My High Fat Diet Experiment: Bulletproof Coffee Made With Butter

high fat diet
Making Ketones with Butter

You may have heard me talking about my high fat diet experiment in the clinic lately. If you haven’t heard what I have been trying out then let me explain. Since about August I decided to enter the world of biohacking. A biohacker is someone who experiments with their health and tests to see if it improves them. I think we are all biohackers if you go to gym, eat a certain way, think a certain way.

What got me started on this high fat biohacking journey was coming across Bulletproof Coffee. Bulletproof coffee was coined by biohacker, Dave Asprey. Dave explained in his blog post on how to make bulletproof coffee that instead of using milk he puts unsalted butter and coconut oil in his coffee. Yes I said butter, real yellow butter.

Of course I was like you are probably now frowning at this idea going “butter in your coffee, why that must taste so gross!”. So I did, I put butter in my coffee. Guess what it wasn’t that bad. Butter is just cream that has been churned into butter with the buttermilk poured off. Basically butter is yellow cream.

Eat Fat to Become Healthy

The reason for even considering putting butter in my coffee was my need to learn more about how to improve your nervous system. Dave started this bulletproof coffee idea to improve his cognitive ability and get rid of things like brain fog and hunger.

Other reasons to consider eating more fat and less carbohydrates I had come across were:

  • Reduce inflammation in the body by seeing a drop in hs-CRP levels and increase Vit D
  • Reduce weight and risk for metabolic syndrome
  • Allow gut lining to heal so help any IBS problems
  • Reduce risk of insulin resistance

Having a fatty coffee in the morning certainly makes me less hungry. I may have last eaten a small evening meal only had a fatty coffee for breakfast then eat at 1 or 2pm, but not feel starved. Fat for breakfast helps keep the body in a fat burning state.

How to Make Bulletproof Coffee

The main goal is to achieve a state of nutritional ketosis. This is very different from keto-acidosis which is a bad thing that can happen to diabetics. Did you know you can make your body feel the need to run on glucose or ketones. Ketones are when you break down fat for energy. This is the same thing Professor Tim Noakes is trying to get athletes and others to try out with his Noakes Diet.

This way of eating is a high fat, low carbohydrate, moderate protein diet. I have found I need to cut down on my protein, not increase it. For even more information about low carb high fat diet check out this beginner LCHF post by Swedish medical doctor, Dr Andreas Eenfeldt.

In the beginning because I didn’t have cereal or muesli for breakfast I ate more bacon and eggs. I was staring to lose weight but then hit a plateau. I also would occasionally get the “I need to eat shakes” still. I then learnt too much protein can be converted to glucose for energy and take me out of the ketone state.

Bulletproof Coffee Ingredients in South Africa

You can import the original ingredients from the US or you can source similar products locally. I do a mix of both.

For the coffee I prefer the Las Nubes high altitude, wet processed, South American coffee from Stil Coffee roastry in North Riding.

For my butter you can get grassfed butter from Mandy at Mooberry Farms in North Riding.

For my MCT oil I still order the original Upgraded MCT Oil or Brain Octane Oil from the USA.

My Current Food Plan

Currently my breakfast menu could be:

1x Bulletproof coffee = French plunger organic Woolworths coffee, 25-40g unsalted Woolworths butter, 1-2 teaspoons coconut oil

Some mornings I will have 2 scrambled eggs with butter on them, sometimes a little bacon.

I have started playing with intermittent fasting, which means no food for breakfast only the bulletproof coffee and then eat when hungry again. I have achieved days where I feel the need to eat one meal a day only. Others days I’ll need three meals. I have seen that these days are usually after having too many quick carbs the day before like too much rye bread or a blueberry muffin as a treat.

My lunch menu might be:

1x salad with some protein like beef or chicken with lots of cold olive oil on it and some salt

My dinner menu might be:

1x Avocado coconut oil soup from Bulletproof Chef cookbook
1x Scrambled eggs on one piece of rye bread with butter on it

What Has Happened to Me So Far

Now here is the nitty gritty: the results.

When I started this in August I was 94kg with a 91cm waist circumference. I am now 87kg with a 84cm waist circumference.

[UPDATE] I went down to 79kg by April 2013, which is a total weight loss of 15kg. I decided to back off the intermittent fasting as that, combined with a high fat diet, was making me drop weight too easily.

I still put butter in my coffee, but have added lots more carbs back in to bring my weight back into the 85 – 88kg range where I feel better at. So that means I eat more white rice and sweet potatoes now.

I know weight is not the best marker for health, but it was an easy one for me to check. I did feel a little heavy, but didn’t realise what I could lose. My waist was very surprising to me the massive drop in trouser size, I’m definitely a 34 waist now.

Everyone asks me about the cholesterol question. I was worried about pushing my cholesterol to danger levels by eating so much fat. I didn’t do a pre-experiment lipid test unfortunately. I did do a cholesterol test 2 weeks into this way fo eating and my results were:

HDL – Near the upper limit (that’s good)
Triglycerides – Near the lowest limit (that’s good)
LDL – raised (that got me worried)

This meant my total cholesterol score was up to 7mmol because of my LDL levels. I needed to question I’m I going to die here.

I have since done lots of reading around cholesterol research, listened to numerous podcasts on different experts feelings around cholesterol levels.

Some interesting points for me were:

  1. Cholesterol levels being a major cause of heart attacks is not set in stone,
  2. Some cardiologists feel inflammation causes heart disease not cholesterol,
  3. Lots of people eating a high fat low carb diet lower their cholesterol levels eating this way,
  4. There is lots of debate about cholesterol out there.

Now this places me in an outlier position. I’m one of those people whose LDL went up with eating a high fat diet. My HDL is in a very healthy range my bad triglycerides are nice and low it is just my low density lipoproteins.

Listening and reading the research out there has put my mind at ease but I’m still reading and deciding what I believe is best for cardiovascular health. You can read the results of Prof Tim Noakes diet in his “Twin Noakes Study” of identical twin sisters, Jeanne and Jax.

Tim Noakes Tweets The Cholesterol Risk Factors

At this point I’m carrying on this way of eating as I feel good, feel I’m at a healthier weight/waist circumference, my blood pressure hasn’t changed – still normal. I also believe that if a high fat diet can help stop epileptic fits in children and improve memory function in Alzheimers patients then the nervous system needs fat to survive and thrive.

At the end of a day a high fat, low carb, moderate protein diet could be what is needed for some to decrease inflammation and improve your overall health status. I’ll keep testing and update you again in the future.

Image Credit: Some rights reserved by Robert S. Donovan