Weight Management 6 MIN READ 147 VIEWS August 18, 2022

Coffee for Weight Loss: How Does It Work?

Written By HealthKart
Medically Reviewed By Dr. Aarti Nehra

Coffee

Coffee is one of the most popular beverages consumed worldwide. The caffeine present in coffee acts as a stimulant that activates the body and mind. Though people prefer it for its instant kick, it is also an effective way to lose weight. Read through to know what makes coffee for weight loss an effective and widely sought-after method to cut that extra flab.

How Does Coffee Aid Weight Loss?

Consumption of coffee affects and activates the body in different ways. These include:

1. Coffee is a Natural Stimulant

Coffee contains a range of active substances that act as natural stimulants for the body. These are caffein, theobromine, theophylline, and chlorogenic acid. Caffeine is the main stimulant found in coffee that activates the central nervous system, resulting in an energy boost through increased alertness and uplifting of mood. It promotes weight loss through its thermogenic and stimulant properties. Theobromine is a bitter-tasting alkaloid found in coffee and cocoa that falls in the same class of stimulants as coffee. Its instant energy boost promotes weight loss. It also plays a role in appetite control and limits hunger cravings.

Theophylline is naturally present in cocoa and coffee. It also possesses stimulant properties which activate the vessels and boosts blood flow  in the body. It aids weight loss by stimulating lipolysis and inhibiting adipogenesis or fat deposition in the body. Chlorogenic Acid is a key compound in coffee. It is a potent antioxidant and important for chemopreventive activities. It slows down the absorption of carbohydrates in the body.

2. Coffee Increases Metabolism Rate

Weight loss and fat burning directly depend upon how fast or slow the body’s metabolism is. The body burns calories even at rest. The rate at which these are burnt is called the resting metabolic rate (RMR). The higher the RMR, the higher will be the fat burning. This will mean no accumulation of fats in the body. 

Coffee, through its thermogenic and stimulant properties, increases RMR by up to 11%. Furthermore, a higher coffee intake is linked to a higher metabolism rate.

3. Coffee is High in Antioxidants

In addition to natural stimulants, coffee is also rich in antioxidants. The antioxidants play a crucial role in negating the effect of free radicals that are responsible for fat accumulation and weight gain. Polyphenols, micronutrients naturally occurring in plants, help in the regeneration of new cells and optimise the functioning of vital body organs.

4. Coffee is Caloric Deficit

Coffee contains zero calories. If you prefer to drink plain black or green coffee with no added milk or sugar, you’ll take in less than 5 calories per serving. This helps you stay low on calories and burn more than what you consume. 

But remember, simply by switching to regular coffee with added milk and sugar, coffee changes from caloric deficit to caloric surplus, putting you at risk of weight gain instead of weight loss.

5. Coffee Reduces Hunger Cravings

The type of food we eat, our activity levels, and our hormones – all play a crucial role in controlling our appetite. Consuming more calories than what is burnt is stored in the form of fat. Therefore, controlling appetite and hunger cravings is an important aspect of weight loss.

Caffeine present in coffee helps reduce the levels of ghrelin, the hunger hormone. It also increases the feeling of fullness, cutting down hunger cravings and appetite.

How to Drink Coffee for Weight Loss?

While coffee promotes thermogenesis and aids weight loss, the relation between coffee and weight gain is also widespread. The way you prefer your coffee is accused of packing calories, making you gain weight. 

The amount of caffeine consumed per day, the timing of consumption, and the ingredients of your coffee mug; all have a direct bearing on the calorie count. Acute caffeine intake also increases blood sugar levels which are directly linked to slow metabolism. Also, its stimulating properties may disrupt sleep patterns. Studies link poor sleep with increased cravings and appetite for processed and sugary foods that lead to weight gain.

Thus, to use coffee for weight loss, it is important to prepare your cup wisely. This is what you should do:

1. Watch Your Intake

To enjoy the maximum health benefits and achieve weight loss in an effective and structured manner, limit your caffeine consumption to 400 mg per day. This translates to four cups of coffee per day. If you prefer stronger coffee, drink fewer cups accordingly.

