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Butter in Coffee News: Gizmodo Hacks Bulletproof Coffee

Bulletproof Coffee get hacked by Fitmodo

Can Bulletproof Coffee and Butter Coffee Stand Up to Science?

Fitmodo, a sub-modo(?) of Gizmodo, took some pretty big slashes at the health claims made by Bulletproof Coffee, and butter coffee in general. Many of these claims are things that drive what we do at Coffee Blocks.

Fitmodo’s main takedown tools were a mixture of conventional wisdom, “it doesn’t work for me”, and the general lack of a significant body of specific scientific studies. #nerdalliteration

Here are the claims Fitmodo took on and the Coffee Blocks perspective.

Mycotoxins:

If you’re familiar with Bulletproof Coffee, then you’re probably familiar with Dave Asprey’s concern that most coffee beans contain mycotoxins. Mycotoxins are bad for you and that’s why he sells his specially roasted Bulletproof Coffee Beans. He says he has a special processing method the removes nearly all mycotoxins.

Fitmodo thinks that the mycotoxin issue is solely a marketing tool to sell more Bulletproof Coffee. They point out that the coffee bean industry has known about mycotoxins for decades. In fact, that’s why wet-processing was developed. Coffee beans now have to meet stringent regulations and most beans are way below the threshold. Because of this, Fitmodo says that the Bulletproof Coffee Beans are not worth the cost.

The Coffee Blocks Take:

Mycotoxins can be dangerous, but the coffee industry as a whole has taken steps to remove them. We don’t see mycotoxins as a major issue in our coffee. That being said, we do believe that the quality of coffee is still very important and that’s why we use the best we can find when we make Coffee Blocks. Ours is organic fair trade coffee from Colombia. It, along with coconut oil, makes for a delicious cup of butter coffee.  

MCT Oil:

Fitmodo’s main gripe about the Bulletproof Coffee brand MCT Oil is the cost. They say for the same price you can get twice as much MCT Oil from NOW Foods and the two brands are basically the same. In Fitmodo’s unscientific study, they find there to be no “detectable difference” in the flavor.

The Coffee Blocks Take:

We think MCT Oil is amazing, but we believe using all of the coconut oil is even better. When MCT Oil is processed out of coconut oil and palm oil, the lauric acid is removed. Lauric acid is a great virus fighter, bacteria destroyer, and fungus killer. These are all tools we want to take advantage of. Nothing has more lauric acid than coconut oil.

Do want to take your Coffee Blocks to the next level? Then add some MCT Oil to your next Coffee Block. Not only will you get a great tasting butter coffee with all of the benefits of coconut oil, you’ll also get an extra shot of fat burning energy from the MCT Oil.

The first section of the Fitmodo piece focused on the claims of the Bulletproof Coffee branded products. The second took on some of the reasons people put butter in coffee.

Claim 1 - Programming your body to burn fat:

The basic idea is that having butter coffee as a breakfast replacement will keep you in a ketogenic state; burning fat, instead of sugar, for energy. The thinking goes like this. Your body has used all the available glucose (sugar energy) in your body overnight. When you wake up your body has been fasting and is currently using stored fat for energy. Instead of having a carb rich meal, which would take you out of the fat burning ketosis, you have a low carb high fat drink or meal to keep you burning fat for energy.

Fitmodo doesn’t say that the claim is flat out wrong. Their issue is that there aren't an overwhelming amount of scientific studies to support the claim and those studies that do support it are too old. Does science age? ;)

The Coffee Blocks Take:

Ketosis is a well understood process. Whether you have Coffee Blocks, Bulletproof Coffee, some other butter coffee, or a low carb/high fat meal in the morning, you are taking advantage of the fat burning nature of ketosis.

Claim 2 - Butter in Coffee is Delicious:

Well duh, of course butter coffee is delicious. But, like everything taste related, the deliciousness of butter coffee is subjective. The author of the article is a fan of the flavor of Bulletproof Coffee. He points out that putting butter in coffee is basically the same as adding cream to coffee. Butter is just churned cream, after all.

The Coffee Blocks Take:

We love butter coffee. We’ve been putting coconut oil and butter in coffee for nearly 2 years. We’ve also found a few other ingredients that we think makes it taste even better, egg yolk and vanilla. Our store is full of reviews of people who also love the flavor of Coffee Blocks Instant Butter Coffee... and a few who don’t. Taste is subjective.

Claim 3 - MCT Oil is a Miracle Food:

Again, Fitmodo cites the lack of scientific studies done specifically on MCT Oil in humans (there've been a few, but more done on coconut oil.) Fitmodo admits that the evidence indicates that fat loss may occur in subjects that eat more MCT and coconut oils, but without overwhelming evidence they think “the conclusions are far from solid.”

Fotmodo takes the same position regarding the claim that MCT oil can boost cognitive function. There's evidence that it can help can help the brains of those with Alzheimer's Disease, but more scientific studies need to happen before those results can be applied to the population as a whole.

The Coffee Blocks Take:

We like being on the cutting edge. We use coconut oil in our Instant Butter Coffee because we think there’s enough evidence about it's effects on weight loss, brain function, and in fighting fungi, bacteria, and viruses. Is the science complete? No, but the potential benefits outweigh the side effects, of which, there's really only one, higher cholesterol. That's a subject another blog post. Our favorite benefit is that coconut oil makes butter coffee taste even more amazing.

Claim 4 - Putting Butter in Coffee prevents caffeine spike and crashes:

The basic idea is that since caffeine is fat soluble, it gets absorbed into the coconut oil and butter in coffee instead of directly into your bloodstream. As the fat from the coconut oil and butter are digested, the caffeine is released. Digesting fat is a slower process than with carbs.  It’ll take longer for the caffeine to hit your system, so you won't feel the typical caffeine spike and crash.

Fitmodo relies on personal experience with this one. They said they didn’t feel as jittery after drinking butter coffee as they normally do from drinking black coffee. They did say they felt “over-caffeinated… and still had a crash”

The Coffee Blocks Take:

Surprisingly, Fitmodo didn’t call out the lack of scientific evidence for this claim. I looked and looked and had a tough time finding studies on the effects of caffeine absorption by dietary fat, like in butter coffee. So basing it on personal experience, I don’t feel the typical caffeine spike or crash when putting butter in coffee. Perhaps, like taste, this is different for each individual butter coffee drinker.

Claim 5 - Having Bulletproof Coffee/Butter Coffee for breakfast will keep you full until lunch:

From the article, it appears the author tried replacing breakfast with butter coffee for 1 day… one day. After that exhaustive experiment, they concluded that it doesn’t work as breakfast replacement.

The Coffee Blocks Take:

When changing habits you need to allow your body time to adapt. It takes a little fortitude and leniency. If you’ve been eating a high carb breakfast for years, it’s going to take more than a day for your body to adapt to having a low carb, high fat breakfast like butter coffee. In our experience, it takes about a week to be able to make it to lunch after putting butter in coffee. Our general guideline is to have a Coffee Block for breakfast and then eat when you are hungry.

Listen to your body.

Is putting butter in coffee a fad? Adding fats, like butter, to coffee has been around for centuries. Putting cream in coffee has been common for decades. Since butter and cream are the exact same thing, it’s not a stretch to imagine that butter coffee will have some staying power.

If evidence continues to build showing the health benefits of coconut oil, while reversing the negative wrap that butter has, then there won’t be many easier ways to take advantage than by putting a little coconut oil and butter in coffee… or you could just make a Coffee Block. Simple, healthy, and delicious.

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