Does Bulletproof Coffee Break Your Fast?

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In my delicious, fat-fueled world of ketogenic living, I am frequently asked whether or not bulletproof coffee breaks a fast.

Some camps will say it ABSOLUTELY does, while others are adamant that this fatty morning beverage does not.  Check out the facts and see which side of the debate you fall on.

What IS bulletproof coffee anyway?

Dave Asprey, Founder and CEO at Bulletproof out in the Silicon Valley, created the creamy drink that is all the range in the ketogenic community and beyond.  He is a true biohacker; always self-experimenting with different substances and supplements to improve energy, cognitive function, and prolong his life.  

True bulletproof coffee uses the Bulletproof coffee beans, grass-fed butter, and Dave's signature Brain Octane oil (MCT oil), all blended together in a blender until rich and creamy.

I personally make my BPC using about 16 ounces of ground coffee (I'm a huge fan of the Cafe Verona from Starbucks), one tablespoon of Kerrygold butter, half of a tablespoon of Bulletproof XCT oil, and half of a tablespoon of Brain Octane.  Why the mixture of MCTs?  Just my own preference and habit.  This brew adds up 236 calories and 25 grams of fat.  It's a solid meal for me and holds me over until around 4pm.

Do you practice Intermittent Fasting?

If you are going for four or more hours in between bites of food - including while you are asleep - you are practicing some form of fasting.  Intermittent Fasting is not a "diet"; it is simply a pattern of eating and not eating.  Many people practicing Intermittent Fasting skip breakfast and begin eating around 12pm, and finish their meals for the day by 8pm.  This is referred to as the 16/8 method: 16 hours fasting, 8 hours feeding.  Some choose an even shorter feeding window, while others hold a fast for several days.  There are many benefits to Intermittent Fasting, including weight loss, ketone production (which results in higher energy levels and mental clarity), repairing the body's systems and vital organs, and increasing insulin sensitivity.

One of the reasons fasting is so popular for weight loss is because it allows the body to burn fat for fuel.

Any time we consume any amount of food our pancreas begins producing the hormone insulin.  In the presence of insulin fat burning is blocked.  While the pancreas will produce insulin after consumption of any foods, it works in overdrive upon consumption of carbs and sugar.  Even in the smallest presence of sugar, fat-burning cannot happen.  

If the goal is to be a fat-burner, sugar has to be eliminated.

Those of us living la vida keto typically find that we naturally adopt an Intermittent Fasting protocol as our bodies have switched from a sugar-burning state to running on stored fat and ketones for fuel.  This keeps us fuller, longer, as we do not experience the energy spikes and crashes brought on by insulin production.

BUT, many keto enthusiasts do report consuming a cup of bulletproof coffee to start the day.

Don't all of those fats and calories technically break the fast?  This is where the argument truly begins...

If you Google "how many calories breaks a fast" you will come up with hundreds (probably thousands... I didn't dig that deep...) of different answers.  There seems to be a general consensus that anything under 50 calories is okay, and even up to 100 calories will keep the body in a fasted state.  BPC - my version anyway - is over 230 calories.  Fast-breaker, right?

Go back to the insulin discussion.

Ingesting carbs and/or protein will stimulate insulin production, but ingesting fats will not.  Since fat does not impact blood glucose levels, BPC Fasters can legitimately argue that consuming their beverage of choice allows them to remain in a fasted state.

So which side of the argument do I fall on?

It honestly depends on my day.  If I am working out in the morning then I choose to do so on a completely fasted stomach - water and maybe some black coffee only.  This is a result of experimentation, and what I found is that when I was drinking BPC before workouts, my body was using the dietary fat as fuel instead of my stored body fat.  Once I started working out on a fasted stomach and consuming BPC post-workout, I noticed a change in my body composition.  

On my two rest days a week, I enjoy BPC first thing in the morning, and nothing makes me happier!  Regardless of what time I'm enjoying this amazing, creamy coffee, I typically do not eat anything until around 4pm.  This shortened feeding window has happened naturally for me, and this method of intuitive eating is exactly what I guide all of my Ketogenic Living nutrition clients to adapt to: listen to your body, and feed it - with lots of health fats - when hungry. 

Where do YOU fall in this discussion?

Are you a BPC-lover?  ☕️ ❤️ If so, what time of day do you enjoy your fatty coffee?