2. Skip Add-Ons

Added sugar and milk will be a source of extra calories. This will make your caloric surplus. Black coffee for weight loss is thus considered the best. Simply brew your black coffee without milk and sugar. Cut down on the whipped cream topping and syrup flavourings. 

3. Watch What You Add

While black coffee works best for weight loss, not many like the bitter taste. If you too like regular coffee, make sure you prepare it wisely to stay low on calories. Instead of whole milk, use skimmed milk and opt for low-calorie alternative sweeteners like stevia and yacon syrup.

4. Time It Right

Studies show that drinking smaller servings of coffee throughout the day will help you burn more calories. However, drinking coffee on an empty stomach and sipping on it just before bedtime can interfere with the body’s metabolism, making you gain weight instead of losing it. So, the best time to drink coffee for weight loss is between mid-morning and late afternoon. Drinking coffee as a pre-workout beverage, 45-60 minutes before a workout, can help yield better results.

Weight Loss Coffee Recipes 

If you plan to use coffee for weight loss, here are some interesting recipes that will help you reach your goal faster:

1. Cinnamon Coffee

Cinnamon, a spice obtained from the inner bark of the tree from the Cinnamomum species, is revered for its effect on blood glucose levels. Cinnamon helps lower the blood glucose, cholesterol, and triglycerides levels. 

Adding an inch of cinnamon to black coffee confers a perfect amalgamation of caffeine and antioxidants, which manifolds the health benefits. Using Ceylon cinnamon instead of the commonly used Cassia cinnamon promises the best results. To prepare cinnamon coffee, brew black or green coffee in water and add one-fourth tsp. of cinnamon. For added flavour, add one-fourth tsp. of honey.

2. Lemon Coffee

Coffee and lemon for weight loss are perfect allies. Squeezing lemon juice into your cup of black or green coffee can help in effective weight management. Citric acid and vitamin C present in lemon and caffeine in coffee blend together to boost metabolism by flushing out toxins. This combination is also known as fat-burning coffee as it activates the fat-burning hormones, leading to greater fat loss.

To prepare coffee and lemon for weight loss, add half lemon juice to a cup of brewing black or green coffee. You may add an inch of cinnamon for added benefits. 

3. Nutmeg Coffee

An unusual combination but coffee and nutmeg together provide a perfect brew for weight loss. While coffee is great for weight loss, Nutmeg is an excellent source of Manganese. It helps in the faster breakdown of the fat molecules, which aids in quicker weight loss.

Nutmeg also helps eliminate toxins from the body and improves the digestive system. Being rich in dietary fibre, it is a great appetite suppressant.

To prepare your cup of nutmeg coffee, add one-fourth tsp. of ground nutmeg to the brewing coffee. Stir vigorously to dissolve the nutmeg in the coffee. Make sure there are no lumps.

4. Bullet Coffee

Bullet coffee is an essential part of the Keto diet plan. It is an amalgamation of coffee, oil, and butter. Remember to use healthy medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil like unsalted butter, virgin coconut oil, or non-dairy butter to prepare your cup of bullet coffee. As bullet coffee packs a good amount of calories, it is usually used as a meal replacement. It increases metabolic rate and enhances satiety, leading to weight loss.

To prepare bullet coffee, add one tbsp. of butter, ghee, or coconut oil to one cup of hot French press coffee. Add a pinch of sea salt and stir vigorously until you get a smooth, creamy blend. 

Conclusion

Coffee is an instant energy booster. Packed with active stimulants – caffeine, theobromine, theophylline, and chlorogenic acid, coffee works in tandem to activate the body, increase metabolism rate, and promote fat burning. But coffee for weight loss is effective only if used wisely. Interestingly, fat burning coffee is also accused of packing pounds. Thus, drinking it prudently is the key to weight loss.

Also, coffee is habit-forming and addictive. This means a higher dose of caffeine will be required to achieve the same stimulation level. But caffeine intake must not exceed 400 mg per day as acute caffeine consumption has severe health implications. This renders coffee an ineffective weight-loss strategy in the long run.

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