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Bulletproof Coffee Gets Debunked

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Bulletproof coffee (Photo by thedabblist via the Creative Commons on Flickr)
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Bulletproof coffee—the buttery coffee trend that's getting its own dedicated brick-and-mortar shop in Santa Monica soon—is taking the nation by storm, but does it live up to its claims?

Bulletproof coffee is founder Dave Asprey's take on a Tibetan yak tea, and he says the high-calorie drink curbs hunger, promotes weight loss, and helps you stay mentally alert. It's a mixture of coffee; 1 to 2 tablespoons of unsalted, grass-fed butter; and 1 to 2 tablespoons of medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil. The drink is supposed to replace a meal due to its high-caloric intake. It costs a lot more than your regular cup of joe.

Gizmodo writer Brent Rose calls Bulletproof coffee an overpriced drink and point by point he thoroughly debunks, or at least calls into question, Asprey's claims.

His findings? He says Asprey is upcharging for coffee beans, claiming that his special processing method takes out myctoxins (aka mold) but Rose says the coffee industry already takes care of this problem with a wet processing method that washes off the beans. He points out the Bulletproof charges double for its MCT oils compared to that discount store known as Whole Foods.

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The health claims don't hold up well either. Rose argues there aren't enough peer-reviewed studies that can clearly conclude the coffee promotes weight loss or that the MCT oils in the drink can improve cognitive function. The drink might not even be all that healthy. One drink will give you 140 percent of the daily recommended intake for saturated fats, Gizmodo says. So there's that. Rose even tries to make it to lunch on Bulletproof coffee alone, but he barely makes it across the finish line.

There's a whole Bulletproof Coffee diet to go along with the coffee—Rose calls it "a high-fat riff on the Paleo Diet." Rose says his findings are enough for him to call the trend what it is: like the Atkins Diet and so many others before it, Bulletproof Coffee is a "fad diet."