The relationship between coffee and weight loss exists and is proven by various studies. What coffee does is slow down the proliferation of fat itself and stimulate the production of brown fat, which, unlike white fat, does not raise triglycerides and therefore does not make you fat.
The first study that provides a scientific explanation on the subject was carried out by the University of Illinois in 2019, published in the Journal of Functional Food, and was conducted on a group of mice.
The researchers gave the animals a particular diet. Some of them were also given caffeine: the mice who drank coffee gained 16% less weight and accumulated 22% less fat than those who took the decaffeinated product.
This result showed that caffeine slows down the production of triglycerides and therefore helps not to gain excess fat.
Another study was also developed in 2019 by the University of Nottingham and concerned the differences between white and brown fat.
- The first is fat that we can define as harmful because it is loaded with triglycerides, present in the body in more significant quantities, and multiplies quickly.
- The second is the good fat, which allows you to protect yourself from the cold and therefore defend the body from external agents and is present in the body in less quantity.
A more significant presence of brown fat causes the white fat to multiply less: this study has shown that some foods, including coffee, stimulate the production of this good fat.
But first, let’s look at the active agent of coffee: caffeine.
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What Is Caffeine?
The feeling of strength and the buzz that a cup of coffee gives you is linked to the presence of this substance. Its effects have been known for several years, and caffeine consumption has always been associated with waking up and the desire to boost your energy levels throughout the day.
Its energizing action is recognized by those who practice sports, so many athletes use it before starting training. Caffeine is a stimulant that improves performance and reflexes as it maintains focus and activates the neuromuscular system.
The Role Of Coffee In Weight Loss
Coffee is a powerful fat burner and contains only three calories per cup; it stimulates the body and has a toning effect; thanks to caffeine, coffee plays an essential role in low-calorie diets.
If consumed in the proper doses, it is an elixir for daily activities and, combined with a low-calorie diet and regular physical exercise, makes you lose weight.
Its action against excess weight is linked to the presence of caffeine, which accelerates metabolism and burns fat storage. The secret to reaping the greatest benefits from coffee is to consume it in the morning, before exercise, and after meals, possibly with no sugar.
By doing so, you will burn excess fat and increase its fat-burning effect.
If you can’t stand the strong taste of bitter coffee, you can add a sprinkle of cinnamon to your espresso or drip coffee. This spice will give the coffee a more pleasant aroma and strengthen its dietary action.
To notice the effects of coffee on your diet, measure the areas of your body where fats are most concentrated. Caffeine helps burn fat instead of sugars, making the chest, hips, and belly lose weight more noticeably.
Remember not to over-consume coffee to avoid side effects and take full advantage of its benefits.
Coffee Lipolytic Effect In Weight Loss
Caffeine helps us lose weight because it triggers two processes in our body:
- Stimulation of the release of catecholamines, metabolism-boosting hormones, which induce an increase in basal metabolism of 10-15%
- It impacts localized fat and promotes its displacement—a direct lipolytic effect on catecholamine-independent adipose tissue that facilitates the mobilization of fatty acids.
The positive effects of caffeine on weight loss appear significant with at least 500mg dosages, while the recommended dose is less than or equal to 300mg/day.
These actions, associated with a low-calorie diet and physical activity, are effective on weight loss.
Function and Properties Of Caffeine
Caffeine has an absorption speed of 45 minutes and a relatively low half-life; after only 4.5-6 hours, the plasma content of this stimulant drops by 50% of the initial one.
Caffeine is a general stimulant in sports thanks to its potential for increased performance during caloric restriction phases and its direct and indirect lipolytic effect.
However, sports authorities also consider it an obsolete substance, subject to monitoring; the anti-doping limit restricts urinary concentrations of caffeine to no more than 0.012 mg/ml, a threshold beyond which the athlete is considered positive, therefore liable to be disqualified.
Also, caffeine, a stimulant, must be taken in moderation; this principle is valid in sports applications. Therefore, to adhere to the correct dosage, it would be essential to concentrate it only before the performance or training, limiting its intake during the rest of the day.
Caffeine in Foods
Caffeine is the most used stimulant on Earth. It is an alkaloid, such as atropine, nicotine, strychnine, or morphine, of the purine type contained in coffee beans and some foods like guarana, energizing drinks, colas, and cocoa.
The presence of caffeine in foods depends on both the initial content of the raw material and the extraction method. Still, the greatest amount of product is the coffee leachate obtained from the Moka pot (about 85mg of caffeine PER CUP).
What Are The Benefits Of Coffee?
