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Published on July 9, 2021

Does Coffee Help You Lose Weight?

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Does Coffee Help You Lose Weight?

If you’ve been whining until now about how all the good things in life are unhealthy to consume, then look no further than your good old ‘‘cup of joe.’’ There’s a lot that can happen over a cup of coffee.

Coffee is a guilty pleasure that can have significant health benefits, including losing weight. Yes, you read that right!

Combined with a healthy lifestyle that includes nutritious food and regular exercise, consuming coffee is a complimentary weight loss strategy when consumed lean, in moderation, and at optimal times.

Let’s discuss how coffee helps your body burn fat and improves your metabolism. We will also learn if there is such a thing as too much coffee and the right way to drink it to reap its health benefits.

What Makes Coffee a Potent Weight Loss Potion?

One word: Caffeine.

Caffeine, the world’s most commonly consumed psychoactive substance, is a key ingredient in most commercial fat-burning supplements. It can boost your metabolism, make you alert and active, and help mobilize and burn fat tissues.[1]

You will also find caffeine in most beverages like coffee, tea, colas, cocoa-based drinks, and energy drinks (colas, cocoa-based drinks, and energy drinks are not advised for consumption due to high sugar content).

Three theories indicate how coffee may help in weight loss:

  • By suppressing your appetite
  • By improving your metabolism
  • By burning fat

Let’s take a closer look at how coffee helps you lose weight and the evidence for it.

Does Coffee Suppress Your Appetite?

Coffee can help you in working towards your weight loss goals. Drinking coffee suppresses your feelings of hunger and appetite. Your appetite is affected by many factors, including your physical activity levels, lifestyle and food habits, and hormones.[2]

Caffeine stimulates the hormone peptide YY (PYY), also known as the satiety hormone.[3] The more coffee you drink, the more you feel less hungry and more satisfied. It also reduces the levels of the hormone ghrelin that is responsible for making you feel hungry.

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A European 2014 study confirmed the role of coffee in suppressing your appetite and hunger feelings. Participants reduced their food intake and reported feeling satiated within four weeks of drinking coffee daily.[4]

Does Coffee Burn Fat?

Here is an interesting angle to your coffee consumption: coffee can help in fat mobilization.

Caffeine triggers the nervous system, sending direct signals to the fat cells in your body to break down fat. It achieves this by increasing the blood levels of the hormone epinephrine, also called adrenaline. The adrenaline travels through your blood to the fat tissues, signaling them to break down fats and release them into your bloodstream.[5]

Coffee brings more good news for women than men based on the 2020 study published in The Journal of Nutrition.[6] In the recent National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, it was found that women who drink two to three cups of coffee daily have a lower total body and stomach fat (adiposity).

The research findings were consistent among those who consumed coffee that was caffeinated/decaffeinated, among smokers/non-smokers, and among those who have chronic conditions or not. Similar effects of coffee on body fat loss have also been documented in other research studies.[7] There may be bioactive compounds in coffee other than caffeine that contribute to weight loss.[8]

Does Coffee Increase Metabolism?

Coffee contains several biologically active substances that boost your metabolism, such as caffeine, theobromine, theophylline, and chlorogenic acid.[9]

Another fascinating fact is that coffee aids in calorie burning even when your body is at rest. The rate at which your body burns calories at rest is called resting metabolic rate (RMR). Various studies have proven that caffeine taken in larger doses can increase RMR by 3-11%. Caffeine stimulates the process of thermogenesis or heat and energy production from food digestion in your body.[10]

The study also found that the effect was more pronounced in lean and young people than those who were obese or aged. The effect may vary depending on each case.

Here’s what research has to say about coffee’s metabolism-boosting properties. The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health researchers conducted a 24-week study that monitored the effect of coffee on 126 overweight non-insulin sensitive people in Singapore over six months. Half of the participants were asked to drink four cups of caffeinated instant coffee daily. The other half of the group were asked to consume a coffee-like beverage but neither coffee nor caffeinated.

The original goal was to investigate if coffee consumption reduces the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Instead, the researchers discovered that drinking four cups of coffee daily could reduce body fat by 4%. They firmly believe that fat loss is fueled by coffee and the result of a “metabolic reaction.” Caffeine ramps up the metabolic process and hence, the body’s ability to burn more calories with a modest loss of body fat.[11]

The metabolism and fat-burning properties of coffee were also studied in another research conducted by Derrick Alperet, a study co-author and research fellow in the Department of Nutrition, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The study confirmed that coffee consumption leads to an increase in metabolism, burning more calories, and reducing body fat.[12]

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Is There a Dark Side to Coffee?

