and I never finished a whole one.

As always, everyone is different, if you are going to venture into the BPC territory, remember to be mindful of the quality and quantity of your fat intake as well as your energy output.  


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Meet Alyse

I’m a qualified Nutritionist who believes an evidence-based approach to modern nutrition is severely under-rated. Patients are so often left in the dark when it comes to health-care and as a firm believer in the old saying “knowledge is power”, my ultimate goal is to provide my readers, students and patients with clear and actionable advice that ultimately helps you reach your full potential.