So this whole “bulletproof” thing has been around for a few years now, and for much, much longer than that if you look at the idea of putting fats and oil into coffee, and not just the current name for this trend.
Adding ghee, butter, or coconut oil (or a combination of them) has been something that different cultures have been doing for hundreds, if not thousands, of years.
The Bulletproof Deception
Bulletproof is the brand name for a company that sells a variety of health products that span the gamut from effective and proven supplements, all the way to “wait, somebody actually paid money for this?”
For example a “Whole Body Vibration Plate” that shakes while you stand on top of it, in order to “detoxify your body” for about a grand and a half.
Aside from their controversial products like the vibration thing, they also sell coffee. What could possibly be controversial about coffee, right? But Bulletproof caused a stir by claiming that many other brands of coffee are selling beans that are contaminated with special toxins, and many of the world’s top coffee producers don’t possess the technology to properly remove these toxins, or don’t bother. It’s that fear-marketing that gets you to spend 5x as much on “bulletproof coffee” than the regular stuff, because once you’re convinced that regular coffee is filled with poison, that $20 bag isn’t looking so bad anymore.
But have no fear! Allegedly, Bulletproof is the one brand that’s been able to test for these toxins, and remove them from their beans… so you’d have to be A FOOL to buy regular coffee, right?
Well, maybe not…
The counter argument is that these specific toxins are more or less eliminated during the roasting process, and really not something you need to worry about anyways. Here’s a bit more information, and some more here.
Gizmodo has been very critical of these mycotoxin claims, along with many of the other claims made by Dave Asprey, the CEO of the company that markets Bulletproof Coffee. Here is an excerpt from their most recent piece on the topic:
“Those proprietary beans, as we’ve summarized in the past, have supposedly been stripped of “mycotoxins,” chemicals produced by fungus that the coffee industry already knows about. The Bulletproof website cites studies that say there’s mold on coffee, then extrapolates that to say there’s mycotoxins, then extrapolates that to say that one specific mycotoxin is bad because “it hits your kidneys, causes cancer, and messes up your immune system. Trust me, I know.” If someone trying to sell you a product ever says “Trust me, I know,” do not trust them.”
The Gizmodo article goes on to dismiss any worries one might have about these strange molds in their coffee, essentially coming to the conclusions that the whole premise of needing these special “Bulletproof coffee beans” is just scare tactics in order to sell overpriced coffee beans:
“Mycotoxins will not be the death of you. One 1980 paper simply stopped studying mycotoxins since coffee is already roasted (killing mostly anything microbial) and any remaining toxins are at levels far below what’s worth worrying about. Another study of Spanish individuals found mycotoxin consumption far below the tolerable daily intake. In sum, no, you do not need to worry about mold shitting in your coffee. Let’s move on.”
Joe Rogan’s supplement company, Onnit, used to sell Bulletproof Coffee products until they did a little more digging and didn’t like what they found, allegedly. There was a whole controversy where Bulletproof made claims, and those claims allegedly didn’t hold water, and finally Joe Rogan and Onnit broke off their partnership with Bulletproof. Rather than try to paraphrase it, here is Joe’s side:
Still want to know how to make bulletproof coffee? There’s nothing wrong with the drink, once you strip away the hype and allegedly false claims. At the end of the day, it’s coffee and it’s butter, both of those are great things, and they’re great when you put them together too, but just don’t expect some magical weight-loss cancer-killing potion. It’s a coffee, with butter it in.
There are definitely positives to drinking it, especially if it helps you feel full longer in the morning, gives you a nice energy boost, and helps prevent snacking throughout the day, just make sure you have realistic expectations. As part of a good diet and daily exercise, bulletproof coffee can absolutely help you lose weight if it gives you a boost of energy to workout or keeps you fuller longer, but these traits aren’t necessarily unique from just regular coffee or a fatty snack like an avocado.