Good press, bad press on caffeine and coffee! Is it good for you, is it bad for you? Whose to say, but will it help me lose weight? This is a question often asked. Study after study have shown positive results with using caffeine and coffee as a diet that there is even a diet plan known as the “Coffee Lover’s Diet”!
The plan is discussed in a book by Dr. Bob Arnot. He has numerous books on health, diet, and wellness. His diet promotes consuming at least 3 cups of light-roast coffee per day, while restricting your calories with a plan similar to the Mediterranean diet, and you’ll lose weight!
Many other well known diet gurus have also been promoting coffee bean extract, caffeine, in pill form to help people lose weight. In 2017 there was a study and test done in Iran on obese women. The women consumed 400 milligrams a day, of this supplement for eight weeks, while following a low-calorie diet and lost more weight than those on the same diet who did not take the pill. The supplement is derived from unroasted green coffee beans and contains caffeine and other components of coffee that may promote weight loss. Many nutritionists are viewing this pill as more of a fad than anything else.
However, there is much to support that coffee and its constituent components could help support losing weight. Stacey L. Pence, who is a registered dietitian for the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, has said certain components within coffee might boost the metabolism.
The most obvious and well known of these is caffeine. It is a stimulant that we all look to when we are up and trying get “up and running”, first thing in the morning! “That jolt might not just be for clearing the cobwebs after a late night – it might also support weight loss”. Caffeine activates our nervous system by releasing epinephrine, a hormone which we also know as adrenaline. One of the tasks that adrenaline performs is to let our fat cells know to let go of those nasty fats into our bloodstream. Our body then uses these fats for energy.
“Coffee may improve weight loss due to caffeine’s effect on increasing metabolism,” says Dr. Eric Pham, a weight loss expert with St. Joseph Hospital in Orange County, California.
The rapid and uptick in metabolism “occurs in all people regardless of race, sex or age,” says Dr. Brian Quebbemann, a bariatric surgery specialist based in Newport Beach, California, and author of “World’s Greatest Weight Loss: The Truth That Diet Gurus Don’t Want You to Know.” However, these effects appear to be lower in people with obesity.
Many studies have shown that caffeine can help you to burn more calories throughout the day, not just during the time that you are consuming it. In other words, your resting metabolic rate can also be increased. According to Quebbemann “drinking coffee regularly decreases the amount of weight a person gains over time. The reason for this is likely due to not only decreased calorie intake but an increase in resting metabolism.”
Quebbemann says that the way you drink the coffee is important, “If you drink coffee 30 minutes to three hours before eating, you’ll generally consume fewer calories. The decrease in appetite diminishes significantly after four hours.” This trick works for both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee, “so, the appetite suppression effect is not completely dependent on caffeine”.
“Both the metabolic boost and the suppression of hunger that coffee can provide are dose dependent, and drinking up to about four cups per day may optimize those effects”, Quebbemann says.
Each Cup of coffee, which is typically an average of about 8 oz., has about 100 milligrams of caffeine. If you have 4 average cups of coffee or 400 milligrams of caffeine, it is considered safe, “According to the U.S. Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee and a large meta-analysis, consuming up to four cups of coffee per day with up to 400 milligrams of caffeine daily is not associated with significant adverse effects or development of chronic diseases in healthy (non-pregnant) adults,” she says.
Also, caffeine and coffee may help you to stay on your diet and keep active, which helps you move more and burn more calories. “Caffeinated coffee or other caffeinated beverages have been used for their effectiveness in improving mental alertness and reducing physical fatigues as well as improving sports or exercise performance, which may contribute to achieving weight loss,” Pence explains.
Hmmm…Should You Add Caffeine/Coffee into your routine for Weight Loss?
Should you develop a taste for coffee/ add to your diet regime to lose weight ? Pence says “she wouldn’t advise using coffee as your “sole strategy for weight loss, especially with the lack of sufficient, reliable evidence to rate coffee as a substance that helps reduce weight. However, it’s acceptable for the average, healthy adult to consume moderate amounts of coffee, if you enjoy drinking it.”
If you are trying to lose weight, the bottom line is that you need to move more and eat less. You have to burn more calories than you consume, period. The average person needs say a 2,000 calorie diet, for example. If that person were to do nothing more than eat 2,000 calories, no more or less, and not do a thing, they would maintain their weight. The 2,000 calories are utilized by the body for normal function of the body ie digestion, breathing, hair growth, thinking, etc. Once you start moving and create a calorie deficit, burning more calories than you are consuming, you will lose weight, but you have to put in the time and the effort.
People aren’t aware of the fact that the bulk of the fat that you “burn” is through breathing and aspiration! The more you move, the more you breathe, the more you breathe, the more you burn, the more you burn, and the less you eat, the more fat is converted into useful energy vs stored energy, and the finally the more weight you lose…period!
The best advice for those looking to lose weight is to put in the work. To lose weight, you must create a calorie deficit by moving more and eating less! A combination of both, exercise and healthy, low-calorie diet is best, Pence says.
She says that “having a cup or two of coffee before you go workout may be the best way coffee can help you lose weight…This is because the caffeine can act as “an ergogenic aid to improve physical performance with sports or exercise,” which can help you get through a tough workout.”
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