You may have heard of Bulletproof Coffee — coffee blended with grass-fed butter and MCT oil. But did you know there’s a Bulletproof Diet as well?
The Bulletproof Diet is a low-carb diet that focuses on food quality and limiting your carb intake. Sounds a bit like keto, right? So, what are the differences between keto vs Bulletproof?
The Bulletproof Diet is similar to a cyclical ketogenic diet, but with a few more caveats and specific guidelines.
The diet’s founder, Dave Asprey, claims that the Bulletproof Diet can help you lose up to a pound of fat per day and enhance your energy and focus.
Are these claims true? And how does the Bulletproof Diet compare to the keto diet?
Here’s a look at keto vs Bulletproof, their similarities and differences, and how to tell which one is best for helping you meet your health goals.
What Is the Ketogenic Diet?
The keto diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet designed to get you into ketosis — a metabolic state in which you burn fat for fuel (instead of carbs).
On a standard, higher-carb diet, your metabolism uses glucose (from carbs) as its main source of energy.
But when you cut carbs out of your diet, your body has no glucose to burn. After a short transition period, it turns to fat as a fuel source instead.
A keto diet teaches your body to convert fat (both body fat and the fat you eat) into ketones, little bundles of clean-burning energy that power your cells.
When you burn fat as your primary fuel source, you’re in ketosis.
Ketosis comes with several benefits you won’t find on most other diets (you’ll read more about the benefits of ketosis below).
Keto Diet Macronutrients
On keto, you have to keep your carb intake under about 50 grams of carbs a day (you can find your ideal carb intake with the Perfect Keto Macro Calculator).
Keto meals usually include high-quality protein (grass-fed beef and lamb, wild seafood, chicken, pork), non-starchy green vegetables (kale, broccoli, cauliflower), and plenty of healthy fats (grass-fed butter, ghee, olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, full-fat dairy, and so on).
What Is The Bulletproof Diet?
The Bulletproof Diet was founded in 2014 by Dave Asprey, a tech executive turned self-proclaimed biohacker.
Asprey coined the term biohacking — changing your environment and lifestyle so that your body works better. He says that the Bulletproof Diet is the ideal diet for optimizing weight loss, energy levels, mental clarity, and healthy aging.
Bulletproof is a cyclical ketogenic diet, meaning you follow a keto diet most of the time, but add in a carb refeed day once a week.
On carb refeed days, you eat sweet potatoes, white rice, and other healthy carb sources to refill your glycogen stores and give your body a break from ketosis.
Asprey claims that staying in ketosis long-term can cause health issues and that you’re better off switching between fat-burning and carb-burning states.
Bulletproof Intermittent Fasting
As part of the diet plan, Asprey also suggests incorporating a variation on intermittent fasting, which he calls Bulletproof Intermittent Fasting.
Traditional intermittent fasting involves eating nothing for a portion of the day, then having all your calories in a shortened eating window.
Fasting can be great for inflammation, fat loss, mental clarity, and more (here’s a guide to intermittent fasting and its health benefits).
Asprey suggests a variation on fasting, where instead of eating nothing, you drink Bulletproof Coffee — a mix of Bulletproof’s “low-toxin” coffee beans, Brain Octane Oil (a branded, purified version of medium-chain triglyceride oil (MCT oil)), and grass-fed butter.
Asprey says that when you eat only fat during a fast, you preserve the benefits of true intermittent fasting and also get additional health benefits. However, there’s little evidence to back this claim.
Keto vs Bulletproof What do They Have in Common?
Keto and Bulletproof have a fair amount of overlap, and both can be good diets for weight loss and overall health.
#1: Both Focus on Food Quality
On both keto and Bulletproof, food quality matters. Both diets suggest that you eat the highest-quality foods you can find. Your body will benefit from nutrient-dense food that’s been grown or raised with care.
Keto and Bulletproof both encourage you to buy:
- Grass-fed meat
- Wild-caught fish
- Organic, non-GMO produce
- Pasture-raised pork, eggs, and chicken
#2: Both Promote Ketosis and its Health Benefits
Keto and Bulletproof both recommend that you get your body into ketosis, the fat-burning state in which you use fat as your main fuel source.
There are several benefits of ketosis, including:
While both keto and Bulletproof encourage ketosis, Bulletproof suggests that you cycle out of ketosis once a week with a carb refeed day. For more, read the next section on the differences between keto and Bulletproof.
#3: Both Eliminate Sugar, Grains, and Legumes
Eating too much sugar can contribute to a number of health problems, ranging from weight gain to type 2 diabetes.
They also suggest that you pass on grains and legumes, as both are high in carbs and can cause inflammation and gut issues in some people.
Keto vs Bulletproof: What Are The Differences?
While keto and Bulletproof are similar in many ways, there are a few key differences that set them apart.
#1: Bulletproof Recommends Cyclical Ketosis
On a standard keto diet, you stay in ketosis all the time. Ketosis keeps your body in fat-burning mode around the clock, which is great for inflammation, weight loss, hunger suppression, and a variety of other health benefits.
Bulletproof is a little different. On the Bulletproof Diet, you do cyclical ketosis, which means you have a carb refeed day once a week.
Asprey says that being in ketosis long-term can come with unwanted side effects, including decreased metabolic flexibility (i.e. your body’s ability to burn both carbs and fat for fuel), dry eyes, and possible thyroid problems.
Ketosis can cause a reduction in thyroid hormone production for some people[*], and if you have an autoimmune disease or existing thyroid issue, you may want to eat more carbs than ketosis requires.
There’s no research to suggest that long-term ketosis causes dry eyes unless they’re the result of simple dehydration, in which case you can drink more water.
Similarly, there’s no research to suggest that ketosis decreases metabolic flexibility.
#2: Cyclical Ketosis May be Better for High-Level Athletes
Some high-level athletes find they do better with a cyclical ketogenic diet like Bulletproof, as the extra carbs can help fuel consistent, intense workouts.
On the other hand, switching in and out of keto every week may mean you constantly have to deal with the keto flu, which can be difficult.
A more appealing option may be the targeted keto diet, which keeps you in ketosis almost all the time but still gives you enough carbs to fuel hard workouts.
#3: Bulletproof Requires Special Supplements and Products
The Bulletproof Diet hinges on Bulletproof Coffee, which you’re supposed to drink for breakfast most mornings.
Asprey is specific in saying that you should buy Bulletproof brand coffee beans, which he says are a key part of the Bulletproof Diet because they’re untainted by mold and other toxins.
Similarly, he promotes Brain Octane Oil, a Bulletproof-branded oil that is more purified than the standard medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil that most other companies sell.
Asprey claims that you’ll miss out on many of the health benefits of the Bulletproof Diet if you don’t buy Bulletproof-brand products. He also sells a wide range of supplements, protein powders, and other health-related goods.
Bulletproof products are fairly expensive, and if you consider them an essential part of your diet, your food costs can go up significantly.
Keto, on the other hand, requires no special products. You can start eating keto right now with a quick trip to the grocery store (although there are plenty of keto-friendly products that a lot of keto dieters enjoy).
Final Thoughts: Keto vs Bulletproof
Bulletproof and keto are similar diets, and they offer many of the same benefits. Both can help you reach your health and fitness goals.
Ultimately, what matters most is which diet feels best for you. Nutrition is quite personal, and the best way to find your ideal diet is to try several and find out what works for you.
Not sure where to begin? This simple guide to the keto diet has everything you need to get started today.