The Downsides Of Drinking Bulletproof Coffee

If you've dabbled in ketogenic diets, paleo, or intermittent fasting, you've likely stumbled across Bulletproof Coffee, the brainchild of David Asprey, the founder of the Bulletproof Diet. It sounds tempting: Swap out the hassle of making a healthy breakfast with the simplicity of blending ghee (clarified butter) and MCT (medium chain triglyceride) oil into your coffee to stay energized and satisfied until lunch (via Bulletproof). Unfortunately, this fat-filled brew may not be ideal for you — or your digestive system. 

From a practical standpoint, adding a lot of MCT oil to your coffee, especially if you're new to a ketogenic diet or intermittent fasting lifestyle, may be rough on your digestive system (via Vice). Even the Bulletproof Coffee creators suggest starting with a small amount of MCT oil and gradually building up, since it's been known to cause stomach cramps and even diarrhea if you're not used to it (via Level Up Superfoods). 

While many people have touted the importance of fat in a healthy diet — and certainly some fats are vital to health — Bulletproof Coffee is packed with saturated fat. Saturated fat is a contentious source of debate in the nutrition world, and while some studies have repudiated past research, it has been linked to increased risk of heart disease. A higher intake of saturated fats, like butter, may even raise your cholesterol. Generally speaking, most dietary guidelines advise limiting your intake of saturated fat, and not filling your coffee with it (via Healthline). A single serving of this type of coffee is over the 13 grams of saturated fat per day that the American Heart Association recommends (via Medical News Today).

Can I still drink Bulletproof Coffee if I like it?

If you love the taste of MCT oil and ghee in your morning Americano, you can keep sipping: It likely won't have any negative effects. But remember that a cup of the coffee can easily be 400 calories. And you should ensure that you're getting plenty of nutrient-dense foods at the rest of your meals. 

As Healthline notes, if you replace your breakfast with a Bulletproof Coffee, you're losing roughly a third of the nutrients that you would normally eat in a day — especially when it comes to fiber found in vegetables and whole grains, as well as protein. "While adding butter to your coffee may make you feel fuller for longer, so will eating a balanced meal in the morning," registered dietitian Amanda Baker Lemein told Byrdie.

If you do decide to make Bulletproof Coffee, use high-quality ingredients: Make sure that your coffee, ghee and MCT oils are from reputable sources. Butter should be grass-fed, organic, and unsalted. And for optimal taste, make sure you're blending your coffee, not just stirring in the butter.