Bullet Proof Coffee Is Silly And Useless…. Here’s Why.

A year ago I was introduced to a little something known as “Bullet Proof” Coffee.

The first thought that came to mind is, “Wow! coffee served in a Kevlar mug, I love it!

To my dismay, upon further investigation I realized  that was not what bullet proof coffee was at all.

Instead, I found bullet proof coffee to simply be a normal cup of coffee that has somewhere in the neighborhood of  400 calories of fat added to it from butter and/or what are known as MCTs (medium chain trigylcerides – as found in coconut oil)

The inexplicable addition of this fat is not meant to increase the coffees penchant for repelling bullets, nor will it bestow this attribute upon those who drink it.

Rather, this poorly named “bullet proof” coffee, is supposed to offer some novel benefit to metabolism and mental acuity.

There are two problems with this claim, however:

1.  We kind of already definitely know that the caffeine in coffee is proven to enhance  mental alertness and reduce perceptions of fatigue in the absence  of butter and  coffee has been helping people with this for years, long before this bullet proofing concept came along. There is no good evidence to support the notion that the added fat in bullet proof coffee somehow amplifies the effecs of caffeine.

2.  The average person simply cannot afford to displace 400 calories worth of healthy, nutrient dense foods with saturated, non-essential fatty acids.  Whatever modest “metabolic boost” these fats offer pales in comparison to the calories they will cost you. Sure, adding a bunch of fat to your coffee will make you feel more full than drinking nothing but plain coffee, but if you are truly seeking  sustained energy, enhanced focus and satiation…. use those calories to eat a REAL breakfast, which will keep you far more satisfied and much better nourished.

Why is eating a real breakfast better than bullet proofing your coffee?

Adults who eat breakfast tend to have a lower risk of certain types of chronic disease and associated risk factors.

Breakfast , however, is NOT a miracle meal that is guaranteed to help you lose weight.

What it is, however, is an opportunity for you to include healthful foods into your diet that you may not otherwise incorporate.

If you are someone who makes “less wise” food choices in the face of uncontrolled hunger, eating breakfast may be a smart choice for weight management.

Why? A healthy breakfast that includes whole foods rich fibre and protein is very effective at keeping you satiated and providing you many of the nutrients you may potentially fall short in.

Bullet Proof coffee, which is literally nothing but dietary fat and very low in essential nutrients, is not.

But what about the studies that show MCTs help with weight loss?

Yes, you will encounter studies that show MCTs may modestly support weight loss because they take more energy to breakdown than other common sources of fat.

These studies are essentially comparing the use of MCT Oil vs Olive Oil and they bear pretty much no relevance to my argument.

I am arguing that the satiating, nourishing and thermic effects of the protein + fibre in a strong breakfast FAR outweigh the fact that MCTs may require slightly more energy to breakdown then Olive Oil.

Those studies do provide some argument that 400 calories of MCTs in your coffee may be better for weight loss than 400 calories of olive oil though… But who cares about that?

Here is what 430 calories of real food at breakfast will get you:

1/2 cup Steel Cut Oats  – 150 calories

1 medium apple – 95 calories

1/8 cup almonds – 100 calories

1 cup skim or soy milk – 85 calories


An Awesome Breakfast – 430 calories and an UNTOLD quantity of essential nutrients

The math does not lie and the metabolic, nutritional satiety benefits you will gain from this meal is incomparable.

Oh and guess what, you STILL get the benefits of caffeine because you are consuming the part of the “bullet proof” coffee that actually does anything for you – the caffeine.

Final Verdict

Although you could technically consume it with a bullet proof vest on, bullet proof coffee will offer you literally no protection against ballistics or projectiles.

Sure the added fat blends might provide you a slightly better feeling of energy and satiety than JUST coffee in the morning, but there is no way and no justification to regularly choose bullet proof coffee over a healthy balanced breakfast.

If you like to enjoy it as a treat once in a while ( or you just use very little added fat) or you have insanely high caloric needs and adding butter to your coffee is the only way to fulfil them, go ahead.

Or hey, maybe bullet proof coffee just makes you the happiest person in the world, who am I to get in the way?

Unfortunately, the average person has to be very mindful of their caloric intake (  believe me, I wish we could all just eat whatever we wanted, but many of us consume calories beyond our needs.) and  it is hard to justify spending 400+ calories on fat that is added to your coffee and offering you very little from a nutritional perspective.

My advice? Stick to normal coffee and a real breakfast if you want to be healthy, focused and satisfied in the morning.

Don’t know what a real breakfast looks like? Take a look at my article and learn how to eat breakfast like a champ.

Until next time,

Andy De Santis RD MPH