Coffee is like a double-edged sword. Drinking too much coffee can negatively impact your health, causing headaches, jitters, digestion troubles, a spike in blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, increased palpitations, and even weight gain.

Coffee is akin to a drug as caffeine affects your pleasure centers, increasing dopamine levels and making you happier. The problem arises when you cannot function properly without coffee and feel grumpy, anxious, or jittery. It’s a red flag signaling addiction, dependence, and a relook into your sleep habits and mental health.

If you struggle with mental health challenges, then you might be particularly sensitive to coffee and its mind-altering effects. High doses of caffeine can cause a spike in anxiety and panic attacks.

It was proven in a joint study by the Sleep Disorders & Research Center, Henry Ford Hospital, and the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences, Wayne State College of Medicine in Detroit that caffeine taken six hours before bedtime had disruptive effects on sleep, causing or worsening insomnia.[13]

Sleep is a key weight loss tool, and when coffee consumption hampers your sleep routine, it puts you at risk for weight gain and obesity. Another study confirmed that losing sleep for 30 minutes every day can cause weight gain and promote the onset of type 2 diabetes.[14] So, gulping coffee to keep you alert and awake during the nighttime can harm your health, leading to weight gain and other complications. Poor sleep habits are often linked to increased appetite and cravings, specifically for high-calorie foods.

Studies have proven the link between the lack of sleep and an increase in ghrelin, the hormone that regulates your feelings of hunger, leading to greater calorie consumption and weight gain.[15][16]

Also, not all coffee drinks are alike. Several popular versions, such as a specialty frappuccino or macchiato, are loaded with sugar and fat, and regular consumption of these kinds of coffee will make you gain weight.

Coffee benefits are also dose-dependent. According to the U.S. Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, drinking about 400 milligrams (or about four cups) is considered safe, and that’s the dose that optimizes the metabolic and hunger suppression effects of caffeine. Each person should discuss the appropriate number of cups of coffee with their doctor. Anything above the recommended dose can lead to harmful health benefits and may negate the weight loss benefits.[17]

What Makes Coffee Good for Your Health?

There is a dark side to coffee consumption, but it is not as evil as it sounds either. It has scores of health benefits.

Coffee contains nutrients such as niacin, potassium, magnesium, and antioxidants, all of which can improve your heart health, digestive health, and support muscle function. It also contains caffeine, which boosts your energy, metabolism and can promote weight loss.

The popular misconception that coffee is a diuretic is not proven scientifically, and it does not increase the risk of dehydration. Coffee in moderation adds to your daily intake of fluids.[18]

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Regular coffee consumption also boosts your antioxidant intake. Coffee contains powerful antioxidants known as polyphenols which are plant micronutrients. Polyphenols have been linked to brain health, digestion, and decreasing your risk for certain chronic conditions.

Let’s discuss how to drink coffee for effective and sustainable weight loss in the next section.

How to Drink Coffee for Weight Loss

Yes, there are scientifically proven ways by which you can drink coffee that can help you lose weight. Here are some ways you can drink coffee for improved health, including modest weight loss.

1. Keep Your Coffee Lean

While you can enjoy a frappuccino as an occasional treat, it’s best to make your coffee light daily. Your best bet is black coffee as it makes the perfect beverage for those aiming for weight loss.[19] Black coffee contains less than five calories per serving (i.e., one 8-oz cup). If you have a sensitive stomach, have a light cracker with your black coffee.

If black coffee is not your thing, then you can add a dash of skimmed milk—regular or plant-based with preferably no sugar or low-calorie alternative natural sweeteners like stevia and erythritol. Coffee can be a healthy or unhealthy drink, depending on what you put in it.

Try not to consume more than four 8-oz cups of coffee that amounts to 400mg of caffeine every day for modest weight loss. If you prefer strong coffee, then consume less than the recommended four cups as too much caffeine in your body can unleash the dark side of it. Also, factor in the other caffeine-based foods, beverages, and medication you currently consume before deciding upon the cap on your daily coffee count.

