The Bulletproof Diet: How to Upgrade Paleo and Eat More Chocolate, Butter, and Coffee Everyday!

Posted on 08. Apr, 2012 by in What to Eat

Dave Asprey starts almost every day off by blending around 6 spoonfuls of KerryGold butter and/or MCT Oil (another fat source) into his morning cup of coffee.

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For the last 2 years, he has consumed between 4000 and 4500 calories daily without exercise.

At one point in his life, Dave weighed over 300 lbs and was obese.

Today, Dave is in the best shape he has ever been.

Despite common belief surrounding his butter-blended coffee and high-calorie diet, Dave currently sits just over 200 lbs and is the ripped guy you see in the picture below.

Dave Asprey The Bulletproof Executive

How did Dave Asprey go from dieting and exercising all the time and weighing over 300 lbs, to eating 4500 calories daily, never exercising, and losing 100 lbs?

You’re about to find out.

Dave Asprey, aka The Bulletproof Executive, is the ultimate biohacker.  He has spent over $250,000 in the last 15 years to hack his body, upgrade his IQ, and dramatically increase his mental and physical performance.

I was initially turned on to Dave’s blog and podcast a few weeks ago when I was searching for a high-quality whey protein to start using as a supplement for myself.  @DrRCPatel on Twitter recommended Dave’s Upgraded Whey Protein and I began checking out some of the articles on Dave’s BulletProof Executive blog.

One of the first articles I came across on the blog was the recipe for Bulletproof Coffee.  Initially, I thought Dave was just some crazy guy who put a lot of butter in his coffee, but I was intrigued enough to continue exploring his site.  It quickly became clear to me that Dave knew what he was talking about, and there was plenty of research and results to back up his unconventional methods.

If you look at nothing else on Dave’s blog, please check out the Bulletproof Diet Infographic.  I have talked a lot in previous posts about upgrading the paleo diet for maximum benefits, and the Bulletproof Diet does exactly that.  The infographic separates foods by categories so not only can you pick from proteins, veggies, and fats, but you can see which foods are the BEST proteins, the BEST veggies, and the BEST fats.  He even does this for non-paleo options like grains, legumes, and added sweeteners.  I have included a screenshot below, but sign up for The Bulletproof Executive email list to download the full PDF.  I hope this doesn’t spoil things for you but beef, butter, and chocolate are all foods you should be eating more of!

bulletproofdietgraphic

This infographic takes most of the guesswork out of eating quality food.  While Dave’s recommendations look very similar to a paleo diet, there are a few key distinctions between the Bulletproof way of eating and standard paleo:

1) The Role of Mycotoxins

Mycotoxins are mold toxins that are formed by yeast and fungi and can dramatically damage the quality of our food.  They are especially prevalent in things like corn, wheat, and other grains, but they can also effect otherwise healthy foods like coffee and chocolate.   This is why the Bulletproof Diet recommends strict standards for buying coffee as well as opting for European-sourced dark chocolate such as Lindt.  For more information on mycotoxins, read this article.

2) The Effect of Cooking or Overcooking on Food Quality

This is something most paleo advocates recognize as an issue, but tend to ignore in favor of simplicity.  There are a lot of studies that suggest the dangers of microwaving or overcooking food and Dr. Mercola has written a couple articles outlining some of these issues.  As the Bulletproof diet suggests, lightly cooked or even raw food tends to be your healthiest option.

3) Adding Important Supplements Can Optimize Your Diet and Overall Performance

One of the assumptions with a standard paleo diet, is that supplements are not necessary when you are eating real food all the time.  While I believe this to be true to an extent, there are some key differences between our current food supply and what our hunter gatherer ancestors ate.  Mycotoxins, depleted soil and water, and current food production methods are just a few of the things that are making the same food less nutritious today than it was in our ancestral past.  It’s actually been estimated that the average person would have to consume over 27,000 calories daily just to meet their recommended vitamin and mineral needs.  But instead of just popping a multivitamin and calling it a day, the Bulletproof Diet would like people to make a more targeted approach with valuable supplements like vitamin D, calcium-D-glucarate, magnesium, and fish oil.

Over the last few weeks I have been experimenting with some of the Bulletproof principles by eating more butter (about a half a stick of KerryGold daily), chocolate (close to 1 full 85% Lindt bar daily), and coffee (I went from no coffee to about 1 cup daily).  I have also been eating more food raw or lightly cooked, and started adding in some key supplements like magnesium, vitamin D, and glutamine.  I look and feel pretty good so far and will keep everyone updated as I continue to experiment even more.

I have also tried both the Upgraded Coffee and the Upgraded Whey that Dave sells and I am very happy with both.  While they are more expensive than most coffee or protein products out there, I have little doubt that they are among the highest quality forms of either one that you could buy.  My brother claimed that the Upgraded Whey tastes like concrete, but personally I like the taste and don’t mind drinking it just mixed in water.  The coffee, on the other hand, tastes amazing, especially when blended with butter and coconut oil.  I feel pretty Superhuman (or should I say, Bulletproof) when I drink both and that is what really matters.

To purchase either product, check out the Upgraded Self store or click on the affiliate links you see below.

If eating more butter, chocolate, and coffee interests you than I would highly recommend checking out The Bulletproof Executive blog or listening to the Upgraded Self podcasts which you can find for free on ITunes.

