Drop a spoonful of ghee to the blender, pour in your hot coffee and add a few drops of oil. Press the button, watch the ingredients whir around, and then pour the frothy drink into your cup. This is the start of your day on the Bulletproof Diet. This revolutionary diet promises to help you slim down, improve your focus and live your best life.
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Following the Bulletproof Diet involves changing your eating habits drastically, but the results can be impressive. The diet claims that it’s based on solid scientific research and many individuals report that they’ve achieved dramatic weight loss.
But, is the Bulletproof Diet really all that it claims to be? What does it involve? Is this diet, as its name suggests, the perfect solution for weight loss? Read on to get an overview of what the diet involves, the research that supports it and potential problems involved with the diet.
What Is the Bulletproof Diet?
Dave Asprey, the creator of the Bulletproof Diet, once weighed nearly 300 pounds. A successful Silicon Valley investor, he reached a tipping point when he realized that without good health, none of his personal success would get him very far.
So, Asprey set out on a new adventure to biohack his body, lose weight and feel better. He published the story of his 15-year search for a weight loss solution in his book, The Bulletproof Diet: Lose up to a Pound a Day, Reclaim Energy and Focus, Upgrade Your Life. On his search for the ideal diet, Asprey traveled around the globe, discovering yak butter tea in Tibet and picking up other key aspects of his diet along the way.
Essentially, the diet that Asprey developed is based on a cyclical keto diet that’s also anti-inflammatory. With the Bulletproof Diet, you’ll eat plenty of vegetables, fats and proteins, but limit your carbohydrate intake. Although there’s no calorie counting, judging by the hundreds of happy dieters, you can still lose weight while following the diet.
The Bulletproof Diet Plan
What is the Bulletproof Diet plan in detail?
Essentially, the Bulletproof Diet plan encourages dieters to follow a ketogenic style diet for 5-6 days. The keto diet means that you get the majority of your calories from fats and proteins. This leads your body to achieve a state of ketosis, in which your body uses ketones from fat instead of glucose as the main source of energy. When your body is in ketosis, you’re likely to eliminate hunger pangs associated with spiking and falling glucose levels. (1)
After the keto days, the Bulletproof Diet includes 2 days in which you can consume more carbs, up to 300 grams. Among the approved carbs are white rice, sweet potato, carrot, and squash. These days that allow carbs help mitigate some of the side effects of a ketogenic diet such as constipation and kidney stones.
Also integral to the diet is Bulletproof Coffee. This fat-intensive drink helps dieters eliminate cravings, improve focus and lower calorie intake, according to the founder of the diet. Bulletproof 360, the company, sells all of the necessary supplements and ingredients to make the coffee. In addition, the company, owned by Asprey, also sells a range of products and specially prepared foods that individuals on the diet can purchase.
What to Eat on the Bulletproof Diet Plan
On the Bulletproof Diet, you can’t simply follow a keto style diet and call it a day. There are basic guidelines to follow with relation to your vegetable, starch, protein and fat intakes. Here is a general idea:
- Vegetables: 6-11 servings
- Oil and Fats (Nuts, legumes and dairy): 5-9 servings
- Protein: 4-6 servings
- Carbohydrates and Fruits: 1 serving
In addition to following a generally keto style diet, it also seeks to avoid inflammatory foods. For this reason, the diet lists a spectrum of foods that range from toxic (undesirable) to Bulletproof (desirable). Some of the foods you’ll find in each category include:
|Canned vegetables, margarine, soy, cheese, beans, wheat, corn, raisins, jams, canned fruit, yeast, commercial salad dressings, artificial sweeteners||Cauliflower, cooked broccoli, cilantro, cucumber, avocado, grass-fed ghee, avocado oil, chocolate and cocoa butter, coconuts, olives, grass-fed beef and lamb, eggs, yams, carrots, cranberries, blackberries, strawberries, apple cider vinegar, sea salt, ginger, stevia|
The above list is not exhaustive whatsoever. There are many other foods listed in the Bulletproof diet guidelines which indicate how toxic or Bulletproof any particular food may be.
The diet also goes into detail about the best cooking methods which are listed from Bulletproof to toxic. Among the preferred cooking methods are eating raw foods or only lightly cooked meals. Alternatively, you can steam foods just to “al dente” or bake items in the oven at 350 F or below. As you might imagine, among the toxic cooking methods, you’ll find deep frying and microwaving.
What About Supplements?
Bulletproof 360 promotes a wide range of different health supplements that offer many different benefits. From increasing your mental and physical energy to lowering inflammation and offering key nutrients, there are a wide number of supplements available. The company claims that the supplements fit in well with the diet and can help you biohack your body so that you can perform your best.
So, what does a day on the Bulletproof Diet look like? Here’s a sample menu so that you can know what to expect while following this diet:
- Breakfast: Bulletproof coffee prepared with grass-fed ghee and MCT oil (such as coconut oil)
- Snack: a handful of almonds and cashews
- Lunch: Vegetable tray of cauliflower, celery and cucumber to dip in avocado prepared with cilantro, lemon and salt, and hard-boiled eggs.