2. Drink Your Coffee at Optimal Times

The world population consumes around 167 million bags of coffee annually. The average American drinks four cups of coffee daily, while the Europeans consume an average of seven cups of coffee daily.[20]

Coffee is a popular drink globally as it’s proven to boost energy and keep you alert. These properties of coffee can aid you in your weight loss goals.

Having a cup of black or lean coffee before your daily workout can help you lose weight fast. Research has proven that caffeine improves your exercise performance by around 11% on average.[21][22] It’s why coffee is consumed before doing endurance sports like running or biking as it helps you move faster with less muscle pain.[23]

Caffeine blocks adenosine, an inhibitory neurotransmitter, and releases a spurt of neurons and neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine, making you feel more energized and alert.

There is also a cut-off time for having coffee. Since coffee blocks adenosine, making you feel more awake, it can interfere with your sleep and hormone regulation if you consume it in the latter half of the day. It takes about 45 minutes for caffeine to affect your body and as much time to be absorbed in your cell membranes. The effect of caffeine can last for several hours.[24]

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Sleep is a critical weight loss tool. So, abstain from having coffee at least six to seven hours before your bedtime for quality sleep and hormone regulation. If you have insomnia, it’s suggested to stop coffee or any caffeine-based food consumption at noon.

3. Take Intermittent Breaks

You will become tolerant of the effects of caffeine over time if you regularly consume it. So, all the positive effects of caffeine or coffee, such as speeding up the metabolism and burning fat, flatten out as time passes by. However, it does continue to suppress your hunger and appetite and may make you eat less.

To make coffee a sustainable weight loss tool, give it and other caffeine-containing foods a break for some time before incorporating them into your diet again. You can gradually cut down coffee or go on a complete caffeine detox for cycles of one week, two weeks, and so on.[25] This way, your body doesn’t get used to caffeine, and its positive effects on your body aren’t wasted.

If you are habituated to coffee, opt for the decaffeinated kind in the interim period, or try other healthy beverages such as fruit and vegetable-based drinks as you work towards better health.

Does Coffee Actually Help You Lose Weight?

Coffee alone won’t help you lose weight. But it can be used as a weight-loss tool when consumed lean, in moderation, and at optimal times. As long as you are having your coffee lean at no more than 400mg of caffeine a day and not before six to seven hours before bedtime, it is a healthy beverage that’s superpowered with antioxidants. Please consult your doctor regarding your personalized coffee drinking plan.

However, you have to be mindful of the dark side of coffee if you have chronic conditions or struggle with mental health issues. Too much coffee can make you nervous, irritable, dependent, cause digestion problems, nausea, insomnia, increased blood pressure, heart rate, and other health problems.

You may also need to take a break from coffee for it to work as a sustainable weight-loss tool for you as its effect is diminished in the long term due to tolerance.

When combined with a healthy lifestyle that includes nutritious food and regular exercise, consuming coffee can be a complimentary weight loss strategy. But as coffee affects everyone differently, it’s advisable to consult your family physician about its use as a weight-loss tool for your lifestyle.

More About the Effects of Coffee

Featured photo credit: Crystal Shaw via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Healthline: Can Coffee Increase Your Metabolism and Help You Burn Fat?
[2] Mayo Clinic: Does caffeine help with weight loss?
[3] PubMed.gov: Coffee, hunger, and peptide YY
[4] ScienceDirect: Four-week coffee consumption affects energy intake, satiety regulation, body fat, and protects DNA integrity
[5] The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: Metabolic effects of caffeine in humans: lipid oxidation or futile cycling?
[6] The Journal of Nutrition: Regular Coffee Consumption Is Associated with Lower Regional Adiposity Measured by DXA among US Women
[7] Harvard School of Public Health: Four cups of coffee a day associated with a modest loss of body fat
[8] NCBI: Mechanisms of action of coffee bioactive components on lipid metabolism
[9] Journal of Internal Medicine: Metabolomic response to coffee consumption: application to a three-stage clinical trial
[10] PubMed.gov: Normal caffeine consumption: influence on thermogenesis and daily energy expenditure in lean and postobese human volunteers
[11] Harvard School of Public Health: Four cups of coffee a day associated with a modest loss of body fat
[12] The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: The effect of coffee consumption on insulin sensitivity and other biological risk factors for type 2 diabetes: a randomized placebo-controlled trial
[13] Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine: Caffeine Effects on Sleep Taken 0, 3, or 6 Hours before Going to Bed
[14] ScienceDaily: Losing 30 minutes of sleep per day may promote weight gain and adversely affect blood sugar control
[15] NCBI: Short Sleep Duration Is Associated with Reduced Leptin, Elevated Ghrelin, and Increased Body Mass Index
[16] Harvard School of Public Health: 3 ways decreased sleep contributes to overeating
[17] Mayo Clinic: Caffeine: How much is too much?
[18] Mayo Clinic: I’ve been seeing ads that say caffeinated drinks hydrate you as well as water does. Is this true?
[19] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Water and Healthier Drinks
[20] Statista: Coffee consumption worldwide from 2012/13 to 2020/21
[21] Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports: Effects of caffeine ingestion on rating of perceived exertion during and after exercise: a meta-analysis
[22] Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition: Caffeine increases maximal fat oxidation during a graded exercise test: is there a diurnal variation?
[23] WebMD: How Caffeine Affects Your Body
[24] ResearchGate: Early effects of caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee on subjective state and gender differences
[25] Caffeine Informer: Caffeine Tolerance: Causes, Prevention, and Reset

