In this blog post, I’ll tell you what the benefits and side effects of drinking coffee are, and whether it can actually help with weight loss.
IS COFFEE DRINKING A HEALTHY HABIT?
Yes, it can be! In moderation, coffee can be a great way to get some extra energy and it does have some health benefits.
However, coffee does contain caffeine which is a mild diuretic and it is addictive. But if you drink it in moderation, it can actually be good for you (let me explain below!).
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF COFFEE?
COFFEE HELPS YOUR BRAIN WORK BETTER
Caffeine doesn’t just keep you awake. It also helps your brain increase neural firing and release transmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine.
In other words, caffeine can help you feel happier, respond faster, and even remember information easier!
COFFEE LOWERS YOUR RISK OF GETTING SOME SERIOUS MEDICAL ISSUES
CAN CAFFEINE HELP WITH WEIGHT LOSS?
Caffeine is often used in weight loss supplements but does it actually help with weight loss?
Here’s what I’ve learned!
Caffeine is the only supplement that has been proven to increase the number of calories your body burns.
It is also one of the few substances known to help release stored fat from your fat tissues. (I’ll explain in a bit!)
And it can help you exercise better.
HOW COFFEE AFFECTS YOUR METABOLISM
OK, guys, I need to get a little technical for just a moment (stay with me!).
The amount of calories you burn during the day is made up of 3 things:
- YOUR RESTING (BASAL) METABOLIC RATE – how many calories you burn while resting;
- THERMOGENESIS – how many calories you burn through digestion (this sort of falls under the resting metabolic rate category); and
- YOUR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY – how many calories you burn during exercise.
So if you have a higher metabolism, you’ll burn more calories than someone who doesn’t have a high metabolism.
Your resting or basal metabolic rate (RMR or BMR) makes up the MOST of your daily calorie burn.
This means that if you want to lose weight and burn more calories, it’s important that you increase your resting metabolic rate.
COFFEE MAY BOOST YOUR METABOLISM
Coffee can help speed up your resting metabolic rate by 3–4% and it can improve your thermogenesis (calories burned during digestion), as this study showed. The more coffee you drink, the greater the effect will be.
But, unfortunately, caffeine is more likely to raise the metabolism of somebody who is young and who is already thin than it would in an older or overweight person.
So yeah, coffee can help increase your metabolism but if you are overweight, it may not have that effect.
The best way to increase your resting metabolic rate is to build muscle mass since muscle burn LOTS of calories. Your metabolism will be faster if you have more muscle than fat.
I’m not suggesting that you need to lift super heavyweights and get super muscular. But if don’t already have resistance training in your fitness routine, I highly recommend you include it. I love doing bodyweight training or HIIT but you can do also do yoga or pilates :)
So to sum it all up, if you have a high body fat percentage and very little muscle, your metabolism will be slower and coffee is not going to speed it up.
But if you build muscle and lower your overall body fat, coffee may help you stay lean by increasing your metabolism.
HOW CAFFEINE HELPS FAT LOSS
Caffeine is one of the few substances known to help release stored fat from your fat tissues during exercise.
You see, when you’re exercising or fasting, the fat stored in your fat tissues get released into your bloodstream and used for energy. This process is called lipolysis.
But what does caffeine have to do with it?
Well, it seems that caffeine stimulates your nervous system and helps the process of lipolysis.
So if you drink coffee before exercising, your body will release more stored fat which means you’ll able to burn more of it and get more energy for your workout. This is why most pre-workout supplements contain caffeine.
And this leads me to my next point!
CAFFEINE CAN IMPROVE YOUR CARDIO WORKOUT
Lots of professional athletes use caffeine as a supplement because it helps improve endurance.
Researchers have found that athletes who consume caffeine before a cardio workout tend to do better than those who don’t have caffeine.
Cardio and coffee seem to be a good combination. Coffee is going to help you release more stored fat and cardio will help you burn it!
However, drinking coffee won’t outdo a bad diet or lack of exercise, so make sure you’re doing those things too. :)
WHAT ARE THE SIDE EFFECTS?
Even though coffee has some wonderful benefits for your mind and body, it may have some negative side effects, especially if you overdo it.
COFFEE CAN MAKE YOU FEEL JITTERY OR EVEN ANXIOUS
Some people may feel shaky, jittery and anxious after drinking coffee. If this is the case for you, try taking your coffee with a meal or maybe switch to decaf.
COFFEE CAN BE ADDICTIVE
As you’ve probably heard, caffeine is addictive.
When people (especially regular coffee drinkers) stop drinking coffee, they can experience some bad withdrawal symptoms, like headaches, confusion, and feeling extra tired.
COFFEE CAN MESS UP YOUR SLEEP
Caffeine is all about waking us up. That’s part of why we like it so much! But, if you’re having trouble sleeping, check your coffee intake.
Are you drinking coffee in the afternoon? That might be the cause of your restlessness.
If you drink coffee, it is best to try to avoid it after about 2 PM.
WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO DRINK COFFEE IF YOU WANT TO LOSE WEIGHT?
DON’T DRINK IT WITH LOTS OF SUGARS, CREAMERS, OR ARTIFICIAL FLAVORINGS
Coffee isn’t bad for you (in general), but the things we like adding to our coffee can be! I know that adding sugar, caramel, milk and other things to coffee can make it delicious, but it sadly isn’t very good for you, especially if you’re trying to lose weight!
It’s easy to think that the calories from a drink don’t matter, but a lot of coffee drinks can have as many calories as a snack or sometimes a meal.
If you absolutely can’t have your coffee black, try adding a bit of milk or a milk alternative (like coconut milk) instead of artificial creamer.
DRINK IT EARLY IN THE DAY
Try to drink coffee early in the day so that it doesn’t keep you up at night. Sleep is also a very important part of the weight loss process. I would advise you against drinking coffee after 2 or 3 PM.
SHOULD I BE DRINKING COFFEE?
Coffee has some good benefits that might help you with weight loss (as long as you’re also exercising and eating healthy).
If you aren’t a coffee drinker already, I don’t think you need to start drinking it for weight loss reasons.
Exercise and a healthy diet are much more important :)
And if you struggle with sleep, anxiety or some other health issues, coffee might not be right for you.
Ultimately, you’ll have to listen to your body to see if drinking coffee is the best choice.
I hope this answered all your questions about coffee!
Love Rachael xx