Does Coffee Increase Your Metabolism, Burn Fat, and Help You Lose Weight?
If I told you that you probably consume the most popular psychoactive drug every day, you might be surprised.
However, it’s a fact that caffeine is a powerful drug.
In fact, caffeine is the most widely consumed drug in the world.
Many supplements that are sold for fat-burning purposes contain caffeine (2).
That’s because coffee can help the body release stored fat and improve metabolism.
Coffee Contains Caffeine
This should not come as a surprise to you.
People typically drink coffee do it to wake up in the morning or get a boost of energy throughout the day (3).
Caffeine has stimulant properties (4).
When caffeine is consumed in low to moderate doses, it binds to the adenosine receptors.
This has been shown to increase locomotor activity (5). That means that the neurons in the brain fire more often.
Caffeine also helps increase the activity of the feel-good neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine.
Surprisingly, this effect is more pronounced in lean individuals than in obese people.
This indicates that while caffeine alone may not be the best thing to get you started on your weight-loss journey if you have a significant amount of weight to lose, it can help you maintain a healthy weight.
Still, researchers show that metabolism is boosted in both lean and obese people for up to three hours after the consumption of 8 mg/kg of caffeine (7).
This equals about four cups of coffee for a 130-pound adult.
Coffee Metabolism Infographic
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Coffee Contains Theobromine and Theophylline
Theobromine and theophylline are substances that are in the same family as caffeine.
Theophylline metabolizes into theobromine when it is ingested (8).
Theobromine is found in coffee and dark chocolate.
In one study, participants were asked to eat dark chocolate for 15 days before trading in the treat for white chocolate (9).
While eating the theobromine-containing dark chocolate, the participants’ insulin sensitivity was improved.
This means that their bodies were better able to use insulin to metabolize blood sugars.
Chlorogenic Acid in Coffee May Help You Absorb Fewer Carbs
Chlorogenic acid is one of the compounds in coffee. Studies show that it can help delay the absorption of sugar in the intestines.
In one study, results were only seen when chlorogenic acid was added to instant coffee.
However, in another study, researchers found that coffee consumption slowed down the absorption of sugar.
They think this benefit may have to do with the way chlorogenic acid works against the body’s ability to transport glucose (15).
Coffee Can Help Your Body Burn Fat
If your body is holding onto fat, it cannot be broken down to be used as fuel.
In other words, you keep the fat right on your hips where it has always been.
Research shows that people who drink caffeine before exercising can burn more fat than those who don’t (19).
These fight-or-flight hormones signal the fat tissues to release lipids into the bloodstream, where they can be burned off.
Coffee Boosts Your Metabolism
Basal metabolic rate (BMR) is the number of calories that your body needs to burn just to maintain daily functions.
Your body burns calories just to get your blood flowing and respiration going.
People often refer to your basal metabolic rate as your metabolism.
If you have a fast metabolism, you burn calories more efficiently and may lose weight more quickly on the same diet as someone with a slower metabolism.
Many different factors influence metabolism.
Research indicates that caffeine can increase BMR by as much as 11%.
This metabolism boost is due primarily to caffeine’s ability to help you burn more fat (26).
Although caffeine is considered to be a compound with low toxicity, it can however be dangerous in large doses (25).
Caffeine’s metabolism-increasing properties are more noticeable in lean people than in obese people.
For example, a study found that caffeine could increase the amount of fat burned in lean individuals by almost 30%.
Fat burning was only increased by about 10% in obese participants (27).
The younger you are, the more likely caffeine is to help improve your metabolism (28).
Coffee Can Improve Your Physical Performance
If you exercise enough, you can also increase weight loss and make your metabolism more efficient.
Some athletes take caffeine to enhance their mental and physical performance.
Caffeine has been shown to help you sustain long, moderately intense workouts.
It increases endurance and works as an analgesic, making you feel less pain so that you can work out longer or harder (29).
Researchers have found that caffeine can improve physical performance by up to 12% (30).
Effects of Caffeine on Weight Loss May Weaken over Time
As with many drugs, people can develop a tolerance to caffeine.
Many people may notice the tolerance build up when it comes to caffeine and alertness.
If you’re looking to spur your body into increasing metabolism and burning more fat, caffeine may work for a short period of time.
However, it won’t help your metabolism and fat oxidization forever.
Coffee can help diminish your appetite so that you eat less, though.
Caffeine didn’t seem to affect women’s appetites.
When combined with nicotine, a known appetite suppressant, caffeine has been found to amplify the appetite-diminishing effects (38).
If you drink coffee every day, you might have been excited to see the title of this article.
Coffee can be beneficial for boosting metabolism and helping to burn fat that is stored in the body.
However, many studies that have proven these findings involve higher doses of caffeine than a mere cup a day.
In addition, caffeine can create a tolerance. If you’re using it to lose fat, you might obtain better results if you cycle it by taking it for a few weeks and avoiding it for a few weeks.
It may not be a miracle weight-loss drug, but coffee can help add the spark you need to lose weight initially.
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