Coffee for Weight Loss

The smell of a fresh cup of coffee spreading through the house. Its pleasant aromas invite to relation and enjoying the moment. Can it get any better?

Besides the pleasant feeling it provides, coffee also boosts our energy level, keeps us awake, enhances our physical performance, etc.

However, some researchers suggest that this dark-color drink can also help us burn fat. Is this just another marketing trick, or coffee truly has another loving trait?

Coffee beans; image source:

It’s all Chemistry!

After tea, coffee is the most popular drink in the world. More than 2.25 billion cups of coffee are consumed worldwide each day. Impressive, right?! But, what is actually in your cup of coffee?

If it’s good, water makes 98.75% of its content and 1.25% is plant matter. Besides the famous caffeine, there are 2-ethylphenol, quinic acid, theobromine, theophylline, chlorogenic acid, putrescine, and some other chemical substances in coffee which provide its unique taste and smell.

Coffee Helps Weight Loss – True or False?

Some studies indicate there is a connection between weight loss and coffee consumption. However, like with most health-related issues, there are always both pros and cons.

Is coffee a Wonder-Potion?

Caffeine is probably the MVP of the coffee team (also found in tea, energy drinks, chocolate, dietary supplements, etc.). It is a central nervous system stimulant and a huge source of antioxidants.

Pouring coffee into a cup; image source:

Some theories suggest that caffeine affects weight by:

  • Suppressing appetite – caffeine makes you feel full and reduces the desire to eat.
  • Increasing energy use (metabolic rate) by 3-11%. Caffeine induces thermogenesis, a process of generating heat and energy from digesting the food we consume. Hence, our body is more efficient in using sugars and fat (primary energy sources).
  • Mobilizing fat tissue – caffeine stimulates the nervous system and increases adrenaline level, which both signal fat cells to break down on fatty acids, and become vulnerable. This way fatty acids are an easy prey for oxidation process (with the end products being CO2 and water)
  • Increasing athletic performance. Caffeine enhances energy level and makes us work harder. However, this is only effective if you drink a cup of coffee an hour before your workout. Otherwise, the effect will not prevail.
  • As an antioxidant, caffeine is also important for muscle recovery after exercise and the overall immune response.

However, it is not all about the caffeine. Some studies suggest that both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee act protective against deterioration of glucose tolerance.

Okay, BUT…

Unlike black and white coffee, the story behind coffee-related weight loss is a bit grayish. Too much coffee and caffeine may potentially lead to weight gain. Mainly by making you eat much more than usual (despite the aforementioned appetite suppression). Namely, caffeine increases the level of cortisol – stress hormone, which subsequently increases the desire for not so healthy food, rich in sugar, fat, and salt.

Additionally, if coffee replaces breakfast, you will eat more during the rest of the day, once its effects ware off.

How to Consume Coffee Properly for Weight Loss?

When it comes to weight loss and coffee, it is very important to know that black coffee is calorie free  (or almost calorie free) – a cup of long black coffee has just three calories, while others like mocha (395 calories), latte (224 calories), frappuccino, macchiato, etc. have significantly more calories. Add some sugar to the mix and it kind of defeats the purpose.  So, choose a small serve, with skimmed milk, no extra sugar, whipped cream or syrup.

Most importantly – drink quality coffee. Grinding coffee is an important, yet simple way of improving the quality of your favorite coffee. Coffee experts offer the following tips:

  • Never use pre-grind coffee, but get whole bean and grind them yourself.
  • Choose the appropriate grind consistency, according to the brewing method you use (coarse, medium, fine).
  • Measure the coffee beans, depending on the size of your grinder – you don’t want to grind too much. Use a small kitchen scale.
  • Choose the right grinder – burr grinder is highly recommended over blade grinder. Blade grinders may result in very poor, inconsistent grind. Burr grinders have two cutting discs that perform fine grinding. They can be automatic and manual. Both provide very good results.
  • Enjoy your coffee, but keep it moderate.

Although coffee can increase your metabolism and potentially help in losing weight, long-term coffee drinkers may easily develop tolerance. That’s why it is best to stick with 2 or 3 cups of coffee per day. Your body will be grateful.

About author:
This article was contributed to by a guest author.


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