To lose weight, you must burn more calories than you consume over a set period of time. The caffeine in a cup of coffee, which is 72 to 200 milligrams, can help you burn more calories and encourage you to take in fewer calories. But drinking more of the caffeinated beverage alone isn't an effective long-term weight-loss strategy. Although many adult Americans drink coffee regularly, more than 2 in 3 of them are overweight or obese, the Weight-Control Information Network reports.
Can Boost Metabolic Rate
The number of calories that you burn every day is referred to as your basal metabolic rate. The faster your metabolic rate, the more calories you burn in a day and the easier it is for you to lose weight. The caffeine in coffee can stimulate the release of hormones that activate your nervous system and increase thermogenesis. Your metabolic rate speeds up and you, in turn, burn more calories throughout the day, even when you’re at rest. However, unless you eat fewer calories than you burn off, this boost won't help you lose significant weight or keep it off.
May Suppress Appetite
Because caffeine has the potential of suppressing your appetite, drinking coffee can also support weight loss by helping limit how much food you eat and therefore how many calories you consume. A study published in Obesity in 2013 found that a moderate amount of caffeine was effective in significantly reducing how many calories the overweight or obese subjects of the study consumed. When you’re not hungry, you’re less likely to snack throughout the day or eat large meals. As a result, you may be more likely to create the caloric deficit that’s necessary for weight loss.
However, the normal-weight participants in the study did not experience this appetite-suppressing effect, and it's not clear whether the effect lasts long enough to really help with weight loss in the long term.
Coffee With Exercise
Incorporating regular bouts of cardio and resistance training into your regimen will help you increase the number of calories you burn and thus help you create a caloric deficit, and coffee can potentially help your workouts be more effective. Having coffee before your workout can improve your physical performance, which in turn could help you have a better quality workout and burn more calories during your training session.
Caffeine stimulates your central nervous system, which in turn makes you more alert. It also encourages your working muscles to use fat as their fuel source, which helps preserve muscle glycogen and allows you exercise longer, according to Rice University's SportsMedWeb.
A study published in 2005 by the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports found that caffeine can decrease your rate of perceived exertion, which is how hard you feel you’re exercising. As a result, you exercise at a higher intensity and burn more calories.
Although drinking coffee can cause you to burn more calories, keep your caffeine intake relatively in check. While consuming 400 milligrams or less is generally safe for healthy adults, having too much caffeine can lead to nervousness, anxiety, upset stomach, sleep problems and an unsafe increase in blood pressure. While coffee alone contains little to no calories, specialty coffee drinks like lattes and mochas are often high in calories and can work against your weight-loss goals.
- MayoClinic.org: Does Caffeine Help With Weight Loss?
- American Council on Exercise: Caffeine -- Does It Help or Hurt Performance?
- Teens Health: Caffeine
- Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity: Targets and Therapy: Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Linear Dose, Crossover Study to Evaluate the Efficacy and Safety of a Green Coffee Bean Extract in Overweight Subjects
- Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports: Effects of Caffeine Ingestion on Rating of Perceived Exertion During and After Exercise: A Meta-analysis.
- Obesity: Effect of Different Amounts of Coffee on Dietary Intake and Appetite of Normal-weight and Overweight/Obese Individuals
- Weight-Control Information Network: Overweight and Obesity Statistics
- Rice University: Caffeine and the Athlete
- Photo Credit Comstock/Stockbyte/Getty Images
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