The Latest Coffee Trend… “The Bulletproof Diet” (October 2016)
Many months ago I was listening to a client describe to me how her husband adds grass-fed butter and coconut oil to his coffee, a combination which I thought was interesting. I had not realized that this was actually a trend until I overheard many weight-lifters at the gym discussing it. That led me to believe that this was a noteworthy topic for a monthly insight.
The creator of this diet/plan, David Asprey, who at one point weighed more than 300 pounds, claims in his book, The Bullet Proof Diet, that “using technology to change the environment internally and his body externally can help individuals take control of their body.” He goes on to report that he has spent more than 15 years and more than $300,000 changing his own biology.
In his book, Asprey claims that his research indicates that there are “bulletproof foods,” considered advantageous in a healthy eating plan, such as grass fed animal products, organic and pastured eggs (note: some people may say “eggs from free-range chickens), organic produce, extra virgin coconut oil, avoiding hydrogenated fats, avoiding dairy except ghee (clarified butter) and grass-fed butter. Conversely, he identifies and recommends avoiding what he refers to as “toxic” foods like grains, legumes, and some fruits (NOT considered toxic are berries, melons, citrus, peaches, tomatoes, lemons, and limes). By including bullet proof foods and avoiding toxic foods, an individual will lose weight, increase his or her energy, transform his/her body and mind and become smarter. These all sound like pretty strong claims to promise, don’t they?
Asprey’s regimen directs followers not to count calories but goes on to outline that 50-60% of the total caloric intake should be derived from fat, 20% derived from protein and 20-30% from vegetables. This recommendation seems to contradict itself because on the one hand he directs his followers not to count calories, but on the other, he says that his followers should consume certain percentages of calories from the primary nutrient categories. How can one do that without counting calories?
But let’s get back to the virtues of coffee as outlined by Asprey. His premise is that coffee accelerates fat loss, suppresses appetite, and increases not only energy but also the brain power of the individual following the plan. Another item to mention is that Mr. Asprey’s plan recommends that the fat that is used is only “grass fed butter”, coconut oil and ghee, aka clarified butter.
As a nutrition therapist dedicated to helping people heal their relationships with food I do not believe in rules of any sort, something which Asprey’s diet has an abundance of: limiting fruits, avoiding sugar and gluten, select only “grass fed butter” as he states it, and consuming pastured egg yolks, coconut oil, avocado oil, grass fed meats and bone marrow.
These requirements/limitations strike me as ones that will lead to a relatively unpalatable eating plan, therefore they run counter to my basic nutrition therapy premise: our food choices can and should taste good. Mr. Asprey provides no scientific evidence to support his claims. In addition, this registered dietitian views the guidelines of Asprey’s diet as another form of disordered eating because of the many food rules he imposes.
People should be able to enjoy having black coffee, lattes, espresso, mochas and all the fun coffee drinks available without having to face criticism about this highly desired hot (or cold) beverage. Consumption of coffee for many people is something that can be described as a basic part of their lives designed to accompany relaxation, reading the paper, and socializing.
At the end of the day, a healthful goal is to learn how to effectively evaluate our food choices by returning to basics. We should not have to worry about whether our food is “bulletproof” or “toxic.”
References: Asprey, David. The Bulletproof Diet. El Segundo, CA: Rodale Inc., 2014