“Bulletproof coffee” is a drink containing coffee and added butter or coconut oil. It has gained popularity through claims that it gives long-lasting energy, boosts concentration and keeps you fuller for longer. But is there any validity to the reports?

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Bulletproof coffee is a blend of coffee with butter and other fats including coconut oil. The resulting drink is much higher in calories than a typical cup of coffee, simply because adding fats or oils to foods increases the energy level.

While adding fat to coffee will take longer to digest in the body (therefore keeping you fuller for longer), there is currently no support for the claim that it provides long lasting energy, boosts concentration or that it is an appetite suppressant; more research is needed in this area. Additionally, fats such as coconut oil and butter are rich in saturated fatty acids, which the body converts into cholesterol1. Dietary guidelines advise that intakes of saturated fatty acids are limited1 and replaced with unsaturated fats to contribute to the maintenance of normal blood cholesterol levels2.

It is proposed that it is the caffeine within a bulletproof coffee which boosts energy, rather than the added butter or coconut oil; caffeine is associated with an increase in alertness and performance3,4. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has concluded a 75mg serving of caffeine – the amount found in approximately one regular cup of coffee – increases both attention (concentration) and alertness, mainly in situations of low arousal4. For more information on coffee and mental performance, take a look here.

References

  1. WHO ‘Healthy Diet’ Available at: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/healthy-diet
  2. EU Health Claims Register.  Available at: http://ec.europa.eu/food/safety/labelling_nutrition/claims/register/public/?event=register.home
  3. Nehlig A. (2016) Effects of coffee/caffeine on brain health and disease: What should I tell my patients? Pract Neurol, 16(2):89-95.
  4. EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA) (2011) Scientific Opinion on the substantiation of health claims related to caffeine and increased fat oxidation leading to a reduction in body fat mass (ID 735, 1484), increased energy expenditure leading to a reduction in body weight (ID 1487), increased alertness (ID 736, 1101, 1187, 1485, 1491, 2063, 2103) and increased attention (ID 736, 1485, 1491, 2375) pursuant to Article 13(1) of Regulation (EC) No 1924/20061. EFSA Journal, 9(4):2054.

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