The beginning of the school year can be a bit of a struggle: balancing classes and homework while keeping energy levels up can be a challenge for students who are too busy to eat square meals and exclude sleep from their priorities.
Recently, Dave Asprey, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, pioneered the breakfast trend, bulletproof coffee, which is rumored to increase energy and brain function. There have been no studies to prove the validity of his claims.
Bulletproof coffee is made by mixing hot coffee, butter or ghee, and a mixture of coconut oil and palm kernel oil. The recipe can be simplified by just adding coconut oil and butter to coffee.
The brain will increase productivity and sharpness when supplied with butter and either oil because these items contain the saturated fats necessary for high brain performance. These saturated fats are usually supplied through the consumption of dairy, meats, or beans, but can also be found in many desserts.
Historically saturated fats have been considered one of the main causes of heart disease and high blood pressure; however, a 2010 study in the American Journal of Nutrition disproved this. The study states that unsaturatated fats, like olive oil, lower chances of said diseases, but that consumption of an excess amount of saturated fats does not necessarily lead to high blood pressure and heart disease. All fats, including saturated fats, are a concentrated source of energy for your body.
“Bulletproof coffee has been targeted for brain power or energy,” said Meagan Omsberg, Boise State medical graduate. “It is because of how they want you to make it (add ghee/butter and coconut oil). Both of those are healthy fats and is what your brain needs to function properly … Your brain functions and survives on fat and keytones, without both of those you will have a decrease in brain
Another important aspect of bulletproof coffee is the high-quality coffee that is used. Asprey claims that most low-quality coffee has high levels of moycotoxins, a metabolite of fungus, which actually slows down your brain processing and can cause grogginess.
“Toxins in cheap coffee steals your mental edge and actually makes you weak, but clean coffee is actually healthy, and gives you important antioxidants,” Asprey said on the official bulletproof website.
According to Natural News writer Alex Malinsky, coffee beans that are low in mycotoxins are usually arabica beans that have been made via wet processing. Both Malinsky and Asprey warn against buying coffee blends because they usually contain a mix of low quality coffee that are high in mycotoxins.
Despite the quality of the coffee, Asprey fails to point out the vitamins and nutrients that consumers will miss out on daily by consuming bulletproof coffee.
According to Megan McGuffey, graduate assistant at Boise State Wellness Services, bulletproof coffee will tide you over, but won’t do much else. McGuffey claims that bulletpoof coffee is lacking all essential vitamins and contains none of the necessary parts of a balanced diet except saturated fat.
“A cup of this coffee contains about roughly 50 grams of fat (mostly saturated fat), zero grams of protein, zero grams of carbohydrates, and some fat soluble vitamins (vitamins A and E),” McGuffey said. “On the other hand, a well-rounded and balanced breakfast would provide some fat, protein, carbohydrate, fiber, and an increased amount of vitamins and minerals.”
From a health standpoint, it is better for a student to eat a balanced breakfast. In addition, McGuffey stated that bulletproof coffee could also be a health hazard.
“Because the coffee is very high in fat, it would probably keep most individuals full for at least a couple of hours,” McGuffey said. “Many cardiologists and dietitians would probably be uncomfortable recommending this drink to anyone with cardiovascular problems because it contains way more than the recommended daily amount of saturated fat.”
This being said, bulletproof will probably give you the energy you need to get through the day, but fails to supply the body with the nutrients it needs to function properly. Proceed at your own risk.
Students can buy a bulletproof coffee starter pack including all the required ingredients, or students can DIY the process by adding two tablespoons of butter and two tablespoons of coconut oil to high-quality coffee and blending.