The 10 Bulletproof Diet Principles + Benefits And Downsides

Read on to see if this Keto, low-carb, intermittent fasting mix is right for your lifestyle.

If you have heard of Bulletproof coffee before, you may be intrigued to know that there is a full-blown Bulletproof Diet that uses many of the same principles but broadened to your entire way of eating.

The Bulletproof diet is a cyclical keto diet with aspects of intermittent fasting intertwined. It promotes healthy eating and wellness while being quite restrictive.

In this diet guide, we will discuss what the Bulletproof Diet involves, what you can eat, and the pros and cons of the Bulletproof Diet plan.

Let’s jump in!

Bulletproof coffee.

What Is the Bulletproof Diet?

The Bulletproof Diet plan was created by Dave Asprey, the fitness guru who created the original Bulletproof coffee recipe and is known as the “fat-burning man.“

Bulletproof coffee is a high-fat coffee drink that is supposed to help keep your body in a state of ketosis and be used alongside intermittent fasting to help your body burn fat.

Dave Asprey’s Bulletproof Diet is also a low-carb diet that is supposed to help your body burn fat and sustain energy without needing to constantly “refuel the tank“ with sugar and carbohydrates.1Harvey, C. J. d. C., Schofield, G. M., Zinn, C., Thornley, S. J., Crofts, C., & Merien, F. L. R. (2019). Low-carbohydrate diets differing in carbohydrate restriction improve cardiometabolic and anthropometric markers in healthy adults: A randomised clinical trial. PeerJ7, e6273. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.6273

What Is The Difference Between Keto And Bulletproof Diets?

‌The Bulletproof Diet is similar to the keto diet because it restricts carbohydrates and is a high-fat diet intended to put your body into ketosis.

While the Bulletproof Diet and the keto diet share similarities in that they need to put the body in a state of ketosis or fat-burning, there are also some notable differences between them.

Keto is always a very low carbohydrate diet, with most health experts suggesting that you consume no more than 5% of your caloric intake from carbs or 50 g of carbs per day.

In contrast, the Bulletproof Diet carbs operate in a cyclical manner, so there are periods of higher carbohydrate intake and periods of low carbohydrate intake.

Dave Asprey calls this a cyclical keto diet.

He suggests that the benefit of periodically refueling with carbs is that it helps restock your glycogen so that you can capitalize on the benefits of having carbohydrates for exercise or other needs while still reaping the health and weight loss benefits of keto dieting.

A clock reading fast and eat.

Is Intermittent Fasting A Part Of The Bulletproof Diet Plan?

In addition to being similar to the keto diet in terms of what you eat, the Bulletproof Diet plan has aspects of intermittent fasting in that there are also rules about when you can eat in order to keep the body in a “fat-burning state.”

However, the Bulletproof Diet intermittent fasting schedule is not rigidly defined. Instead, Dave Asprey suggests that each dieter find the meal timing and frequency that works best for their energy levels and nutrient needs.

Some people combine the Bulletproof Diet and the one-meal-a-day diet (OMAD) plan such that they are really only eating one Bulletproof Diet meal per day and nothing else the entire day aside from non-caloric fluids and possibly Bulletproof coffee.

Other people are slightly more lenient and follow some type of time-restricted intermittent fasting diet schedule with their Bulletproof Diet routine, reducing their eating window to 4 to 8 hours and fasting the remainder of the day and night.

Protein and fats.

How Do You Follow the Bulletproof Diet Plan?

There are ten principles to how to follow the Bulletproof Diet plan for health and to lose weight:

#1: Remove Sugar

You cannot have any sugar, honey, corn syrup, or caloric sweetener. The Bulletproof Diet food list does permit alternative sweeteners such as monk fruit, Stevia, and sugar alcohols like erythritol.

#2: Eat Mostly Fat

Like the keto diet, the Bulletproof Diet is a high-fat diet. 

You are supposed to consume the bulk of your calories through high-quality fats such as fatty fish, beef cuts, lamb, avocado, whole eggs, grass-fed butter or grass-fed ghee, coconut, and Bulletproof MCT oil (medium chain triglycerides).

#3: Eliminate Grains and Gluten

The Bulletproof Diet food list eliminates all grains, including whole grains such as quinoa, oats, whole wheat, barley, rye, buckwheat, and brown rice

You also cannot have any foods that contain gluten, which is the protein found in wheat, barley, and rye.2de Punder, K., & Pruimboom, L. (2013). The Dietary Intake of Wheat and other Cereal Grains and Their Role in Inflammation. Nutrients5(3), 771–787. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu5030771

‌Gluten is present in many packaged products, anything with flour, seitan, and many sauces and condiments.

Lean meats and fats.

#4: Avoid Legumes

You cannot eat legumes on the Bulletproof Diet meal plan. This includes beans, lentils, chickpeas, hummus, and even peanuts.

According to Dave Asprey, legumes have anti-nutrients such as lectins, oxalates, and phytates that cause inflammation and work against your body’s health.

#5: Avoid Additives

The Bulletproof Diet meal plan is all about consuming real food. This means that you should avoid foods with preservatives, additives, artificial colors, artificial flavorings, and other synthetic ingredients.

