NUTRITION Evidence Based The Bulletproof Diet Review: Also known as Keto diet , Does It Work for Weight Loss?

Healthline Diet Score: 3 out of 5
You may have heard of Bulletproof® Coffee, but the Bulletproof Diet is becoming increasingly popular as well.
The Bulletproof Diet claims that it can help you lose up to a pound (0.45 kg) per day while gaining incredible levels of energy and focus.
It emphasizes foods high in fat, moderate in protein and low in carbs, while also incorporating intermittent fasting.
The diet is promoted and marketed by the company Bulletproof 360, Inc.
Some people assert that the Bulletproof Diet has helped them lose weight and become healthier, while others are skeptical about its supposed results and benefits.
This article provides an objective review of the Bulletproof Diet, discussing its benefits, drawbacks and impact on health and weight loss.
Overall score: 3
Fast weight loss: 4
Long-term weight loss: 3
Easy to follow: 3
Nutrition quality: 2
THE BOTTOM LINE: As a cyclical ketogenic diet, the Bulletproof Diet may help you lose weight — especially in the short term. However, it’s not based on solid evidence, cuts out many healthy food groups, and promotes expensive, branded supplements.
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What Is the Bulletproof Diet?
The Bulletproof Diet was created in 2014 by Dave Asprey, a technology executive turned biohacking guru.
Biohacking, also called do-it-yourself (DIY) biology, refers to the practice of modifying your lifestyle in order to make your body function better and more efficiently (1).
Despite being a successful executive and entrepreneur, Asprey weighed 300 pounds (136.4 kg) by his mid-20s and felt out of touch with his own health.
In his New York Times bestseller “The Bulletproof Diet,” Asprey tells of his 15-year journey to lose weight and regain his health without adhering to traditional diets. He also claims that you can follow his rubric to achieve the same results (2).
Asprey describes the Bulletproof Diet as an anti-inflammatory program for hunger-free, rapid weight loss and peak performance.
SUMMARYDave Asprey, a former technology executive, created the Bulletproof Diet after spending years fighting to overcome obesity. The anti-inflammatory nature of the diet is meant to promote fast weight loss.
How It Works
The Bulletproof Diet is a cyclical keto diet, a modified version of the ketogenic diet.
It entails eating keto foods — high in fat and low in carbs — for 5–6 days a week, then having 1–2 carb refeed days.
On the keto days, you should aim to get 75% of your calories from fat, 20% from protein, and 5% from carbs.
This puts you into a state of ketosis, a natural process in which your body burns fat for energy instead of carbs (3).
On the carb refeed days, you’re encouraged to eat sweet potato, squash and white rice to increase your daily intake of carbs from approximately 50 grams or less to 300.
According to Asprey, the purpose of a carb refeed is to prevent the negative side effects associated with a long-term keto diet, including constipation and kidney stones (4, 5).
The foundation of the diet is Bulletproof Coffee, or coffee mixed with grass-fed, unsalted butter and medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil.
Asprey claims that starting your day with this beverage suppresses your hunger while boosting your energy and mental clarity.
The Bulletproof Diet also incorporates intermittent fasting, which is the practice of abstaining from food for designated periods (6).
Asprey says that intermittent fasting works in tandem with the Bulletproof Diet because it gives your body steady energy with no crashes or slumps.
However, Asprey’s definition of intermittent fasting is unclear because he says that you should still consume a cup of Bulletproof Coffee each morning.
SUMMARYThe Bulletproof Diet is a cyclical ketogenic diet that incorporates intermittent fasting and hinges on Bulletproof Coffee, a high-fat version of regular coffee.
Can It Help You Lose Weight?
There are no studies examining the effects of the Bulletproof Diet on weight loss.
That said, research indicates that there is no single best diet for weight loss (7, 8, 9, 10).
Low-carb, high-fat diets like the keto diet have been shown to result in quicker weight loss than other diets — but the difference in weight loss seems to disappear over time (7, 10, 11).
The best predictor of weight loss is your ability to follow a reduced-calorie diet for a sustained period (12, 13, 14).
Thus, the Bulletproof Diet’s impact on your weight depends on the number of calories you consume and how long you can follow it.
Due to their high fat content, keto diets are considered filling and may allow you to eat less and lose weight fairly quickly (15).
That said, the Bulletproof Diet does not restrict calories, suggesting that you can reach a healthy weight through Bulletproof foods alone.
