Why Bulletproof Diet is a hot program now
It’s a diet that has converted millions around the world. Since its introduction in 2013, and the book on it launched in 2014, Dave Asprey’s “The Bulletproof Diet,” the system has gained such a sizable cult following that even its signature morning brew, Bulletproof coffee, landed a feature in The New York Times.
But its popularity came with controversy.
The diet, in a nutshell, claims you lose weight without having to count calories or weigh food. Followers eat when they are hungry and stop when they are satisfied. It supposedly boosts energy and willpower, increases cognitive function and physical and mental performance, increases nutrient stores and strengthens immune function.
The rule is pretty simple, too. It encourages the consumption of high-fat food (50-60 percent), protein (20 percent) and vegetables (20-30 percent). To meet the daily fat requirement, fat, including saturated fat—as long as it comes from grass-fed animals—is present at every meal.
Breakfast typically consists of bacon and eggs, for example. Even its now iconic coffee is mixed with 1-2 tablespoons unsalted, grass-fed butter and 1-2 tbsp of a special coconut oil extract, laurin. A serving of Bulletproof coffee contains approximately 500 calories and packs about 50 grams of fat.
Low in mycotoxins
Asprey sells both the coffee and the coconut oil extract. His brand, he claims, is low in mycotoxins, the toxins produced by yeast and fungi growing on coffee beans during roasting that supposedly causes weight gain, inflammation and other health issues. Unlike supermarket varieties, the Bulletproof-brand coffee purportedly eliminated mycotoxins.
David Bach, a Harvard-trained physician and president of New York City’s Platypus Institute, a research center that evaluates technologies for optimal human performance, declared that this claim is false.
He told USNews, “Mycotoxins themselves are real, but coffee producers are really good at getting rid of them,” he said. “You don’t have to worry about them in the major supermarket brands, and even if you did, there is no evidence that supports the idea that mycotoxins make you sluggish or unwell.”
The Bulletproof coffee recipe is a formula Asprey improvised from yak butter tea, a brew he encountered during his trip to Tibet. It’s an alternative to eating a full breakfast, one that his fans have become most passionate about.
Drinking this brew first thing in the morning, Asprey said, suppresses hunger, promotes weight loss and provides mental clarity.
Asprey also ditches brown rice because, he said, it contains more antinutrients. He backs up his claim with a study on the effects of brown rice on digestibility—never mind that the study involved only five people.
“These grains didn’t evolve to be eaten as a food source. They evolved to reproduce, germinate. They cover themselves in naturally occurring antinutrients or pesticides. Brown rice has stuff that irritates our gut and that’s not the case with white rice,” he told the Telegraph.
Asprey has been contradicted here, too. Professor Paul Garner, director of the Effective Health Care Research Consortium at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, described the references Asprey gives to support the Bulletproof Diet “unreliable… highly selective, many over 30 years old, of one or two patients.”
“It may be that white rice is more digestible than brown rice. It may also be that people prefer white rice to brown rice. But that’s all that needs to be said,” Garner told the Telegraph.
“I know of no research that shows that eating brown rice results in vitamin or mineral deficiency. Brown rice includes proteins, vitamins and minerals, as well as fiber. And white rice is seen as a risk factor for developing diabetes.”
A quick glance at the Bulletproof website shows food ranked on a scale ranging from “toxic” to “bulletproof.” Wheat, canned vegetables, soy, cheese and microwaved food are classified as toxic; they cause inflammation and thereby cause weight gain, the diet said. Kale, almonds, apples and onions are suspect.
However, coffee, bok choy, raw food, butter and coconut are bulletproof. Asprey’s own brand, such as Bulletproof Brain Octane, Bulletproof Chocolate Powder, Bulletproof Ghee, Bulletproof Coffee and Bulletproof Whey, among others, are also items categorized as most healthy.
While the diet bears some semblance to Paleo diet, the Bulletproof Diet, Asprey said, is more focused on the purity of ingredients and awareness of how cooking affects various food.
For example, its website instructs its followers who can’t find grass-fed meat to “choose the leanest cuts of grain-fed meat possible.” But should grass-fed be available, “choose the fattiest cuts possible.”
Industrial animals have omega 6 fats and accumulated toxins in their fat from feed, Asprey said, while grass-fed animals have omega 3 healthy fats and low toxins.
Asprey is a Silicon Valley investor who struck gold in his mid-20s, but realized he couldn’t enjoy it because he weighed around 300 pounds. He said he spent the next 15 years talking with health and nutrition experts, reading books and studies, and experimenting on his own body to come up with the Bulletproof Diet.
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