caffeine and weight loss

Does Caffeine Help You Lose Weight?

Coffee is the third most popular beverage in the world, behind tea and water. In the U.S., over 200 million Americans, or 66% of the population, drink coffee daily. The majority of these people regularly consume coffee because it contains caffeine, a mild stimulant known to increase energy levels and improve mood among coffee drinkers, enabling them to get through the day. Due to claims that it can aid in weight loss, many people also consume coffee to see if it will help them cut down on their weight. In this post, I look at whether caffeine can help you achieve your weight goals.

Can Caffeine Contribute to Weight Loss?

To start, you need to be aware that there are other caffeine sources besides a cup of coffee. These sources include most commercial weight-loss pills, green tea and energy beverages. Whatever caffeine source you use, here are some ways it can help you lose weight.
  • Caffeine Can Rev Up Metabolism

Metabolism is how your body breaks down what you consume into the energy it requires to function. The faster this process is, the more calories you burn in a day, and this can accelerate your weight loss. Research has shown that caffeine may help you burn fat faster by boosting your metabolism. One study 1 found people who drank coffee had significantly higher metabolic rates three hours later than those who didn't. Another study 2 showed caffeine boosted the resting metabolic rate, which is the number of calories burnt while you're asleep or resting, by 3-11%. Caffeine's improvement of your metabolism is one of the main reasons manufacturers of weight loss supplements include it in their products.
  • Caffeine Can Reduce Your Calorie Intake

Weight gain happens when you're consuming more calories than your body is burning. So, to lose weight, you need to create a calorie deficit, which occurs when the amount of calories you consume is less than what your body needs to keep you at your current size. For example, if your body needs 2000 calories and you consume 1600 calories daily, you'll have achieved a calorie deficit. The amount of calories you consume daily is determined by factors such as gender, age, current weight, metabolic health, height, and activity level. On average, however, women need 1,600 to 2,400 calories daily and men 2,000 to 3,000 calories, and according to the National Institute of Health, reducing your calorie intake by 500 daily can help you lose 0.450 kilograms (1 pound) a week. So what does all this have to do with caffeine? Caffeine can help you eat fewer calories by reducing your appetite and making you feel satiated. It does this by lowering levels of ghrelin 3, a hormone produced in the stomach to communicate to your brain it's time to eat, and stimulating peptide YY 4 (PYY), a satiety hormone. Drinking black coffee is also one of the easiest ways to minimize calorie intake. One cup of coffee without milk, sugar, or other ingredients has two calories and no fat, which makes it a perfect alternative to high-calorie drinks like juices, milkshakes, soda, etc., if you're trying to lose weight.
  • Caffeine Can Help You Exercise More to Lose Weight

If you have just started trying to lose weight and often don't feel motivated to exercise, the energy boost caffeine gives you can make it easier for you to work out. A study 5 involving 14 people who were given caffeine before doing 60 minutes of cycling found the substance made their workouts less difficult and more enjoyable compared to those who got a placebo. So, if you're struggling with exercise, your morning cup of coffee or a caffeine supplement before a workout may be all you need to help train harder to achieve your ideal weight. The above three points show there is evidence that caffeine does help with weight loss. However, caffeine can also get in the way of your weight loss. I'll explain how.

Caffeine's Role in Weight Gain

Some caffeine studies show it can increase your weight instead of reducing it. For example, you have probably heard many times that taking coffee before bed is a bad idea because it will keep you awake. This happens because caffeine blocks adenosine 6, a brain chemical that causes you to feel sleepy. While this may be welcome if you struggle to stay awake in the morning, caffeine interfering with your sleeping patterns can cause you to eat more. Research 7 suggests that poor sleep will lead to increased appetite, not feeling full after a meal, and cravings for comfort foods, all of which are bad for your weight loss journey. Caffeine stays in your bloodstream for up to 10 hours, and that is why the American Academy of Sleep Medicine advises against consuming caffeine six hours before your bedtime to avoid sleep disruption.
  • How You Get Your Caffeine Also Matters

If you're getting it from weight loss supplements, these most likely have the right amount to ensure you lose weight. If it's from drinking coffee, be careful how you take it. Adding sugar, milk, chocolate chips, etc., greatly increases the number of calories in your coffee. For example, a Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino has 370 calories, which is so much more than the two calories in black coffee, and having this one drink makes it hard for you to achieve the calorie deficit needed for weight loss. Also, after a while, you can become tolerant of caffeine 8. When this happens, you may not continue to enjoy its effects, such as improved metabolism, and this can cause you to stop losing or add weight. To ensure you don't build a tolerance to caffeine, you could try taking coffee breaks regularly. For example, you could drink coffee for two weeks and skip it for another two weeks.

Sources:

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7369170/
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7486839/
  3. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0963996914003378
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23204152/
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25123196/
  6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11283304/
  7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20357041/
  8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1888264/

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