BulletproofTM Upgraded Coffee

BulletproofTM Upgraded Whey

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  • mayhem

    Hello, Can you tell me when one would eat chocolate and “get some” ice cream on the bulletproof diet?  I’ve seen where some folks have the chocolate before breaking their fast but wouldn’t the small amounts of sugar (in a lindt bar) cause you to come out of ketosis.  I also have seen people eating the “get some” ice cream recipe before the fast as well…would that take you out of ketosis as well?  I’m just confused as to when the best time to eat these foods would be!

    • http://www.livingsuperhuman.com/ Tony Frezza

      Small amounts of sugar from a chocolate bar or small serving of the ice cream won’t pull you out of ketosis. Most people can maintain ketosis by shooting for the goal of under 50 carbs a day. Don’t try to do too much, reward yourself every 3rd or 4th day with a small, “better for you” treat and keep your sanity mayhem. :)

  • http://www.fishingbuddha.com/ Amit Sonawane

    Still going strong on the BP diet? I’d love to hear your thoughts now that you’re about a month in. 

    Thanks,

    Amit

    • Andrew

      I don’t know if you could necessarily say I was ever “on” the bulletproof diet specifically. Most of the nutrition principles that I have been following for the last year align closely with the bulletproof diet so in that sense I was following it. The one change I did make since stumbling across the BP Exec blog was consuming more dark chocolate, grass-fed beef, and butter than normal (not so much the coffee) without any noticeable negative effects. I have a much more physically active lifestyle than Dave so I think naturally there will be some differences in what we do personally and advocate for other people. One of those being eating more starchy vegetables like squashes, yams, sweet potatoes, and plantains when the BP Diet lists those in the foods that should be limited. All in all, I think the BP Diet is pretty solid and I like the way it is presented where people can continue to move closer and closer to the green side of the diet without being dogmatic about trying to be perfect.

  • Andrew Frezza

    Hey Bill,

    You make some excellent points and I agree with you that Dave probably couldnt have attained that level of leanness and muscle mass without a lot of the supplements that he takes. It should also be noted that most of Dave’s advice for other people is to sleep more and to supplement with basic vitamins and minerals like the things I have listed in the post, not necessarily testosterone. He specifically states several times on his podcast for others NOT to try and hack their sleep unless the rest of their life is completely in order. Dave seems to push the healthy limits for a lot of things out there while experimenting with his own body, but it seems like his advice for others is always more reasonable and more substantiated. Its also hard for me to argue with his current health results (based on his own reporting of blood tests and such) even though I wouldnt personally do some of the more extreme things that he does.

    More importantly though I think his diet advice is great and he has a lot of good info on his siteand podcast. He probably exagerrates the 4000 calorie thing a little too much, but sometimes you have to tell people what they want to hear in order to tell them what they need to hear. There’s a lot of quality information once you get past the attention grabbing stuff.

  • Bill

    This should also read, “Dave also takes thyroid and testosterone to supplement his low conversion from T4 to T3 and the high chance of aromatization from his excess fat tissue”. He has admitted to this in a few of the podcasts, though very rarely on the blog posts or in the sections taking about his 4000 calorie diet without exercise. 

    Most people would get fat, regardless of how low carbs are, on that diet with that little of activity and sleep without hormonal supplementation. 

    I love Bulletproof Coffee and Whey, but Dave leaves out some key details when he’s playing salesman that end up being pretty suspect if you actually think about it. 

    • http://www.garmaonhealth.com/ Joe

      I appreciate the head up re Dave’s supplementation, as have been scratching my head over his bulletproof diet. It goes against much of what I thought was true, stuff imparted by some pretty smart fellas like Drs. Hyman, Mercola, Weil and Ornish, not to mention my own experience.

      I have a health blog of my own and intend on writing a pros and cons piece about this and the carb back loading diets popular on the weight lifting web sites.  But need to learn more about it all first.

      -Joe

      • http://www.livingsuperhuman.com Andrew Frezza

        Thanks for the input Joe! I know Dr. Mercola and Dave agree on a lot of things. Dr. Mercola’s diet infographic is actually almost identical to the bulletproof diet infographic. Good luck with your blog!

      • mike

        Joe, apparently some can overeat fat calories in large amounts and lose fat or at least not gain. most likely those who are keto adapted who’s bodies burn fat.

    • Mierty

       Your reply should also read “I didn’t do the extra research that reveals Dave has been on thyroid medication his entire life as he has Hashimoto’s. Even when he was fat.”. Watch Joe Rogans podcast episode with him on it. He tells you flat out you should really exercise and he was just depriving himself in order to show how this diet works in efficency of burning fat in the most SEVERE cases. The diet works and i’ve been on it for months and im feeling the best i’ve ever felt, mentally and physically. Coupled with intermittent fasting – which is how he eats 4000 a day. You shed the damn fat off. Not sure if you are trying to justify that you eat carbs, or what. But the science is proven. Ancel Keys was wrong and used terribled skewed data.

      • mike

        And where are your dexa scans? Food logs, BF% testing? Dave is a scamming sales guy. So tired of his “bulletproof” bullshit overpriced crap. Post your proof you lost fat at 4000 cals – I want to do it too.