Coffee is one of those drinks that seems to be surrounded by myths and stories. One of these surrounds whether it really is good for weight loss or not. Here’s a look at some of the facts behind the stories.
The benefits of caffeine
One of the main reasons that coffee is seen as potentially good for weight loss surrounds the natural properties of caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant that contains a number of ingredients that can help with weight loss:
- Theobromine and theophylline – have a stimulant effect that boosts the metabolism
- Chlorogenic acid – slows the intake of carbohydrates
- Caffeine – central nervous system stimulant
Caffeine stimulates the nervous system and one side effect from this are boosting the signals to fat cells that tell them to work and break down fat. It also increases the amount of adrenaline in our bodies that give us more energy and means we can feel like doing more activity or exercise – this is why sports drinks that also contain caffeine are popular before workouts.
Another study by the University of New Mexico showed that caffeine increases the number of fatty acids in the blood that means we can do more for longer. It is an energy booster and also a brain booster that stimulates neurotransmitters that make the brain work better.
One of the side effects of those metabolic boosts we receive from coffee is that we can eat less and better control our appetites. Overeating is a common problem because our brains take around 20 minutes to tell our bodies that we have enough food and stop eating – by which time we have often eaten too much.
By boosting the metabolism and brain function, caffeine can help us realise we are full quicker and therefore avoid overeating. The effects do diminish as we get older so it is a benefit to make the most of while we can.
One of the big myths is that all coffee can help weight loss. While a straight black coffee can have benefits that can assist with weight loss, a big milky coffee with lots of sugar in it won’t be as beneficial. If you are trying to lose weight, look at what you put into your coffee and consider the calories that you are consuming from those extra ingredients.
For example, a large mocha can have 400-500 calories in it while an iced cappuccino with syrup added can top 600 calories. If you are working to control your calorie intake to help with weight loss, then you need to consider this in your daily plans. Maybe use this kind of coffee as a treat rather than a daily ritual!
There is some evidence that the natural benefits of caffeine can help with weight loss but coffee on its own isn’t a weight loss drink. You do need to think about how you take your coffee and how this impacts the benefits of the drink. And like everything, always drink in moderation as too much of a good thing can still be bad for you.