Does Coffee really help with weight loss? Coffee is rich in Caffeine, a stimulant that is widely consumed all over the world. Caffeine is also very popular in fat burning supplements, as it increases your metabolism and helps move your stored fats into utilisation by your body in producing energy.
What is so good about Coffee?
Coffee contains a lot of beneficial properties linked to weight loss, these include;
- Health polyphenol antioxidants
- Metabolism boosting caffeine
- Appetite suppressing qualities
Coffee beans contain a lot of active chemicals that are known to boost your metabolism, these include;
Caffeine is the main and most important stimulant in coffee. Caffeine blocks adenosine, an inhibitory neurotransmitter. Through this blocking of adenosine, caffeine increases the release of dopamine and norepinephrine, two neurotransmitters which boost your metabolism and give you a kick, making you feel wide awake and alert.
Caffeine makes you feel more active, reducing the feeling of tiredness. It can also help boost your exercise performance by circa 10%.
Theobromine is found in coffee and cocoa, and is also a stimulant.
Another metabolism boosting stimulant than has also been used to treat asthma
Coffee is rich in Chlorogenic acid which helps slow down the absorption of carbohydrates in the body
Mobilising fat from your body tissues
Caffeine increasing the blood levels of epinephrine (also known as adrenaline) hormone, which sends a signal to your nervous system, which causes your fat cells to break down fat. Adrenaline travels in your blood making fat tissues break down fat and to release them into the blood for energy.
The combination of this effect with a calorie restricted diet (and/or with exercising more), will cause a rapid weight loss. Many fat burner supplements contain caffeine to obtain this effect of fat burning and boosting of your metabolism.
The higher your metabolic rate, the easier you can lose weight, as you burn more calories than usual. Caffeine can increase your metabolic rate by up to 10%.
Sensitivity to Caffeine
These effects will reduce over time, as your sensitivity to caffeine reduces over time. To reduce the lose of sensitivity to caffeine, we can cycle on and off from coffee drinking, such as drinking coffee for 2 weeks in a go, and stopping coffee for another 2 weeks.
Drinking coffee can increase your body temperature
A higher body temperature causes an increase in metabolic rate, which in turn causes more fat and calories to be burnt.
Coffee can affect your blood sugar levels
When you drink coffee, a shock response is triggered in your body, which shock response causes the release of sugar in the blood stream. This sugar is intended to make available more energy to muscles, for a possible fight or flight situation, caused by having adrenaline in your blood. This may soon after cause a sugar craving, which will be a problem for your weight loss plans.
Linking Coffee with sweet foods
Most coffee shops will promote sweet foods to accompany your coffee, foods such as cookies or cakes. This makes it challenging for someone to go for a coffee without also picking up a sweet treat, which when trying to lose weight is also an issue. Some healthier sweet food options include oats based sweet such as Oat Cookies.
Alternative healthier hot drinks include herbal fruit tea and green tea.
The Coffee Diet
The Coffee Diet involves drinking a certain number of cups of coffee each day while limiting your food and calorie intake.
This diet can result in fast short term weight loss, however there are important drawbacks to the coffee diet.
The coffee diet involves drinking a lot of coffee and taking in mainly whole foods, limiting processed foods. This type of diet could easily result in weight gain soon after it is stopped. Drinking a lot of coffee is also not advisable.
Why drink a lot of coffee?
The idea of drinking a lot of coffee is to boost your metabolism, as caffeine is a stimulant. A faster metabolism will consume more calories and burn more fat. Drinking coffee can also reduce your appetite, thereby helping you eat less and take in less calories.
Coffee is also rich in antioxidants, which are good for us and our health. Coffee may help reduce inflammation and damage to our cells from free radicals.
How much coffee to take when on the coffee diet
On the Coffee diet, one should consume light roast coffee, and consume 4 cups of coffee per day.
Why light roast coffee?
Light roast coffee has more polyphenol antioxidants than dark roast coffee.
It is recommended to use filtered water in your coffee, to buy whole-bean coffee beans, and to freshly grind the coffee beans at home, to have best quality coffee.
Avoid adding sugar, milk or cream.
When on the Coffee diet one meal per day should also be replaced with a fresh Green raw juice of fruit and vegetables.
Any snacks should be low in fat and calories, such as whole foods or more fruit and vegetables.
Processed foods should be avoided, these include frozen ready meals.
When on the coffee diet you should aim to take in around 1,500 calories per day, which is therefore a calorie restricted diet, as most people take in more calories than this each day.
Meals to include in the coffee diet could include;
- Lean meats such as grilled chicken breast or other lean meats
- Salad based dishes
- Whole foods such as brown rice and quinoa
- Vegetable based dishes
Coffee can suppress your appetite
Drinking coffee just before a meal is known to reduce your appetite, helping you to eat less without feeling like you are holding back on your food.
Coffee can help boost your metabolism
Coffee contains caffeine that is a stimulant, contributing to increasing your metabolic rate, which in turn can help weight loss, making it easier to lose fat.
Caffeine and polyphenols can also taken in the form of a food supplement.
Coffee can also help your workouts, taking a cup of coffee after your workout helps you burn more fat from exercising.
One of the main drawbacks of drinking a lot of coffee is high blood pressure. It is known that coffee will increase your blood pressure, therefore if you suffer from high blood pressure, the coffee diet is not a good option.
Caffeine is diuretic, making you remove more fluid when urinating, therefore when drinking coffee your body water content may reduce, causing some dehydration unless you drink more water to compensate.
Apart from losing water, urinating more will cause us to lose more potassium through our urine. Loosing too much potassium can be a problem, and can cause a condition known as hypokalemia, affecting muscles and the health of your heart. It is however rare that this condition is triggered through drinking too much coffee.
Drinking a lot of coffee can also cause headaches, problems with your sleep, osteoporosis, heart problems and depression.
Drinking up to 4 cups of coffee per day is usually considered to be safe.
Putting the weight back on
Such calorie restricting diets often result in a regaining of the weight, as the body makes changes to cope with the calorie restriction.
Restricting the calories you take in will make your body do the following changes:
- slows your metabolism, reducing the calories you burn
- Leptin hormone changes due to calorie restrictions which may cause an increase in appetite. Leptin levels are known to decrease when you are on a calorie restricted diet, causing you to feel more hungry.
It is therefore difficult to lose weight on the long term, when on a calorie restricting diet which significantly limits the number of calories you take in. About 80% of the people on a calorie restricting diet will put some of the weight back on within one month from starting the diet, and almost all of the people will put the weight back on within 5 years from finishing the diet.
Coffee Diet on the long term
The coffee diet usually last 4 to 6 weeks. Staying on the coffee diet for longer periods might not be safe, as this is a calorie restricting diet after all.
Is the Coffee Diet Healthy?
The coffee diet would not be one of the best diets to lose weight in a healthy and long term manner. Calorie restriction has many drawbacks, and taking in excessive caffeine is also not advisable.
Weight loss should be carried out at a steady pace, without too much excessive speed, which can affect negatively your metabolism. Calorie restriction should be smaller, and gradual.
It is always advisable to do the following to be healthy;
- Increase your fibre intake
- Increase your protein intake
- Exercise more
- Drink more water
- Eat more whole and single ingredient foods
- Avoid refined sugars
- Avoid processed foods
In conclusion, enjoy your coffee but always maintain a balance and keep your health in mind. Coffee has many good components and benefits, but there are also healthier options such as green tea, water or even fresh raw juices.
Keep a balance in life in everything you do.
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