Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Bloomberg’s Crappy Reporting on Bulletproof Coffee

Bloomberg’s Gordy Megroz profiled Dave Asprey in advance of the launch of Asprey’s Bulletproof Café in Santa Monica in a report that’s absolutely appalling in its skepticism, or lack thereof. For the uninitiated:

[O]f all his out-there health claims, it’s the coffee he’s drinking—blended with butter made with milk from grass-fed cows and a medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil derived from coconut oil—that’s making Asprey most famous.

He calls the mixture Bulletproof coffee. Drink it, the name implies, and you’ll feel invincible. “Fats and caffeine help stimulate the brain,” Asprey says in his office, taking another sip. The coffee, along with the drug cocktail he’s just downed, which includes vitamins K and C as well as aniracetam, a pharmaceutical designed to improve brain function, is intended to provide hours of enlightenment. “There’s a sense of cognitive ease, where everything you want to say is at the tip of your tongue,” he says. “It’s like getting a new computer—you never want to go back to the old one.”

It sounds great. It sounds magical. It sounds citation-free. It smells a bit like bullshit:

As far as MCT oil improving brain function, that’s not a call that can be made yet (sorry Bulletproof). There was a study that used MCT oil to treat people with Type 1 Diabetes and another that used it for Alzheimer’s patients, and both studies found that MCT oil helped to repair some cognitive function. BUT (and it’s a big but), we cannot extrapolate the results from subjects with significant cognitive impairment and pretend to know the impact on subjects with normal cognitive function. It would be nice, but that’s just not how biology works.

Is it possible? Yes, it’s possible, but it’s far from proven. Indeed MCT oil is very controversial in the nutritional community.

Let’s keep going with the Bloomberg story:

A 12-ounce bag of Bulletproof coffee sells for $18.95, more than twice the price of a bag of Starbucks. A small cup will cost $4.25. “Our coffee goes through extensive lab testing to make sure it doesn’t contain toxins,” Asprey says. “You’re paying for quality—something that won’t make you feel bad.”

That’s bullshit, too. Pretty much all coffee is washed before roasting, so there are practically no mycotoxins left on the beans.

This article is about 2,400 words long, but just three paragraphs contain any response from health professionals. It’s mostly bunk, and Megroz bought right into it.