I am a big fan of bulletproof coffee. I drink it almost every day and I’ve written about it here and done an entire podcast episode on it here. With those posts have come a bazillion questions and hopefully I’ll address them all today including a bunch of “dos and don’ts” to make sure that you reap the full benefits of a fat loss friendly breakfast option. As I’ve said a million times before but can’t resist saying again for clarity:
there is nothing magical about bulletproof coffee
Yes, it works for me and it works for other people. But, if you don’t like it, if you don’t like coffee, if you prefer whole foods in the morning – great! Don’t drink it. Do what works for YOU. I personally enjoy bulletproof coffee for several reasons:
- I love coffee in general (if you don’t like coffee or tea, don’t try to force yourself to like it. Eat foods you love)
- It’s quick and easy. Morning is my most productive work time so I don’t want to give up an ounce of that time cooking and cleaning up.
- It gives me what my body responds best to – high quality fats early in the morning
- It keeps me full
- It sets me up to reach my fat burning potential (assuming I make quality food choices for the rest of the day)
With that said, I’ll acknowledge that it is getting a ton of media attention and that leads many people to look to it as the holy grail. It is not. I did an entire podcast episode on fantastic fat loss breakfast options and the majority of them are not bulletproof coffee. Avocado, bacon, eggs, frittatas, omelets, chia pudding, smoked salmon and so many other whole food options are perfectly fantastic fat loss friendly breakfast options. (Don’t miss out on my fave recipes, fat loss tips and more – are you on the free VIP email list yet?
Do: Try it. People will ask, “what does it taste like?” or freak out and say, “I’m terrified to put butter in my coffee!” Let’s everybody take a deep breath and realize that no one is going to force you, you certainly don’t have to try it, but I mean, what’s the worst case scenario? You take a sip and you don’t like it? Just freakin’ try it for yourself. If you hate it, pour it out. No harm, no foul.
Don’t: Stir it. Coffee is water based. MCT oil and butter are fats. If you stir it, the fats will melt and sit on top and your first sip will be pure fat. Use an immersion blender or traditional blender. Shaking is better than stirring, but still not optimal.
Do: Start slowly. People tend to get really hung up on things like, “How much butter??” and “how much oil?” Just like people put different amounts of sugar, cream or milk in their coffee, you make it to your own tastes. If it’s your first time, I don’t recommend starting with 2 tbsp of butter and 2 tbsp of oil, though that is a common recipe you’ll find online. So what’s the right amount? Again, that’s like asking how much cream and sugar you should put in. Tweak, adjust and find what tastes best to you and what makes you feel the best.
Don’t: Let it get cold. You might be used to letting your coffee sit for a couple hours while you go about your morning. What happens when melted butter cools? It solidifies. Take it from my experience – drink it while it’s hot!
Do: Pay attention. How do you know if you’re overdoing it? How do you know if it is working for you? You’ve got to pay attention. Write down what you eat, how much, and when. Measure your waist and hip circumference and recheck it every couple weeks so you can determine if you’re burning fat or not.
Don’t: Think of this as a light breakfast. If you use a couple tbsp of butter and couple tbsp of oil, that’s a good 400 calories. Just adding this to what you normally eat for breakfast without making any subtractions could set you up for energy overload. This is not a fasting meal. It is a meal. It is a highly energy dense meal. Refer to the previous “do”. Monitor your progress and adjust accordingly.
Frequently Asked Questions
- If I only have it for breakfast, am I still fasting?
Nope, you’re not. Any time you add fuel (calories), you take your body from fasting mode to digesting mode. Just because it’s liquid doesn’t mean you’re still fasting. However, it is a fat loss friendly option compared to oatmeal, cereal, bagels, etc. When you add calories, you break your fast. Period.
- Where can I buy MCT oil?
I’ve seen it at Whole Foods but I personally buy mine on Amazon. Here’s the brand I buy.
- Does it matter if I use coconut oil instead of MCT oil?
Not really. This is what I call a “small rock”. It won’t really make a big difference. MCT oil is pure medium chain triglycerides. Refer back to this post to understand the benefits of MCTs. The fat in coconut oil is approximately 80% MCTs. So essentially, MCT oil is a more concentrated form of MCTs. However, coconut oil is generally less processed. Coconut oil also has a mild coconut flavor. I use pure MCT oil bc I don’t like the coconut flavor in my coffee. Either way, not a big deal.