Yet weight loss isn’t that simple. Your weight is influenced by complex factors, such as genetics, physiology and behavior (16).
Therefore, no matter how “Bulletproof” your diet, you can’t always rely solely on your food intake and may have to make a conscious effort to reduce calorie consumption.
You must also follow the diet long-term in order for it to work, which could be challenging for some people.
SUMMARYThere are no specific studies on the Bulletproof Diet. Whether it can help you lose weight depends on how many calories you consume and if you can adhere to it.
Basic Guidelines
Like most diets, the Bulletproof Diet has strict rules that you must follow if you want results.
It encourages certain foods while condemning others, recommends specific cooking methods and promotes its own branded products.
What to Eat and Avoid
In the diet plan, Asprey arranges food in a spectrum from “toxic” to “Bulletproof.” You’re meant to replace any toxic foods in your diet with Bulletproof ones.
Foods classified as toxic include the following in each food group:
Beverages: Pasteurized milk, soy milk, packaged juice, soda and sports drinks
Veggies: Raw kale and spinach, beets, mushrooms and canned vegetables
Oils and Fats: Chicken fat, vegetable oils, margarines and commercial lard
Nuts and Legumes: Garbanzo beans, dried peas, legumes and peanuts
Dairy: Skim or low-fat milk, non-organic milk or yogurt, cheese and ice-cream
Protein: Factory-farmed meat and high-mercury fish, such as king mackerel and orange roughy
Starch: Oats, buckwheat, quinoa, wheat, corn and potato starch
Fruit: Cantaloupe, raisins, dried fruits, jam, jelly and canned fruit
Spices and Flavorings: Commercial dressings, bouillon and broth
Sweeteners: Sugar, agave, fructose and artificial sweeteners like aspartame
Foods deemed Bulletproof include:
Beverages: Coffee made from Bulletproof Upgraded™ Coffee beans, green tea and coconut water
Veggies: Cauliflower, asparagus, lettuce, zucchini and cooked broccoli, spinach and brussels sprouts
Oils and Fats: Bulletproof Upgraded MCT Oil, pastured egg yolks, grass-fed butter, fish oil and palm oil
Nuts and Legumes: Coconut, olives, almonds and cashews
Dairy: Organic grass-fed ghee, organic grass-fed butter and colostrum
Protein: Bulletproof Upgraded Whey 2.0, Bulletproof Upgraded Collagen Protein, grass-fed beef and lamb, pastured eggs and salmon
Starch: Sweet potatoes, yam, carrots, white rice, taro and cassava
Fruit: Blackberries, cranberries, raspberries, strawberries and avocado
Spices and Flavorings: Bulletproof Upgraded Chocolate Powder, Bulletproof Upgraded Vanilla, sea salt, cilantro, turmeric, rosemary and thyme
Sweeteners: Xylitol, erythritol, sorbitol, mannitol and stevia
Cooking Methods
Asprey claims that you have to cook foods properly to benefit from their nutrients. He labels the worst cooking methods “kryptonite” and the best “Bulletproof.”
Kryptonite cooking methods include:
Deep-frying or microwaving
Broiled or barbequed
Bulletproof cooking methods include:
Raw or uncooked, slightly heated
Baking at or below 320°F (160°C)
Pressure cooking
Bulletproof Coffee and Supplements
Bulletproof Coffee is a staple of the diet. This beverage contains Bulletproof-brand coffee beans, MCT oil and grass-fed butter or ghee.
The diet recommends drinking Bulletproof Coffee instead of eating breakfast for suppressed hunger, long-lasting energy and mental clarity.
Along with the ingredients you need to make Bulletproof Coffee, Asprey sells several other products on his Bulletproof website, ranging from collagen protein to MCT-fortified water.
SUMMARYThe Bulletproof Diet heavily promotes its own branded products and applies strict guidelines for acceptable foods and cooking methods.
One-Week Sample Menu
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Below is a one-week sample menu for the Bulletproof Diet.
