Bulletproof Coffee Vs. Breakfast
I haven’t written up a blog post in some time, but I wanted to for this topic, since one of my main points is quite visual — and that point is that a real-food breakfast is superior to Bulletproof Coffee. So, yesterday, I decided to take some pictures of what I was preparing for my first meal (at around 11 a.m.), both the ingredients and the final product (delicious, by the way!). I also took a photo of typical ingredients for Bulletproof Coffee.
I then entered all of the ingredients into Nutrition Data, creating custom recipes for my breakfast as well as the Bulletproof Coffee. You can see the nutrition information below for both, and even further down, I compare some of the data side-by-side in a chart.
Here are the common ingredients for butter coffee:
Here is the nutrition data for this “meal”:
A Real-food Breakfast
Some may not consider the sprouted grain & seed tortilla a “real food” item (a topic for another post). An egg or a sweet potato could easily be substituted here. Here are the ingredients I used:
Here’s the final product after sautéing the vegetables and mushrooms in a bit of vegetable broth, toasting the sprouted tortilla, and reheating & mashing the pinto beans:
And here’s the nutrition data for this breakfast meal:
Let’s compare some of the data side-by-side (on mobile devices or smaller screens, Bulletproof data will appear on top for each category):
As you can see, the real-food breakfast packs a solid nutritional punch in just 260 calories. It is nutrient dense and calorie sparse, while the exact opposite is true for Bulletproof Coffee — it is calorie dense and nutritionally sparse.
For those concerned with Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratios, notably the Bulletproof Coffee has 14.2 times as much Omega 6 fat as it does Omega 3s. The real-food breakfast, though, has more Omega 3 fats than it does Omega 6 fats — nearly 1.3 times as much.
You might also notice that according to Nutrition Data, the real-food breakfast:
- is a good source of fiber and many nutrients
- carries a low glycemic load
- is satiating (i.e. it ranks very highly on fullness factor and being nutritious, also just looking at the bulk of the meal is a good indicator that it will literally fill you up. Also, two full portions may be appropriate for some, providing twice the bulk, energy, and nutrition.)
- promotes weight loss
- promotes optimum health
On the other hand, the company that tells us we can lose weight without exercise and stay healthy with less than 5 hours of sleep also promotes and sells the high-caffeine, high-fat, high-calorie meal replacement beverage, which it ranks as Bulletproof — the company’s highest ranking for foods.
Let’s assume the best of intentions and suppose there is no conflict of interest with this recommendation. Well, I’ll still choose the real-food breakfast, which I ate in the late morning after 7.5 hours of sleep, a 3-mile walk, and some desk work. Incidentally, according to the Bulletproof Diet, several of the ingredients in the real-food breakfast lean toward the “toxic” side of their food-ranking scale. I’m not concerned. At all.
Finally, I’ll add a few points for you to consider:
- There are no studies that indicate the daily (or less frequent) drinking of 4 tablespoons of fat as a meal replacement is beneficial to long-term health. If you know of any please pass them along. The only diet I’m aware of that advocates something similar is the Shangri-la Diet created by the late Seth Roberts. Whether this practice is especially taxing on the cardiovascular system remains a very valid question. Roberts died in 2014 at the age of 61. According to Wikipedia, “occlusive coronary artery disease and cardiomegaly contributed to his death.” Bulletproof Coffee is not only inferior to real food, but it absolutely may pose a risk to long-term health.
- Do you really wish to drink calories in a greasy beverage or would you rather eat calories in a wide variety of nutrient dense foods? Which do you think your body is better equipped for?
- There is no known ancestral example for drinking large amounts of oil on a regular basis. Even the Inuit’s practice of eating Pemmican or dipping food into seal fat is not similar. In addition to lacking a natural example for us to draw information from, there is also no scientific research on Bulletproof Coffee.
- Bulletproof Coffee almost certainly increases LDL & HDL cholesterol and triglycerides in most individuals. See this case study: http://www.medpagetoday.com/MeetingCoverage/AACE/45810 (video and story, link opens in new tab). Note: this person’s Triglyceride-to-HDL ratio also moved in a worse direction, but was still within what is considered the normal range.
- For people on a ketogenic diet to treat various medical conditions, this beverage might be helpful. However, a nutrient-dense ketogenic approach is still likely preferable for long-term health and longevity. Coconut meat, for example, is approximately 80% fat and it contains far more nutrition and fiber than coconut oil.
- The Bulletproof Diet: simplistic, invalid and unscientific: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/11256546/The-Bulletproof-Diet-simplistic-invalid-and-unscientific.html
- The Bulletproof Diet is Anything But: http://health.usnews.com/health-news/health-wellness/articles/2014/12/24/the-bulletproof-diet-is-anything-but
- The Bulletproof Diet is Everything Wrong with Eating in America: http://www.vox.com/2014/12/19/7416939/bulletproof-coffee
- Why Bulletproof Diet / Coffee is Based on a Fraud: http://www.scienceofrunning.com/2014/12/why-bulletproof-dietcoffee-is-based-on.html
To hear more of my thoughts on Bulletproof Coffee and the practice of drinking large amounts of fat regularly, check out Latest in Paleo Episode 111: Mystery Solved and more recently (and thoroughly) Episode 127: Bite the Bullet.