Opinion: The Butter Coffee Diet



Shawn Mercer

Shawn Mercer

Shawn Mercer is an integrated life sciences major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected]

Dave Asprey considers himself to be a hacker of sorts. He’s an entrepreneur in Silicon Valley but has turned his hacking toward his own biology. On his website, bulletproofexec.com, he talks about his protocol for optimum health. He lost 100 pounds and claims to have improved both his cognitive and physical well-being.

The center of his protocol is coffee, with butter and medium chain triglycerides (MCT) added. He recommends you buy his brand of coffee and MCT oil. If you do not feel so inclined, use your own high-quality coffee and coconut oil (high in MCT) in their place.

The premise for the butter and MCT oil is multifaceted, as well as why they may promote weight loss. First, butter is free of sugar, other carbohydrates and protein, all of which stimulate insulin. When insulin is low, your body’s ability to burn fat is enhanced.

Second, the medium and short chain triglycerides in the butter and MCT (or coconut) oil are processed differently than other fats in that the liver converts them into ketones. The ketones in your blood are used by your brain and body for energy and aren’t readily stored. Thus, they are not “fattening” but “energizing.”

Third, the butter coffee is consumed as a replacement for morning eating or rather; you can eat nothing but fat outside of a 6 hour feeding window from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. This is a modified version of intermittent fasting which is said to promote fat-burning and self-repair of your body. The foods he recommends you eat are low in carbs including lots of vegetables.

Finally, he recommends you do not drink coffee past 2 p.m. as to maximize your chances of a restful night of sleep. This is a great idea as a lack of sleep does make you more insulin resistant, which in turn blocks your ability to utilize fat.

After reading about his protocol, I have tried my own version of his recommendations and have felt great over the last couple days. I use regular coffee, organic butter and virgin coconut oil all blended together during the morning hours. It tastes like a really good latte, but it’s important to blend it to prevent an oil slick on the surface of your coffee. In place of coffee, I sometimes use chai tea or chicken broth. The chicken broth is great with just butter. During the feeding window I consume low carb foods.

So far, I have noticed I have much more energy and am not hungry at all in the morning. I have also lost a few pounds. I have no cravings whatsoever. I supplement with vitamin D3, cod liver oil and fish oil.

I would personally recommend trying this protocol only after working to understand the underlying premises. It would be a good idea to read into paleo and low-carb type diets as they are similar in many ways and accordingly, you must make the call (with advice from a physician or dietician always being a great idea).