Whether you love it hot or iced, coffee is one of the most popular beverages in the world.
Its benefits include appetite control and improved metabolism, which could aid weight loss.
Yet, coffee contains caffeine, which may lead to poor sleep and more sugar cravings in certain individuals, both factors which may negatively impact weight.
So, could coffee become your new go-to diet drink?
Pros of coffee for weight loss
Boost in your exercise
Drinking a cup of coffee one hour before hitting the gym can help you work out longer at a higher rate of intensity, so you will end up burning more calories before getting tired. The calorie-burning effects lasts even longer after you’re done working out.(source)
Caffeine showed that it can trigger dopamine, the chemical that makes you feel pleasure. This means you might just enjoy your workout more.
Coffee Raises Your Metabolism
The higher your metabolic rate, the easier it is for you to lose weight and the more you can eat without gaining weight.
Caffeine is a natural stimulant commonly found in coffee, tea, and soda. Per serving, coffee typically contains the highest amount of caffeine of these three beverages.
One cup (250 ml) of brewed coffee has about 95 mg of caffeine. Still, the caffeine content varies depending on the type of bean, roasting style, and preparation.
Studies have shown that drinking coffee can actually raise your metabolism and help you burn fat at a faster rate, therefore positively affecting your weight loss. (source)
It also has been shown to improve athletic performance and endurance during exercise.
Caffeine offers some calorie-burning benefits that help your weight-loss efforts. It does this by stimulating your nervous system, causing it to send signals to your fat cells to break down body fat.
Caffeine may reduce your appetite
Caffeine may also help reduce your appetite.
Having a cup of coffee mid-morning, could steer you clear of snacks until it’s time for lunch.
Appetite is controlled by many different factors, including nutrient composition of meals, hormones, and activity levels. Drinking caffeinated coffee may reduce levels of your hunger hormones.
Some research indicates that this is true to an extent but drinking coffee shortly before a meal may decrease how much you eat at that meal.(source)
Caffeinated coffee may help decrease calorie intake for some people, but more research is needed before definitive claims can be made.
Cons of coffee and weight loss
How Much Coffee Is Too Much?
If you happen to drink too much, there can be some short term side effects of coffee you may want to be aware of, such as:
- Anxiety or mild panic attacks
- Inability to relax
- Rapid heartbeat
- Unable to sleep
- Light headed or dizziness
- Stomach aches
Because it’s a stimulant, it can make you feel buzzed, when you would rather feel calm and in control. This edgy feeling can mean that you reach for the snack cupboard. Too much can also cause lethargy, irritability and grumpiness.
Caffeine may disrupt healthy sleep patterns
Caffeine acts as a stimulant by blocking the effects of adenosine, a chemical in your brain that makes you sleepy. (source)
Although it may be helpful if you need that extra jolt of energy. However, if consumed later in the day, coffee may interfere with your sleep patterns.
This can lead to weight gain. Poor sleep is associated with higher body weight, increased appetite, and more cravings for processed food.
Be Careful of the coffee pairings
Many people associate coffee with a sweet treat, such as a pastry. That’s because caffeine alters your perceived sense of sweetness, which may result in craving sugary foods
The daily addition of a high-sugar snack with your coffee may lead to eventual weight gain.
To avoid the sugar cravings and potential weight gain, enjoy your coffee with foods that provide a source of protein and healthy fat — such as a handful of nuts or an egg breakfast.
Certain coffee drinks are loaded with calories and sugar
Although plain coffee is low in calories, many coffee beverages are packed with calories and sugar.
Coffee shops and popular franchises sell sweetened coffee drinks that contain added sugar and hundreds of calories. For example, the high amount of sugar in coffee creamer that can turn a cup of coffee into an unhealthy, calorie-packed beverage. Some creamers that are dairy-free are made with a combination of sugar and corn syrup.
They can also contain trans fat, a leading cause of heart problems, so always double-check ingredient lists and nutritional labels.
While a coffee comes with a host of health benefits and can give your athletic performance a boost, there are warnings about drinking too much.
Coffee alone does not cause weight gain, it may, in fact, promote weight loss by boosting metabolism and aiding appetite control.
To minimize your risk of weight gain, try cutting out added sugar and high-calorie additives.
If you’re primarily interested in coffee for the sake of fat loss, it may be best to cycle your coffee drinking habits to prevent a buildup of tolerance.
Consuming a daily cup of coffee can be a healthy way to start your day. My advice is to take a balanced approach and although it is a stimulant and can bring on sugar cravings, sticking to the safe limit of 4 cups a day or less shouldn’t hurt.
Remember, eating clean, being active, getting enough sleep, and managing stress are still the pillars of healthy, sustainable weight loss.