#6: Remove Dairy

You cannot have conventional dairy on the Bulletproof Diet meal plan, such as milk, Greek yogurt, cheese, or cottage cheese.

If you really want to have dairy, you have to stick with full-fat, raw dairy products from grass-fed cows. 

You can have grass-fed butter and full-fat grass-fed cream, but all other forms of dairy should not be consumed. 

Instead, you are supposed to have full-fat coconut milk, coconut yogurt, and other full-fat coconut dairy substitutes.

Organic veggies.

#7: Protein Sourcing Matters

The Bulletproof Diet recipes strongly urge dieters to have only organic grass-fed meat and wild-caught seafood so that your protein sources are free from antibiotics, hormones, and grain-fed diets.3Berntssen, M. H. G., & Lundebye, A.-K. . (2008, January 1). 2 – Environmental contaminants in farmed fish and potential consequences for seafood safety (Ø. Lie, Ed.). ScienceDirect; Woodhead Publishing. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/B9781845692995500020

‌Grass-fed meat and wild-caught seafood have a healthier mix of fatty acids, such as more omega-3 fatty acids and also linoleic acid, which are anti-inflammatory as opposed to omega-6 fatty acids.4Ponnampalam, E. N., Mann, N. J., & Sinclair, A. J. (2006). Effect of feeding systems on omega-3 fatty acids, conjugated linoleic acid and trans fatty acids in Australian beef cuts: potential impact on human health. Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition15(1), 21–29. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16500874/

#8: Go Organic 

Food quality is the preeminent factor of the Bulletproof Diet food choices.

You are supposed to consume organic fruits and veggies, organic meat, organic eggs, and wild-caught seafood. Conventional produce contains pesticides that can be harmful to the digestive tract, hormonal balance, and metabolism.

#9: Cook At Low Temperatures

Although the Bulletproof Diet isn’t a raw food diet, you are supposed to avoid high-heat cooking methods such as frying. Instead, you are supposed to lightly grill or steam vegetables and meat or use a slow cooker or sous vide machine.

#10: Take Supplements 

Dave Asprey is big on supplements of all types but particularly recommends taking collagen peptides, MCT oil, various stress relief, and “Zen“ products that his company creates to “optimize health.

A diet plan in a notebook.

Is the Bulletproof Diet Good for Weight Loss and Health?

No readily available research studies are looking specifically at the health benefits of the Bulletproof Diet vs keto or some other conventional form of eating.

However, because there is quite a bit of overlap between the Bulletproof Diet, intermittent fasting diets, and the keto diet, it is reasonable to assume that many of the benefits of intermittent fasting5Tinsley, G. M., & La Bounty, P. M. (2015). Effects of intermittent fasting on body composition and clinical health markers in humans. Nutrition Reviews73(10), 661–674. https://doi.org/10.1093/nutrit/nuv041 and the keto diet apply to the Bulletproof Diet as well.6Cicero, A. F. G., Benelli, M., Brancaleoni, M., Dainelli, G., Merlini, D., & Negri, R. (2015). Middle and Long-Term Impact of a Very Low-Carbohydrate Ketogenic Diet on Cardiometabolic Factors: A Multi-Center, Cross-Sectional, Clinical Study. High Blood Pressure & Cardiovascular Prevention22(4), 389–394. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40292-015-0096-1

Related: Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

‌The primary downsides of the Bulletproof Diet for weight loss and health include the following:

  • Limited accessibility: Organic produce and proteins are very expensive, as are the recommended supplements.
  • Any diet that relies heavily on supplements raises questions as to why those nutrients cannot be obtained in the diet.
  • It removes many food groups that are typically considered healthy and provide important nutrients such as legumes, dairy, and whole grains. Even with supplements, you may have trouble getting enough fiber, B vitamins, folate, calcium, and other micronutrients.
  • The Bulletproof Diet is very restrictive, which can make it hard to stick to for the long term and can make it difficult to follow in social situations and real-world applications.7Gibson, A., & Sainsbury, A. (2017). Strategies to Improve Adherence to Dietary Weight Loss Interventions in Research and Real-World Settings. Behavioral Sciences7(4), 44. https://doi.org/10.3390/bs7030044
A person looking at a piece of lettuce.

Overall, the Bulletproof Diet emphasizes whole, natural, unprocessed foods and removes refined foods and sugars, making it a healthy meal plan in any regard.

However, it is quite restrictive and difficult to follow and may not be safe for everyone.

Therefore, you should speak with your healthcare provider or work with a registered dietitian or nutritionist before jumping into the Bulletproof Diet plan for weight loss or health.

A doctor holding out a stethoscope.

References

Photo of author
Amber Sayer is a Fitness, Nutrition, and Wellness Writer and Editor, as well as a NASM-Certified Nutrition Coach and UESCA-certified running, endurance nutrition, and triathlon coach. She holds two Masters Degrees—one in Exercise Science and one in Prosthetics and Orthotics. As a Certified Personal Trainer and running coach for 12 years, Amber enjoys staying active and helping others do so as well. In her free time, she likes running, cycling, cooking, and tackling any type of puzzle.

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