Caffeine has many essential properties and, taken with the necessary precautions, brings many benefits:
- After lunch, drinking coffee stimulates digestion as caffeine stimulates gastric and biliary secretion.
- It stimulates the muscles and has a tonic effect on the cardiovascular system, from which the sensation of great energy derives after the consumption of coffee.
- It increases the number of calories consumed by the body thanks to its lipolytic effect. This, in addition to burning fat, allows you to use fat for energy rather than calories.
- It decreases the feeling of hunger as it has an anorectic (appetite-reducing) action.
- It improves sports performance.
- Caffeine acts on the nervous system by improving nervous excitability, reflexes, the ability to concentrate muscles, and confers a mild analgesic action.
Furthermore, caffeine interacts with adenosine receptors favoring the release of catecholamines. These two hormones induce an increase in heart rate, blood pressure, and respiratory rate.
Caffeine used before a physical performance or during a weight loss program can represent a synergistic element in maintaining motivation and sound neuromuscular activation.
Ultimately, during the caloric restriction or limitation of the athlete (not recommended), caffeine as a stimulant can represent a helpful support supplement for maintaining a good training stimulus.
Side Effects And Contraindications For Coffee Lovers
The abuse of caffeine (500 to 1000mg a day) can put highly stressed athletes at risk of sudden black-out during the performance.
Undesirable effects of caffeine in athletes are:
- Increase in diuresis with a tendency to dehydration
- Worsening intestinal absorption, especially riboflavin, calcium, iron, and creatine.
The consumption of coffee is, therefore, a real panacea. But be careful not to overdo it!
While coffee makes you lose weight, exceeding the recommended daily doses of caffeine has several risks for the body:
- In case of gastritis, ulcer, gastroesophageal reflux, it is better to avoid the consumption of coffee. Caffeine stimulates gastric secretion and the production of acids in the stomach and worsens the symptoms for those suffering from these pathologies.
- Coffee is not recommended for anyone with insomnia problems and hypertensive people. Its stimulatory effect can negatively affect those with tachycardia problems and blood pressure changes.
- Excessive use of coffee can aggravate anemic conditions and calcium deficiency due to the inhibitory effect of coffee.
- Coffee can create problems for the fetus, so it is best not to abuse it during pregnancy.
- Drinking too much coffee makes you nervous and can be addictive.
To limit these issues, you must know the right amount of coffee to consume per day. The upper limit for regular people is set at 300 milligrams of caffeine a day.
Consider that coffee made with an espresso machine contains about 60 mg, but other foods are caffeine-rich. Therefore, depending on your build, the recommended consumption is a maximum of 3 cups per day.
Coffee And Workouts
Drinking coffee becomes a natural recharge of energy even before training. Indeed, it would be correct to say above all before training: sipping a dark and steaming cup, for example, before a run, a session in the gym, or before any exercise helps have more energy, get tired less, and withstand fatigue more.
Regarding weight loss, using caffeine in conjunction with physical activity is the best thing that you can do to reach the desired results, maintain perfect physical shape, and keep healthy.
However, the properties of coffee and its alkaloid component, caffeine, can also be found after training. After playing sports, a cup of coffee replenishes the lost mineral salts and restores the glycogen percentages, thus contributing to the complete recovery of energy. A wonder drink.
Caffeine in sugary sodas makes you fat; a recent study titled “The influence of caffeine on the energy content of sugar-sweetened beverages: the caffeine-calorie effect” highlighted how the use of caffeine in the food industry could have anything but positive effects on the caloric balance of the population.
Ultimately, while it is true that caffeine can represent a valid aid in weight loss program in addition to diet and exercising, it is also true that the addition of caffeine in soft-drinks makes the perception of sweet taste worse, inducing excessive consumption of refined sugars.
On the contrary, by eliminating caffeine from drinks, it would be possible to reduce carbohydrates by 7.5g (28 kcal) per 500ml of product.
We can safely conclude that the caffeine in cola-type drinks indirectly worsens the caloric balance by inducing an excessive consumption of sugars to guarantee the perception of sweet taste.
Coffee is an excellent ally in weight loss as long as it is consumed in the proper doses and without sugar. This does not mean giving up the taste and pleasure of a cup of coffee, quite the opposite!
Drinking coffee is essential to avoid feeling the constraint of a diet and render your weight loss journey more pleasant.
My name is Jay Fielding. I gained an interest in fitness since I was a child, and eventually developed my passion into a career path. I am now a Certified Personal Trainer with a natural ability to program customized body recomposition and motivate people in achieving their goals, be it gaining muscle or losing fat.