Coffee and weight loss: does it really help?

Coffee cup and weight loss representation with a question mark

Have you ever thought about the relationship between consuming coffee and weight loss? Scientists have tried to check up on that, but the results have been both positive and negative.

Coffee, the ultimate beverage we all love. Who wouldn’t enjoy a cup of coffee on a rainy day or in the morning of a typical workday? Nobody, I guess. We have a common black coffee at home, and there are several coffee drinks in a coffee café. Namely, Espresso, Cappuccino, Latte, Americano, Mocha coffee, and the list go on.

Also, I think it is important to mention the Instant coffees that are much popular nowadays. The ability of coffee to boost our energy is a well-known fact. Caffeine in coffee does the work by alarming our brain not to rest. So, coffee or any caffeinated drink would be your buddy to spend a sleepless night if you are getting ready for a test at the last minute (which we all do, apparently ;))

Theories behind coffee and weight loss

According to some theories, caffeine might help us lose weight by suppressing our hunger for a short time and stimulating thermogenesis. Thermogenesis is the process of generating heat and energy from digesting food to increase the calorie consumption in our body.

According to a Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health study, drinking 4 cups of coffee daily could reduce body fat percentage by 4% within 6 months[1]Four cups of coffee a day associated with a modest loss of body fat, https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/hsph-in-the-news/four-cups-of-coffee-modest-loss-of-body-fat/. Obviously, the drinkers did not add any sugar or cream into the drink during this study.

Some studies done with mice have reported green coffee bean extract consumption to reduce visceral fat, which means weight loss. Green coffee beans are the processed coffee beans but not roasted. Human studies also have shown some positive effects on weight loss with green coffee bean extracts[2]Nevin Sanlİer, Azize Atİk & İlker Atİk (2018): Consumption of Green Coffee and the Risk of Chronic Diseases, Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, DOI: 10.1080/10408398.2018.1461061. But unfortunately, green coffee bean extracts are not the drink we used to drink.

If you are using coffee as a weight loss aid, be mindful of the calories and fat.  Because adding milk and sugar to your coffee and teas will increase the calories and fat in it and will set back your weight loss efforts.

Drinking coffee would not do much in your weight loss journey. Still, it is not harmful to add a cup of coffee to your daily diet or even up to four cups (clearly, I am talking about coffee without any decorative sugary or fatty things).

How much caffeine in coffee?

When it says a coffee CUP, the definition of the size of a cup varies massively. It would roughly be something like 230 ml brewed coffee, and one cup may have 94.8mg of caffeine per cup. A healthy adult can consume up to 400mg of caffeine in a day.

In coffee, caffeine is also in many beverages such as tea, energy drinks, and colas, the product such as chocolates, which contain cocoa also have caffeine.

Consumption of coffee in moderation won’t harm you. Besides the weight loss effect, coffee has reported many beneficial health effects, even as a good fighter against cancers[3]Coffee can be a beneficial part of a healthy diet, https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/hsph-in-the-news/coffee-beneficial-healthy-diet/.

Can excessive caffeine harm you?

If you take caffeine in high doses, it can increase your blood pressure, which is not a good thing. Researchers have found that drinking three or more cups of coffee per day had high blood pressure readings compared to people who did not drink coffee.

You might have heard that caffeine is a diuretic, Which means, if you drink more caffeine, you will have to excrete more urine.

Coffee Diet for weight loss?

The Coffe diet is a new type of diet that involves drinking several coffee cups per day and calorie restriction. Some people who follow this diet have experienced weight loss, But this diet can have downsides it and benefits.

What includes in the coffee diet?

If you are following the coffee diet, you need to drink about 3 cups of coffee which equals 720ml of coffee per day. The type of coffee you can use is lightly roasted coffee. This coffee type has more antioxidants, polyphenols than the darker roasted coffees. Also, you can use either caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee in the diet. Most importantly, coffee can not contain any cream or sugar. Dr. Bob Arnot originally develops the coffee diet[4]’The Coffee Lover’s Diet’ by Dr. Bob Arnot.

I have presented briefly about this diet, but there is more to it. However, some people have reported successful weight loss after following this diet. This might be due to the diet’s restricted calories because you have to take a low-calorie meal, about 1500kcal when following this diet.

Coffee diet benefits

As we discussed before, coffee is rich in caffeine and antioxidants, as well as polyphenols. This is actually good because the antioxidants and polyphenols can fight off the free radicals in your body which are potentially harmful. Coffe in this diet might have reduced the weight in those two ways we have already discussed, which are decreasing appetite and increasing metabolism.

Coffee diet disadvantages

This diet has the same downsides as the downsides of drinking excess coffee.

It can increase blood pressure and act as a diuretic; it may also cause heart attacks headaches, insomnia, osteoporosis, and depression.

This diet is certainly not safe in the long term because it can lead to insomnia and depression. Obviously, this diet has a low-calorie amount. So there is a high chance of missing important nutrients that your body needs. Also, a low-calorie diet may cause it harder to lose weight. There are no available long-term studies regarding the coffee diet also.

Can I follow the coffee diet to lose weight?

Unfortunately, a coffee diet is not the ideal diet plan for weight loss. Because the coffee diet allows you to take an unlimited amount of coffee per day, starting from 3 cups of minimum per day, this is not a very healthy habit.

When there is a high-calorie restriction, you are more likely to gain weight than losing weight. An ideal diet plan only has a minimum calorie restriction of about 500kcal per day. This ideal diet plan will be sustainable than the coffee diet for weight loss. The most successful diet plan will be the one that you can always stick to.

The bottom line

In conclusion, coffee is not a bad thing, and if you consume it in the right amount, it will benefit you. In fact, the coffee diet asks you to drink at least 3 cups of coffee per day. But if you are consuming more than 4 cups of coffee, it is not very healthy.

This diet can cause weight to regain. Although you experienced weight loss, it may be short-term weight loss but not a long-term one. It is perfect if you can stick to a sustainable weight loss diet plan which does not restrict calories up to a level where it is not sustainable.

References[+]

Gimhani Gamlath

Gimhani Gamlath

BSc. (sp.) in Food Science and Nutrition -A passionate author at Beacon Nutrition
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