Breakfast: Bulletproof Coffee with Brain Octane — an MCT oil product — and grass-fed ghee
Lunch: Avocado deviled eggs with salad
Dinner: Bunless burgers with creamy cauliflower
Breakfast: Bulletproof Coffee with Brain Octane and grass-fed ghee
Lunch: Tuna wrap with avocado rolled up in lettuce
Dinner: Hanger steak with herb butter and spinach
Breakfast: Bulletproof Coffee with Brain Octane and grass-fed ghee
Lunch: Creamy broccoli soup with a hard-boiled egg
Dinner: Salmon with cucumbers and brussels sprouts
Breakfast: Bulletproof Coffee with Brain Octane and grass-fed ghee
Lunch: Lamb chili
Dinner: Pork chops with asparagus
Breakfast: Bulletproof Coffee with Brain Octane and grass-fed ghee
Lunch: Baked rosemary chicken thighs with broccoli soup
Dinner: Greek lemon shrimp
Saturday (Refeed Day)
Breakfast: Bulletproof Coffee with Brain Octane and grass-fed ghee
Lunch: Baked sweet potato with almond butter
Dinner: Ginger-cashew butternut soup with carrot fries
Snack: Mixed berries
Breakfast: Bulletproof Coffee with Brain Octane and grass-fed ghee
Lunch: Anchovies with zucchini noodles
Dinner: Hamburger soup
SUMMARYThe Bulletproof Diet emphasizes fats, proteins and vegetables. It encourages drinking solely Bulletproof Coffee for every breakfast.
Potential Downsides
Keep in mind that the Bulletproof Diet has several drawbacks.
Not Rooted in Science
The Bulletproof Diet claims to be based on solid scientific evidence, but the findings it relies upon are of poor quality and not applicable to most people.
For instance, Asprey cites shoddy data claiming that cereal grains contribute to nutritional deficiencies and that the fiber in brown rice prevents protein digestion (17).
However, cereal grains are often fortified with many important nutrients, and their consumption actually increases — not decreases — your intake of important nutrients (18).
And while it’s known that fiber from plant foods like rice decreases the digestibility of some nutrients, the effect is rather small and of no concern as long as you’re consuming a well-balanced diet (19).
Asprey also provides oversimplified views of nutrition and human physiology, suggesting that people shouldn’t regularly consume fruitsince it contains sugar or that all dairy — except ghee — promotes inflammation and disease.
In fact, fruit consumption is associated with weight loss, and dairy products have been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects (20, 21, 22).
Can Be Expensive
The Bulletproof Diet can get expensive.
Asprey recommends organic produce and grass-fed meats, stating that they’re more nutritious and contain less pesticide residue than their conventional counterparts.
However, because these items are much more expensive than their conventional parts, not everyone may be able to afford them.
While organically grown produce tends to have lower pesticide residue and may contain greater levels of certain minerals and antioxidants than conventionally grown produce, the differences are probably insignificant to have any real health benefit (23, 24, 25, 26).
The diet also recommends frozen or fresh vegetables over the often more affordable and convenient canned vegetables, despite there being no real health benefit (27).
Requires Special Products
The Bulletproof line of branded products makes this diet even more expensive.
Many of the items in Asprey’s food spectrum that rank as Bulletproof are his own branded products.
It’s highly dubious for any person or company to claim that buying their expensive products will make your diet more successful (28).
Can Lead to Disordered Eating
Asprey’s continual classification of food as “toxic” or “Bulletproof” may lead people to form an unhealthy relationship with food.
Consequently, this can lead to an unhealthy obsession with eating so-called healthy foods, termed orthorexia nervosa.
One study found that following a strict, all-or-nothing approach to dieting was associated with overeating and weight gain (29).
Another study suggested that strict dieting was associated with the symptoms of an eating disorder and anxiety (30).
SUMMARYThe Bulletproof Diet has multiple drawbacks. It is not supported by research, can get expensive, requires buying branded products and may lead to disordered eating.
The Bottom Line
The Bulletproof Diet combines a cyclical ketogenic diet with intermittent fasting.
It claims to help you lose up to a pound (0.45 kg) per day while boosting energy and focus. Yet, evidence is lacking.
It may be beneficial for appetite control, but some may find it hard to follow.
Keep in mind that the diet promotes inaccurate health claims and mandates the purchasing of branded products. Overall, you may be better off following proven dietary tips that won’t be as expensive and will promote a healthy relationship with food.

This is a detailed guide to intermittent fasting (IF). Studies show that it can help you lose weight, improve health and perhaps even live longer.
Bulletproof coffee is a recipe for a morning coffee drink containing butter and MCT oil.
You’ve probably been told it’s better to lose weight slowly rather than quickly.
Coffee is he biggest source of antioxidants in the diet. It has many health benefits, such as improved brain function

Written by Gavin Van De Walle, MS, RD on January 4, 2019

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