- Dinner: Steak with steamed carrots served with rosemary butter
What happens if you crave something sweet? You can try making an avocado smoothie with stevia, ice and a splash of milk.
Download bulletproof diet roadmap.
Does It Work?
Is this diet worth the effort you’d have to put in? That’s a question that each individual has to answer for themselves. Unfortunately, there aren’t any studies that address the diet’s claims specifically. However, there is research that investigates the possible benefits of following similar diets, such as a ketogenic diet.
One study shows that obese patients on a 24-week ketogenic diet not only lost a significant amount of weight, but the diet also appeared to improve other health indicators. Bad cholesterol levels were reduced, triglycerides also went down and fasting blood sugar also went down.
In the study, patients were allowed up to 30 g of carbohydrates, which falls into line with the Bulletproof diet which allows a small serving of carbs daily. 30 grams would allow you 1 medium apple or 100 grams of cooked white rice.
Another review of literature comes to the same conclusion regarding ketogenic diets: they work! The authors also note that the diet can help dieters control their appetite, making the diet easier to follow. In addition, the article suggests that dieters seek out foods that mimic carbohydrates so that they have an easier time sticking to the diet.
After all, if you’re used to eating lots of bread and sweet treats and you suddenly stop, you may find it difficult to eliminate cravings. This is where Bulletproof’s recipe books and products can also assist. The company sells protein bars featuring sweet flavors that mimic your favorite baked goods, giving you that sweet, gooey treat you need to kick a craving. The recipe books can also help you cook foods that taste good, increasing your compliance with the diet.
One important distinction to make is that the above diets generally prescribed calories or amounts of food for dieters to eat while on the ketogenic diet. However, the Bulletproof diet doesn’t restrict calories, so you’re on your own to sort out portion control. When seeking to lose weight, calories can play a big role, depending on the individual.
The research in favor of ketogenic style diets is also backed by the testimonials of Bulletproof customers. Many of those who have purchased the book and products and supplements offer rave reviews and claim that the products have changed their lives.
In addition to weight loss, customers also report greater mental clarity and an improved ability to control their appetites.
Not So Bulletproof? Potential Problems
The Bulletproof diet is not perfect and there are plenty of critics. The main complaints about the diet are:
- Product Plugging: Many customers correctly note that Asprey plugs his products throughout his books, making it seem as though they’re necessary to succeed with the diet. For example, to drink real Bulletproof coffee, you must purchase Asprey’s coffee, which is reportedly tested for certain toxins or molds that cause a negative reaction according to the diet’s creator. In addition, you must purchase grass-fed ghee and Brain Octane Oil, also products available through the Bulletproof website. These products are also quite pricey.
Critics say that the Bulletproof diet exhibits a red flag by encouraging dieters to purchase their products to increase your success.
- Unhealthy Behaviors: Obsessing over the foods you eat and eating food largely from only a few food groups (in this case, fats and proteins) can result in a problematic relationship with food. Dieters could even wind up binge-eating or adopting anorexic behaviors. The restrictive nature of the diet causes these sorts of unhealthy relationships with food, or, some dieticians say, can cause the diet to fail. People aren’t able to stick to the plan and head back to yoyo dieting.
- Cherry-picked Research: While critics acknowledge the success of ketogenic and low-carb diets, many point out Asprey’s use of studies as problematic. Why? For example, the Bulletproof diet lists olive oil in the same category of fats as bacon fat, favoring coconut oil instead. The research he sites demonizing olive oil is specific to diabetics and he ignores the conclusions of many other studies that all agree olive oil is good for you. (2)
Other concerns include his distaste for brown rice, preferring white rice while citing a study that involved only five people. While Asprey says brown rice will mess with your gut health, he ignores the benefits it offers including more proteins, vitamins, minerals and fiber than simple white rice. (3)
The Final Word
There’s no diet that’s perfect, no matter how amazing a diet claims to be. While the Bulletproof Diet offers many positives, potential dieters should keep a critical eye out when deciding how to approach the diet.
Overall, the Bulletproof Diet seems to offer a solution that may work to help some people lose weight, but it’s not an ideal long term solution. Most people are unable to continue a diet that eliminates nearly all carbohydrates. So, ultimately, people would need to modify their diet to a more moderate approach.
The Bulletproof Diet is based on the idea of a ketogenic diet and offers some practical solutions to help you follow this lifestyle. There’s also some evidence that suggests this sort of diet does genuinely help people lose weight. However, most nutritionists don’t recommend a ketogenic diet as a lifestyle change you should make for the long term.
Instead, nutritionists say the most successful dieters make modest changes to their lifestyles, including diet and exercise, which incorporate all food groups, including carbohydrates. Focusing on whole grains, vegetables, fruit, lean meats and healthy fats, is best for your health, experts say.
Should you try the Bulletproof Diet? If you’re desperate to lose weight then, sure, you could give it a try. But, you may want to meet with a nutritionist or dietician to discuss how to transition to a more moderate diet, as this sort of diet may not be best in the long term.
Dietitian with around 3 years of experience in assessing the nutritional needs of patients, counselling individuals, communicating the appropriate nutritional information to other members of the health care team and implementing nutritional care plans by following all the standards.