Dave Asprey is a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and leader in the "biohacking" movement. His most popular innovation, however, is a drink – Bulletproof coffee, which is a mix of oil, butter, and coffee beans. Asprey had the idea in Tibet when, exhausted from hiking in the Himalayas, he was treated by some locals to a tea creamed with yak butter. He felt immediately revitalized. Upon returning to the States, he began researching buttered beverages and eventually developed a coffee-based version.
Asprey and a growing group of Bulletproof enthusiasts think he has come up with the ultimate cup of joe for working out and getting focused and energized. When we last spoke to Asprey, he had been hanging out in Portland on the tour bus of Third Eye Blind, whose band members swear by Bulletproof coffee. "They want the mental clarity and energy so they can rip it up for two hours," says Asprey. Same goes for other musicians, players on the Los Angeles Lakers and a couple World Series of Poker champions. But does it live up to the why? Here's our breakdown of Asprey's intriguing ingredients.
Asprey's Bulletproof Coffee
- 2 cups of hot coffee brewed with low-toxin beans. (Bulletproof sells such a brand, called Upgraded Coffee.)
- 1 to 2 tbsp of medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil. Bulletproof sells its own purified MCT product called Upgraded Brain Octane.
- 2 tbsp of unsalted butter from grass-fed cows
Brew the coffee. Combine the MCT oil, butter, and coffee in a blender, and liquefy until a thick layer of foam forms on top.
What is MCT?
Asprey claims the MCTs in Bulletproof coffee help with mental acuity and energy levels. Compared to longer-chain fats, MCTs are digested more quickly and are less likely to get stored in fatty tissue. One of the most recent studies on MCTs found that they did promote weight loss but didn't boost exercise performance. Whether they give an overall energy boost is still not certain.
Compared to cream, butter also has more butyric acid, a short-chain fatty acid that possesses anti-inflammatory properties, and some research has shown it can promote brain function and gut health. Butter also has more vitamins, such as A, D, and K2, than cream and is lower in sugar.
The famous naturopath, Dr. Andrew Weil, pointed out on his website that buttered coffee is a common drink around the world – and Bulletproof coffee simply adds another relatively healthy fat to the mix. If you're active and eat a balanced, nutritious diet, adding a little fat like that in Bulletproof coffee is perfectly acceptable – and might give you a bit more energy than your everyday cup.