- What is the best type of coffee to use?
Ah, the subject of so much debate. I consider this also a small rock. You can make bulletproof coffee with any kind of coffee. It is true that there is low quality coffee and high quality coffee, coffee with more toxins and coffee with fewer toxins. I really emphasize degrees of improvement. If you’re switching from a Chick-fil-A breakfast (like I did), any coffee is going to be a significant improvement over your previous choices. With that said, there are lots of organic coffee options out there. This is the one I like best.
- How much is too much?
There is no black and white answer here because it depends on what else you eat throughout the day, your goals, your activity level, your sensitivity to caffeine, etc. This is where you have to do the work for yourself. If your goal is fat loss, monitor your progress via waist and hip circumference. If you aren’t losing weight, you might be drinking too much of it but it might also be because you’re eating too much throughout the rest of the day. If you aren’t able to fall asleep at night, it might be too much. If you feel really jittery, it might be too much. If I drink a lot of bulletproof coffee, I am mindful of how much I eat throughout the rest of the day. If I drink less, I eat a little bit more. If I’m more active, I have more wiggle room. There are a ton of factors here and it boils down to monitoring your progress, your hormonal biofeedback and adjusting accordingly.
- I don’t like coffee, can I make bulletproof tea?
Absolutely. You can substitute tea for coffee. But remember, you can also make great, whole food choices in the morning and those will be great for fat loss and energy as well. Check out Q&A 6 of the Primal Potential Podcast for lots more fat loss friendly breakfast options.
- Is it wrong to have food alongside my bulletproof coffee?
This totally depends on how much butter and oil you put in your coffee, what you plan to eat, what you eat throughout the rest of the day and how active you are. If I decide I want whole foods for breakfast, I’ll typically scale back the amount of butter and oil in my coffee or drink it black. You have to account for all the other factors and then monitor your progress. Your body and your results will give you this answer.
- Can I add sweetener to my bulletproof coffee?
You can do whatever you want, haha. First try it without sweeteners. You’d be suprised how palatable it is on its own. If you do add sweetener, make it non caloric. Adding sugar (or eating carbohydrates) kind of defeats the purpose.
- What’s the difference between bulletproof coffee and keto coffee?
Well first of all, bulletproof coffee is obviously ketogenic diet friendly. However, if you were to google the two, you’d see that keto coffee just adds more fat via egg yolk and or heavy cream. Keto coffee therefore has more fat and more calories (energy).
- I am hungry a couple hours after I drink it, am I doing something wrong?
Nope, not necessarily. Some people respond better to whole foods and a lot of that has to do with psychological satisfaction that comes with chewing. You’ve got to do what works for you. Also, some people really need fiber (from non-starchy veggies) to help fill them up in the morning. Eggs don’t work for me for breakfast because they don’t fill me up. That doesn’t mean something is wrong with me, it just means I make other choices. If bulletproof coffee doesn’t work for you, no worries, just make a different choice.
How Elizabeth Makes Bulletproof Coffee
First of all, I want to emphasize that I make it differently depending on a few factors including:
- How hungry I am
- What I plan to eat during the rest of the day
- My planned workout for the day
An average day includes 2 cups of bulletproof coffee prior to a fairly intense workout. In that case, here’s exactly what I’ll do:
- Pour 1 tbsp of MCT oil into a large glass jar
- Add 1 tbsp of Kerrygold unsalted butter
- Add 2-3 cups of hot brewed coffee (one of my faves is Death Wish coffee)
- Blend with an immersion blender for approximately 20 seconds
I use only 1 tbsp of butter and oil because I know I’m going to enjoy a second cup shortly thereafter. If I’m running out the door or don’t have time, I’ll do twice the oil and twice the butter.
Some days I know I’m going to be out of the house and very busy and I want to set myself up to be as satisfied as possible for as long as possible. In those cases, I’ll get a little fancy and add more calories so it stays with me longer. That might look something like this:
- 1 tbsp of MCT oil
- 1 tbsp Kerrygold unsalted butter
- 1 raw egg yolk
- 1 tsp cacao powder
- 1 tbsp organic heavy cream
- 2-3 cups of hot brewed coffee
- Blend for 20 seconds with an immersion blender
This, along with a lot of water and probably some more black coffee, will sustain my energy a lot longer than my normal routine.