Does Coffee Help You Lose Weight? What the Science Says

As one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world, coffee is a staple in many people's daily routines. But when it comes to weight loss, is your daily coffee consumption helping or hindering your progress? 

Here is what the science says, along with some expert advice on how to get the most out of your caffeine intake. 

Does Drinking Coffee Help You Lose Weight? 

There are a few studies that can show a positive relationship between coffee consumption and weight loss. Although, many of these studies are only able to provide an association between coffee consumption and weight loss, not a direct cause and effect. 

In one cohort analysis, researchers found that higher coffee and caffeine intake were associated with modestly lower risk of total body weight gain over time (1). Another study that analyzed data from over 93,000 participants found that higher coffee consumption was associated with lower BMI and a lower risk of obesity in both men and women (2).

A systematic review that analyzed data from 21 studies and suggests that coffee consumption is associated with lower BMI and a reduced risk of obesity in both men and women (3). And one study by Harvard even suggested that drinking four cups of coffee a day can reduce body fat by up to 4% (4). 

It's important to note that the studies on coffee and weight loss are not definitive and the results are mixed. Additionally, it's important to consider the potential negative effects of excessive caffeine intake and the addition of high-calorie, high-sugar additives to coffee beverages.

3 Ways Coffee Might Support Weight Loss

Coffee can help you lose weight because:
  1. Coffee can increase your metabolism 
  2. Coffee decreases appetite 
  3. Coffee can increase your energy levels and mood

Many of the potential benefits of coffee for weight loss are likely due to its caffeine content, which may help to increase metabolism and reduce appetite, but more research is needed to fully understand the relationship between coffee and weight loss (5). 

It’s also important to understand that while this research suggests that coffee may have some potential benefits for weight loss, drinking coffee alone is unlikely to lead to significant weight loss. To truly lose weight, you need to create a calorie deficit by consuming fewer calories than you burn through activity and exercise.

Here are a few ways increased caffeine intake from coffee might help you lose weight: 

1. Coffee Increases Metabolism

Coffee is a common source of caffeine in the diet. Caffeine is a natural stimulant that is thought to increase your metabolic rate, or the rate at which your body burns calories. 

A series of four trials suggested that caffeine and coffee consumption may increase metabolic rate and promote increased fat burning in both normal weight and obese individuals (6). 

One study found that the combination of caffeine and green tea extract significantly increased 24-hour energy expenditure and fat oxidation, and led to significant weight loss over a 12-week period (7).

Multiple studies continue to suggest that caffeine consumption may increase metabolic rate and energy expenditure, pointing to potential benefits for weight loss and management. However, not all existing research is specific to coffee consumption. It's also important to note that the effects of caffeine on metabolism may vary depending on individual factors and the source and amount of caffeine consumed.

2. Coffee Decreases Appetite

Coffee and caffeine can act as an appetite suppressant, which may help you eat less and consume fewer calories overall - leading to weight loss. 

In a review of existing research, caffeine and coffee consumption were found to have a short-term effect on appetite reduction. The researchers believe the effects are likely mediated through the central nervous system and may be influenced by individual differences. However, the effects seemed to diminish with regular consumption over time (8). 

One study suggests that higher amounts of coffee consumption (3 cups per day) may lead to a reduction in total energy intake, an increase in satiety, and a decrease in intake of high-fat and sweet foods, particularly in overweight/obese individuals. Surprisingly, decaffeinated coffee had similar effects (9). 

Additionally, one study even suggests that decaffeinated coffee may help decrease appetite and increase the satiety hormone PYY (10). This further backs up the claim that coffee in particular, outside of caffeine, might have unique weight loss properties. 

3. Coffee Improves Energy Levels and Mood

While it doesn’t directly impact your ability to lose weight, coffee is also thought to improve mental alertness and mood. This feeling of alertness can help you feel more energized, which  might help you stay more active and burn more calories throughout the day. 

Additionally, the positive impacts on mood can make the process of cutting calories and reducing emotional eating feel a bit easier (11).    

A few different studies have linked caffeine and coffee intake with reduced fatigue and increased energy levels (12,13). While many other studies suggest that if you consume coffee or include caffeine before a workout, it can help increase calorie burn and improve performance due to increased energy levels (14,15,16). 



The Best Types of Coffee Drinks for Weight Loss

Not all types of coffee are created equal when it comes to weight loss. A cup of black coffee contains virtually no calories, but adding sugar and cream can quickly turn a cup of joe into a high-calorie beverage. Additionally, some coffee drinks (such as lattes and mochas) can contain large amounts of added sugar and fat, which can sabotage your weight loss goals.

If you're trying to lose weight and want to include coffee in your weight loss plan, stick to black coffee or espresso-based drinks with little to no added sugar or cream. This will help you avoid the extra calories and added sugar that come with flavored syrups, whipped cream, and sugary creamers.

Other non-coffee drinks, like green tea, are also thought to increase metabolism and promote fat burning.

Expert Advice For Using Coffee to Lose Weight 

Coffee is not a magic bullet for weight loss, but when used strategically it can play a supportive role in helping you achieve your health goals. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your coffee intake: 

Don’t Drink Too Much Coffee or Caffeine

While caffeine can help increase your metabolic rate and promote weight loss, consuming too much coffee or caffeine can have negative effects on your health, such as increasing your blood pressure and heart rate. 

Aim to consume no more than 400 mg of caffeine per day, which is roughly equivalent to four cups of coffee.

Drink Black Coffee

To keep your coffee low in calories and avoid added sugar and fat, stick to black coffee. If you prefer a creamier texture, consider adding a small amount of low-fat milk or unsweetened almond milk.

Time Your Coffee Intake 

To maximize the fat-burning potential of caffeine, try drinking coffee 30 minutes before exercise. This may help increase your metabolic rate and burn more calories during your workout.

Track Your Calorie Intake

Keep track of your calorie intake. While coffee can help promote weight loss, it's important to keep track of your overall calorie intake and make sure you're consuming fewer calories than you're burning each day.

In conclusion, the question "Is coffee good for weight loss?" doesn't have a straightforward answer. While some studies suggest that coffee can help promote weight loss by increasing metabolism and promoting fat burning, more research is needed to fully understand the relationship between coffee and weight loss. 

However, if you enjoy coffee and want to include it in your weight loss plan, there are certainly ways to do so in a healthy and effective manner. Just be sure to choose your coffee wisely and keep track of your overall calorie intake.

Pair your daily cup of Joe with a healthy balanced meal plan that is guaranteed to help you lose weight and achieve your goals. 

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