By Stephanie Laska, M.Ed
Stephanie has lost 140 pounds following a keto inspired diet and maintained weight loss for four years +
One of the most common questions I hear from new Keto diet followers is, “What is bulletproof coffee and do I have to drink that?” The simple answer is no, you don’t have to drink anything. You will still lose weight on the keto diet without bulletproof coffee! But for the sake of argument, let’s take a look at what it is and why so many people swear by it.
Ketogenic disciples enjoy a diet that is high fat, average protein, and low carbohydrate. Some are challenged by meeting the fat “goals” of the day and find that that their morning coffee offers a vehicle for adding fats into their morning routine. Fat, as we know, is satiating and curbs hunger. Further, some feel the “bulletproof coffee” provides mental clarity and starts their day with a clean boost.
Additional benefits of bulletproof coffee include how it helps to prolong eating of the first meal of the day. Many try to “fast” as long as possible between their last meal at night, and their first meal in the morning to assist with weight loss. Fat added to your morning coffee will curb your appetite, allowing you to “break the fast” with breakfast a bit later in the day.
Do I have to buy a special brand of coffee? Nope. Any coffee will do. Coffee in and of itself has ZERO CARBS, ZERO CALORIES, and ZERO FAT. So, drink up! It’s what we add to coffee that make it the “bulletproof” style. “But I’ve seen Bulletproof coffee in stores?” You might say. Note that some ingenious marketer trademarked the phrase “Bulletproof” and slapped it on his label of prepared coffee. You do not have to buy this! (In fact, upon careful review of the nutrition label of such brand, you might even find some offensive ingredients like artificial everything… just sayin’).
Bulletproof coffee is simply coffee with fat. There are many choices, but most recipes recommend 1-2 Tablespoons of one of the following added to your home brewed coffee of choice. (Note that more is not always better! Start slowly and build your tolerance or be ready to spend some time in the bathroom.) Blending of your choice fat additive can be accomplished by stirring by hand with a utensil (old school style, burn calories!), or via a fancy-pants Immulsion blender (make sure it’s heat tolerant to avoid disaster). The goal is to mix the ingredients well and create a frothy latte looking beverage that looks and tastes good.
Popular Keto-friendly coffee additives:
- Unsalted Butter Kerrygold brand is popular, but let’s be honest here, any unsalted butter will do unless you have an incredible palate. Kerrygold branded butter is made from the cream of grass-fed Irish cows, so apparently that must taste better! Whether due to its high-quality cream or perhaps due to the current keto coffee craze, Kerrygold brand butter is currently the third best-selling butter in the U.S.! It’s sold at Wal-Mart, Costco and major retailers.
- Ghee (clarified butter, popular with Indian cooking)
- Heavy Cream (or whipping cream – NOT whipped cream, sad!) This happens to be my current personal favorite. I use half/half or whipping cream.
- MCT Oil (Commercial source would be Coconut Oil or Palm Kernal Oil) (Ohhhhhhh, controversial!) MCT oil stands for Medium Chain Triglyceride This tasteless and odorless oil has been used historically as a fat source in infant formulas, and more recently by athletes and those looking for alternative energy sources. MCT oil is easily metabolized, bypassing the intestines for digestion heading straight to the liver. Some argue that MCT oil provides increased energy and aids in leading the body toward ketosis, the fat burning state keto dieters strive for. Side effects of digesting MCT oil might include light headedness, increased heart rate, and diarrhea, so do use with caution.
What about sweeteners? Can the keto-friendly diet include a sweetened version of bulletproof coffee? The answer depends on how strictly you follow the keto diet. Diehard ketogenic followers argue against artificial sugars of any kind – they claim artificial sweeteners can wreak havoc on your blood sugar, which could derail your weight loss success. Some might focus simply on the potential health risks of consuming chemicals. Others see artificial sweeteners as a personal choice, and not a “rule” of the keto diet; there might even be value to using them as a temporary crutch to help avoid consuming sugar.
Even among artificial sweetener users there continues to be division. Many have strong opinions about which artificial sweetener is the best tasting, or most natural. Ultimately, not everyone responds the same to artificial sweeteners, and many are able to indulge without immediate consequence.
Personally, when I was losing 140 pounds, I had a hard time changing my coffee routine. I was used to milk and sugar, and unwilling to let go of that sweet flavor. For years, I used sugar-free coffee creamers. Nestle’s sugar free vanilla, hazelnut, and Italian sweet cream were my favorites. When those weren’t available I would use half/half with a splash of Torani flavored sugar-free syrup. (Note many sugar-free syrups are available at Starbucks or even McDonalds!) Now before you call the keto-police, I admit it’s taken me almost five years to give up this crutch; so, if you’re like me, forgive yourself for not being perfect.
It’s almost comical how strongly we feel about our morning coffee. Ask any keto dieter their opinion on the matter and you most certainly will get an earful! The bottom line is that bulletproof coffee is a personal choice. Fat added to coffee is a means to help control your blood sugar. Think of bulletproof coffee as an option, not a requirement, in your keto diet.
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I am eager to hear your thoughts, tips and suggestions! Let’s support each other and… KETO-ON!