I take my coffee black. Aside from the fact that I genuinely enjoy the taste, I prefer the no-fuss approach: coffee, mug, done. Plus, I’ve seen a lack of creamer in the office kitchen ruin a co-worker’s entire morning, and I just don’t need that kind of stress in my life.
But when I heard that a coffee concoction called Bulletproof coffee promised boundless energy and all-day satiety, I was intrigued. The supposedly life-transforming latte is the birth-child of ‘biohacker’ David Asprey and consists of just three surprising ingredients: coffee, MCT oil, and clarified butter (a.k.a. ghee).
As a writer who works full-time and freelances on the side, the idea of steady energy from early morning interviews to late-night writing definitely appealed to me. Curious to see if this fatty brew could ‘hack’ my biology and help me become a master of using and storing energy, I armed myself with the ultimate Bulletproof coffee ingredients—Bulletproof brand coffee grinds, Asprey’s MCT Brain Octane Oil, and ghee—and decided to give it a go for two weeks straight.
According to Asprey, a proper Bulletproof coffee is made by blending a cup of black coffee, up to two tablespoons of Brain Octane Oil, and one or two tablespoons of grass-fed ghee until frothy. But on that first morning I was running late for a call with a cardiologist for a heart health article I was working on, so I just threw all of the ingredients into a mug as I dialed the phone.
Big mistake; the concoction was gross.
I choked down my oily cup of Joe as I asked the cardiologist to walk me through what he eats on a typical day—and that’s when fate intervened. The first thing Rohan Bhansali, M.D., Chief of Cardiology at LIJ Medical Center told me? “I start my morning with a cup of something called ‘Bulletproof coffee.’”
I couldn’t believe it. “Wait, I’m literally drinking that right now!” I told him, eager to pick his brain about how this stuff actually works.
Related: Why Is Everyone Talking About MCTs?
He explained it all: “Bulletproof coffee calls for medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil. This specific type of fat is more easily used by the body and brain for energy, and Bulletproof’s Brain Octane Oil is a refined form of MCT oil that eliminates some of the less effective medium-chain triglyceride,” he said. While our body turns all fats into compounds called ketones that can be used for energy, MCTs are processed in the liver and can churn out those ketones more effectively.
From there, the butter adds calories to help keep you feeling satisfied and energized all morning.
After hanging up the phone and finishing my coffee, I realized that skipping the blender hadn’t been my only mistake that morning: I’d used two full tablespoons of Brain Octane Oil. Asprey recommends starting with just a teaspoon and working your way up—and the sudden lurch in my stomach explained why. The contents of my extra-fatty first Bulletproof coffee had shot straight through my system. I’ve never been so grateful for the short sprint to the bathroom in my studio apartment.
The Next Few Days
The next morning, I used just half a tablespoon of the Brain Octane Oil and blended my Bulletproof coffee until it was nice and frothy. Much to my delight, it tasted like a fancy, creamy cappuccino from an overpriced coffee shop—and my stomach kept quiet.
Throughout the next few days, I definitely felt more awake during the first half of the day. I continued eating breakfast as I had been before, and felt hungry for lunch around 11 o’clock—earlier than usual. As always, I ran out for coffee around three o’clock when my energy tapered off, but more and more noticed I didn’t need to finish it.
On day three I signed up for a boot camp class, wondering if my new Bulletproof beverage would help me power through, and was bummed when it still felt like Struggle City. So far, my life did not feel biohacked.
One Week In
By the end of the first week I had successfully worked up to the full tablespoon of Brain Octane Oil, and that’s when the magic started happening.
Suddenly my go-to breakfast of two eggs, a lean protein (usually homemade turkey sausage), and a handful of strawberries felt like way too much food, so I cut it down to just an egg and a few berries. I also stopped going for that second cup of coffee around mid-afternoon—my three o’clock slump had faded away!
I didn’t exactly feel a turbo boost of energy (it was more like a slow burn), but I found it easier to make it through the day and head home to work some more without dragging my feet. I happened to glance over at the clock while working on a freelance project one night about a week in and was shocked to see it was 10:30—much later than I’d ever been productive!
My newfound steady energy also started to make a difference in my workouts. I was unusually ready to jump into the two morning workouts I’d scheduled that week, and didn’t feel like a sloth as I boxed or got my HIIT on.
After 2 Weeks
By my fourteenth Bulletproof morning, I’d stopped eating breakfast altogether. I’d always sworn by my morning meal, but I just wasn’t hungry. I felt energized and ready to take on whatever chaos was thrown at me all morning long. Around noon I was ready for lunch, but even then I wasn’t ravenous. I let half of my go-to bowl of veggie soup go cold most days and noticed my dinner portions shrink a bit, too.
At that two-week mark, I also made it through my boot camp class without feeling wiped after the warm-up. I didn’t even skimp on that last round of burpees like I usually would!
Yes, making Bulletproof coffee definitely takes more effort than dumping black coffee into my mug and calling it a day, but I’ve continued to drink it even after completing my experiment. My 1980s-era relic of a blender is now a permanent fixture on my counter-top and I’ll take my coffee with plenty of fat in it, thank you!