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Dr. Arun Villivalam

General Practitioner and Primary Care Doctor

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Last Updated on August 12, 2021

20 Delightful Tea And Coffee Recipes You Should Try At Least Once

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20 Delightful Tea And Coffee Recipes You Should Try At Least Once

It’s likely that you drink a fair amount of tea or coffee every day. Even if you don’t drink them daily, you probably don’t stay away from occasionally sipping a cup of tea or coffee, as you fancy. Be it a cold winter day or a hot summer afternoon, these caffeine packed beverages are a popular choice. With the extra touch of additional ingredients for taste and health, your caffeine beverage now comes in a variety of creative recipes. Here, below, are 20 delightful tea and coffee recipes to jazz up your regular caffeine dosage and shake you free from your thirst.

1. Easy Chai Tea

1

    Easy chai tea is a “throw-in-what-you’ve-got” tea that you can literally spice up with exotic spices to keep you warm through a cold winter. Although winter is almost over, you can’t go wrong trying out this simple recipe. It could even replace your morning and evening beverage—who knows?—since it’s so very simple to prepare. (Click here for the recipe)

    2. Hot and Spicy Himalayan Tea

    2

      A nice infusion of a whole lot of spices and Darjeeling tea, this hot and spicy Himalayan tea is what has been keeping the people high in the Himalayan mountains warm for ages. Get the taste of Himalaya in a cup with this recipe. (Click here for the recipe)

      3. Hot Cranberry Tea

      3

        “A cup of tea can solve anything.” When the cup of tea is as good as hot cranberry tea, you don’t worry about having to solve anything. The hot cranberry tea smells just as good as it tastes. You can get inventive making it with the spices that are readily available in your cupboard. (Click here for the recipe)

        4. Hibiscus Lemongrass Tea

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        4

          Hibiscus is slowly gaining popularity in the beverage industry for the health benefits it brings, along with its authentic color and taste. Try hibiscus lemongrass for once instead of lemon in your tea and see. It is just as good iced as it is hot and is easy to prepare. (Click here for the recipe)

          5. Matcha Tea

          5

            Matcha tea comes with plenty of health benefits. You can prepare matcha tea at home in several ways. In the simplest version, all you have to do is measure the required amount of matcha tea powder and mix it with a small amount of boiling water. Then, you add additional water as necessary. (Click here for the recipe)

            6. Perfect Vanilla Tea

            6

              Vanilla comes second in the list of the most expensive spices in the world. Its elegant flavor explains why vanilla is loved so much in a wide variety of pastries and beverages. Perfect vanilla tea is a perfect blend of plain tea and exotic spices to create a perfect mug any time of day. (Click here for the recipe)

              7. Lemon Spiced Wellness Tea

              7

                Feel a bit under the weather? Tea. Even better: lemon spiced wellness tea. It contains no sugar but you can sweeten it as you like. This is your road to wellness. (Click here for the recipe)

                8. Chocolate Mint Cappuccino

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                8

                  Most of us start our day with a big cup of coffee. Hot chocolate mint cappuccino coffee to start a cold winter day- nothing is more soul-warming than that. The invigorating flavor of mint and the richness of chocolate in this cappuccino will take your coffee experience up a notch. (Click here for the recipe)

