Two years ago I came across Dave Asprey’s Bulletproof Executive site and stumbled upon his claim to fame, the Bulleproof Coffee. I thought it was an interesting concept and was intrigued to learn about his time with Tibetan monks and how they use yak butter in their tea. Asprey took that concept to create the Bulletproof Coffee using grass-fed butter, MCT (medium-chain triglyceride) oil and high-quality organic coffee. I have been drinking the coffee ever since, but it wasn’t until a couple of months ago I decided that I wanted to learn more about the Bulletproof Diet.
What is the Bulletproof Diet?
The Bulletproof Diet is what Asprey likes to describe as, “An anti-inflammatory program for hunger-free, rapid weight loss and peak performance.” The basis of the diet is adding more healthy saturated fat, such as grass-fed meat, cutting out a good portion of fruit and even exercising less. He believes you can skip breakfast, sleep less, take a bunch of supplements and achieve ultimate health.
In the book, he breaks things down by vegetables, fats, proteins, dairy, nuts, starches, fruits, spices and flavorings, sweeteners and sugars, and beverages, and places them into these categories; Bulletproof, Suspect and Kryptonite. Everything that is in the Bulletproof category, according to him, is high in good fat, low in sugar and not full of a lot of toxic compounds like mold. Everything in the Suspect category may have polyunsaturated fat, or an elevated level of sugar or may be toxic with too much Omega-6. Everything in the Kryptonite category is high in bad fat, or high in sugar, or completely artificial and overly processed. To give you a better example, here are some examples of foods in each category:
- Grass-fed beef
- Grass-fed butter
- Sweet Potatoes
- Cooked Spinach
- Factory-farmed eggs
- Grain-fed butter
- Brown rice
- Farmed seafood
What I do agree with is, if you’re going to consume meat, grass-fed is certainly the way to go. Whereas grain-fed meat contains high amounts of Omega-6 and very little Omega-3, grass-fed meat has much higher amounts of Omega-3, which balances out the Omega-6, which our bodies need. To learn more about the difference between grain-fed and grass-fed meat, check out Authority Nutrition’s article, “Grass-Fed vs Grain-Fed Beef – What’s The Difference?”
I also agree that some fruit and vegetables can spike your blood sugar level. They usually call these foods high glycemic and why it’s important is because it keeps your blood sugar consistent and allows your body to perform better. If your blood sugar is too low, you can become lethargic and experience increased hunger, if it’s too high, then it signals your body to secrete insulin. It’s important to keep your blood sugar under control, because if you don’t, you can potentially be paving the way to developing diabetes and heart disease. Here are some great tips from Mind, Body, Green to balance your blood sugar naturally.
So What’s the Truth about the Bulletproof Diet?
The truth is the diet is quite complicated and not 100 percent anti-inflammatory. It’s complicated because somehow you have to remember on a daily basis which foods are Suspect and Kryptonite to try to avoid them. It’s not 100 percent anti-inflammatory, because eating meat, even if it’s grass-fed, on a daily basis or even three to four times a week will still cause inflammation in the body. A diet which is anti-inflammatory is going to have a balanced variety of fruit, such as bananas, vegetables, such as eggplant and grains, such as brown rice. If you’re going to choose an anti-inflammatory protein, wild salmon is without a doubt healthier for you than grass-fed beef. To get a better understanding of the principles of an anti-inflammatory diet, check out Epicurious’ article on it.
In keeping our blood sugar under control, I find it ironic that on one hand Asprey wants us to limit our intake of high-glycemic fruit, but on the other hand he wants us to do these morning fasts, only consuming a Bulletproof Coffee until 1 p.m. then have lunch. I’ve tried this a few times and by the time noon hits, I’m starving and I’m not making the best choices with food. One of the best ways to control your blood sugar is by eating within an hour or two of waking up. This doesn’t mean you need to eat eggs, bacon and toast, but even having a banana, regardless that it’s a higher glycemic fruit, is much better at controlling your blood sugar, than having nothing in the morning.
Finally, when you take a good look at the foods and products in the Bulletproof category, most are pushing Asprey’s branded Bulletproof products. I would prefer having a more unbiased view about what truly are considered “Bulletproof” foods in the general spectrum of food and as a side note learning which of his products fit into that category.
The Bottom Line
I think Asprey has done a wonderful job of making people aware of the benefits of fat in our diet. For far too long, fat was the enemy and what transpired from that was a world of low-fat, zero-fat, fat-free and “light” foods, which are really foods pumped up with excess sugar and sweeteners. This has only caused a dangerous increase in type II diabetes, heart disease and a host of other health issues.
However, people need to know there are different categories of fat; trans fat, saturated fat, monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat. By now we know trans fat is definitely the enemy, so eating fried, processed and junk foods are not good period. Saturated fat, which mostly comes from animal proteins, is not the worst, but it’s not the best either. Grass-fed meat and butter is better than grain-fed and raw, organic cheese is better than conventional. Yet, just because grass-fed meat is healthier still does not mean 50 percent of your diet should comprise of it. Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat usually get lumped into one category. Essentially these types of fats are focused on oils, such as olive oil, nuts, fish and avocados. This is the category of fat we should be focused on consuming more than any other. To learn more about the different types of fats, read Harvard Health’s article “The truth about fats: the good, the bad, and the in-between.”
With the Bulletproof Diet and Paleo Diet movements, I feel we are swinging the pendulum back to the Atkins diet days. The difference is instead of eating any and all types of protein, we now consider grass-fed butter, grass-fed meat, pasture-raised eggs, etc. Don’t get me wrong, if we are going to consume animal protein, we should absolutely consider these options. The way that conventional meat, dairy and eggs are produced today is not healthy for the animals and not healthy for us. However, let’s not be naive to the fact that meat is meat and dairy is dairy, so if you truly care about your health and the level of inflammation and acidity in your body, don’t blindly follow the Bulletproof Diet.
Do you follow a diet currently? If yes, which one, leave your comments below?
Do you follow the Bulletproof Diet? What do you like about it?
I would also like to leave you with one more article. I think it’s vital to distinguish between MCT oil and coconut oil, because coconut oil is just as healthy if not more than MCT oil and you should understand why. I prefer the benefits of coconut oil and I use it regularly in my coffee and in a lot of the cooking I do. Here is the article by Health Impact News, “MCT Oil vs. Coconut Oil: The Truth Exposed.”