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Coffee with a Side of Butter

Coffee with a Side of Butter

I am a huge fan of coffee. When I wake up, drinking a cup is one of the rituals I go through that helps get me ready for the day. I'm not a purist, I like to add some fat-free cream and Splenda. A few years ago I also started putting a couple heaping teaspoons of unsweetened cocoa powder in my coffee. That was after research came out that people who ate as little as 4 grams of cocoa (2.5 teaspoons) a day, reduced their risk of a heart attack by 50%.

I get to live longer and my coffee now tastes like chocolate. It's a win-win. So when I heard that people have started adding butter to their coffee for health reasons, I was intrigued. I could eat butter AND be healthier?

It's called "Bulletproof ® coffee". But you can't just dump any butter into a cup of coffee for the benefits. The recipe is very specific.

Start with 1 cup (8 oz.) of filtered water. Bring it to a boil. Then put 2 ½ Tablespoons of freshly ground beans (preferably Bulletproof® Upgraded(TM) Coffee beans) and the water into a French press. Let the coffee steep for four minutes in the French press.

In a blender, put 2 Tablespoons (or "much more") of grass-fed, unsalted butter or ghee, the freshly brewed coffee and 1 Teaspoon Bulletproof® Upgraded(TM) Brain Octane(TM). (The "octane" is a coconut-palm oil blend called MCT which stands for medium chain triglycerides.) Mix everything together until it turns frothy and is ready to drink.

The claims made are numerous. Supposedly you'll get a jolt of energy, it'll sharpen your mind while it helps you slim down. In fact, Dave Asprey the inventor of Bulletproof ® coffee says, "...it has metabolic effects. Like it helps you lose weight, and it makes you feel amazing focus, for hours and hours."

So let's look into the claims. True or false?

You'll get a jolt of energy. That's true, but it's not because of anything proprietary in Bulletproof ® coffee. Regular coffee has caffeine, a known stimulant. But you can get that jolt from the decaffeinated version as well. The "energy" comes from the calories in butter. ANY food that has calories gives you "energy." A calorie is simply a measure of energy.

It'll sharpen your mind. That's true, but not because of any special ingredients in the "Brain Octane(TM)" or the special beans. Once again, caffeine is a known stimulant and has been shown to increase mental focus. But if you get the decaffeinated version, the benefit comes from calories.

Your brain uses up to 20% of the energy your body produces to function. First thing in the morning you don't have a lot of calories to help your brain work. Drinking coffee with calories in it gives your brain energy to work better. It's the calories, not the special ingredients that'll sharpen your mind. You get the same effect, plus beneficial fiber that'll reduce your risk of heart attack if you just eat a bowl of oatmeal.

It's going to help you lose weight. That's false. There are no clinical studies that show drinking coffee with butter or any other ingredient promoted by Bulletproof ® will help you lose weight. Unfortunately, claiming that his product can "help you lose weight" is only unethical, not illegal. Supplement companies can claim their products "enhance" things like weight loss without a shred of evidence.

Mr. Asprey, if you spent "15 years and over $300,000 to hack [your] own biology" to come up with Bulletproof ® coffee, why didn't you take just a little more time and money to do a clinical trial? Prove what you claim is true?

Drinking coffee with butter and coconut oil is just a way to get you to replace your morning coffee habit with ingredients sold by the Bulletproof ® company. You might gain weight if you do it regularly because of the extra calories.

The REST of the Story...

On the Bulletproofexec.com website is a little story about how Dave Asprey came up with the idea for butter in his coffee. Here are his exact words.

"I learned about the power of butter at 18,000 feet of elevation near Mt. Kailash in Tibet. I staggered into a guest house from the -10 degree weather and was literally rejuvenated by a creamy cup of yak butter tea. The biohacker in me asked, 'why?'..."

I can tell him why. When people are at higher elevations, they burn more calories. At 7,000 feet, the thin air makes breathing difficult and increases your body's metabolic rate. Someone sitting at 7,000 feet doing nothing, burns as many calories as someone exercising at sea level.

Climb up another 11,000 feet where Mr. Asprey was and you're burning calories so fast it's hard to keep weight on. When people climb Mount McKinley in Alaska, they lose an average of 10 to 20 pounds over a three-week climb. Drinking butter in coffee is one of many ways climbers add calories so they have enough energy to finish the climb.

Climbers also eat gut bombs known as Hello Dollies. It's a mixture of chocolate and butterscotch chips, coconut, sweetened condensed milk and pecans baked together. A single serving has 614 calories and 31.5 grams of fat. It's fine for climbers burning 5,500 calories a day, but a dietary disaster for the rest of us. The same is true for butter-filled coffee.

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