                  9. Italian Cappuccino

                  9

                    In Italian, cappuccino literally means “little cap”. The frothy, foamy little cap of milk and cream on top of the espresso base has won millions of hearts around the world, making coffee the most popular beverage. It’s best when you use fresh coffee to prepare this drink. This Italian cappuccino would be a nice start to the day during a cold winter or any time of year. (Click here for the recipe)

                    10. Caramel Macchiato

                    10

                      Caramel always leaves its mark when used in any kind of food or beverage. This delicious cup of caramel macchiato is sure to leave you wishing for more. You can try it with different kinds of flavored syrups as substitutes to caramel. Try a cup of warm caramel macchiato with some cookies for a perfect snack. (Click here for the recipe)

                      11. Coffee Frappe

                      11

                        You don’t always have to take your coffee hot; try a frappe. If you like blended coffee drinks, blend vanilla ice cream, vanilla extract, coffee, milk, ice, and simple syrup in a blender until smooth; pour it in a tall glass; top it up with whipped cream and sprinkle the cocoa powder. Enjoy! You can prepare it in an instant. (Click here for the recipe)

                        12. Walnut Coffee Frappe

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                        12

                          Blend in some walnut with your coffee frappe and there you have your walnut coffee frappe! This delicious coffee shake will shake you up with its rich texture and taste. There isn’t any better way to enjoy the taste of walnut in a beverage. Treat your family to this delightful frappe to win them over. (Click here for the recipe)

                          13. Easy Peppermint Mocha

                          13

                            If you love the peppermint flavor, you will love this even more: mocha and peppermint. They blend perfectly together. This simple peppermint mocha is easy to make with easily available ingredients and the taste will stimulate your taste buds. The crushed peppermint candy cane topping makes it delightfully minty. (Click here for the recipe)

                            14. Cinnamon Dolce Latte

                            14

                              The simple cinnamon syrup is the secret to this wonderful coffee treat. After all, it’s a cinnamon dolce latte. The heartwarming taste of butter and brown sugar also mix together beautifully in this latte. You can leave out the butter and this drink still stands out for its delightful taste. Give it a try at home and save yourself a trip to Starbucks. (Click here for the recipe)

                              15. Skinny Caramel Frappuccino

                              15

                                This Starbucks-style Frappuccino is cold, creamy rich and truly satisfying. You might be wondering why they call it “Skinny” Caramel Frappuccino. Every ingredient, including the sweetener in this beverage is sugar-free and fat-free to make sure that you stay “skinny” like you want, and there’s guaranteed satisfaction. The recipe claims to have only 50 calories per serving. (Click here for the recipe)

                                16. Chocolate Cherry Jubilee Frappe

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                                16

                                  There is no wrong time for a frappe, so here’s another frappe with creative flavors. Mix in a cherry flavor to your coffee frappe to add a new taste twist. This drink is chocolaty and the cherry flavor blends really well with it. I’m sure you will love this chocolate, coffee and cherry combo. (Click here for the recipe)

                                  17. Lemonade Sweet Tea

                                  17

                                    Lemon goes very well with any kind of tea, hot or iced. A tall glass of hot lemon tea early in the morning helps cleanse your digestive system, experts say. This tall glass of cold lemon tea is equally revitalizing and thirst quenching. (Click here for the recipe)

                                    18. Ginger-and-Honey Sweet Tea

                                    18

                                      Tea is known to have antioxidants that help you fight aging. Add ginger and honey to it and get a healthy and delightful iced tea. Sip and savor this iced drink on a summer day to beat the heat. (Click here for the recipe)

                                      19. Minty Iced Green Tea

                                      19

                                        People love green tea for the health benefits they believe it has. Studies show that drinking green tea helps fight cancer and heart diseases. Mint leaves add a cool, refreshing flavor to this simple green tea. This makes a healthy beverage perfect for quenching your thirst any time and in any season.  (Click here for the recipe)

                                        20. Nutella Blended Coffee Drink

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                                        20

                                          The infusion of the flavors in this blended coffee is over the top. Chocolate, coffee, Nutella; people love them already for what they are individually. The combo of these three is a unique flavor that you will love even more. (Click here for the recipe)

                                          Featured photo credit: Pexels via static.pexels.com

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