With health movements like the Atkins diet and the keto diet gaining recent widespread popularity, there has been a general movement to limit carbs as a fuel source in our diets and rely more heavily on fats and protein. Coffee lovers hopped on this health kick bandwagon and introduced “bulletproof coffee,” also known as “keto coffee.” The recipe calls for black coffee, grass-fed butter, and medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oils blended to replace your normal breakfast.
The idea is pretty radical and was met with some strong opposition. To clear the air, we’re taking a look at five health benefits of bulletproof (or keto) coffee that have been substantiated by scientific research, and we’ll also take a look at some drawbacks and potential concerns.
The 5 Health Benefits of Bulletproof & Keto Coffee:
1. It Helps You Feel Full
Part of the benefit of replacing your first meal of the day with bulletproof coffee is that it can leave you feeling fuller for longer periods than other breakfast options.
The butter and MCT oil in keto coffee are high in calories, and according to Healthline.com, fat can help you feel satiated longer than proteins and carbs can. Opting for bulletproof coffee over other carb-heavy breakfast options like toast, waffles, pancakes, or bagels can help reduce that feeling of hunger that often returns shortly after a carb-heavy breakfast.
2. It Can Help You Lose Weight
As part of an otherwise balanced diet, bulletproof coffee can aid in your weight loss journey.
The popularity of keto diets is based on research that suggests that your body, if presented with fat as its main source of ingested fuel, will continue turning to fat stores in your body for energy. Harvard’s School of Public Health suggests that a ketogenic diet, which forces your body into ketosis and reliance on fat for energy, can help reduce fat stores and promote weight loss. As a part of a ketogenic diet, bulletproof coffee may help you burn more stored fat throughout the day.
Additionally, because fat often makes you feel full for longer periods, drinking high-fat bulletproof coffee to replace your breakfast can give you the willpower to eat less throughout the day, especially when mid-morning and early-afternoon snacking would otherwise kick in.
SEE ALSO: The 10 Best Weight Loss Coffees
3. It Assists in Maintaining Overall Health
The grass-fed butter used in the recipe for bulletproof coffee offers conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which is a fatty acid that is said to promote weight loss.
In addition to CLA aiding in shedding fat, this article published on WebMD suggests that CLA can also help limit your chance of heart disease, cancer, and other health ailments, including type-2 diabetes. It’s unclear as to whether these benefits come from the CLA’s ability to aid in fat loss or if there is some other explanation, but limiting these potentially major health concerns is good enough for us no matter what the reason may be!
4. It Improves Brain Function And Memory
While coffee alone has been touted as a focus and memory enhancer, the addition of MCT oil can offer additional mental benefits.
Medical News Today states that MCT oil has been found to reduce the likelihood of Alzheimer’s and dementia while supporting general brain function, alertness, and ability to recall things from memory. Combine this with similar benefits from the caffeine in coffee, and you may notice substantial improvements in mental acuity.
5. It May Reduce the Risk of Diabetes
Another benefit of coffee alone, there is also research to back the reduced risk of diabetes from MCT oil consumption in addition to caffeine.
This scientific paper published on PubMed suggests that multi-chain triglycerides can reduce your risk for type-2 diabetes by helping to reduce weight and fat stores. This benefit may be more directly related to MCT’s ability to help control weight, but again, any health benefit is a good thing in our book!
What Are the Downsides to Drinking Bulletproof Coffee?
These health benefits may make keto coffee sound like the perfect solution for weight loss and for limiting certain health risks, but there are also negative effects this keto-friendly beverage can have.
Firstly, keto coffee is high in calories from fat. It may be beneficial for helping to reduce weight, but it can also cause weight gain if you drink it in addition to your normal breakfast. A cup of bulletproof coffee can have up to a few hundred calories, and if you simply add this to your normal breakfast, you’re very likely to gain weight from the caloric surplus you’ll be creating.
Secondly, a lot of the calories in bulletproof coffee come from saturated fats, which have been linked by the U.S. National Library of Medicine to health risks very similar to what keto diets aim to avoid: diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. It’s advised more or less universally to avoid a high intake of saturated fat, and bulletproof coffee can contain upward of 10g. As part of an otherwise balanced diet low in saturated fat, this may not be too much of an issue, but it’s a concern that should be considered.
Lastly, bulletproof coffee can raise your cholesterol levels. Research published in PubMed has shown that butter has been found to raise low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol more than oils and other fat sources. The study also suggests that high cholesterol can lead to a slew of additional health issues including heart disease.
The Bottom Line
Bulletproof coffee can be a healthy alternative to your normal breakfast, and the compounds in coffee, butter, and MCT oil can boast health benefits which include the promotion of weight loss and a reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, and other major health issues. However, many of the health benefits from drinking bulletproof coffee are a bit of a double-edged sword, as the breakfast concoction can also lead to weight gain, increased cholesterol, and an increased risk of the same health problems.
For these reasons, it’s not a particularly healthy breakfast replacement for daily consumption, but it can be healthy in moderation.
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