Coffee is one of the most consumed beverages in the world, and for obvious reasons. Coffee is primarily consumed for its stimulative properties. It provides energy and helps one to focus during times of fatigue, or with a need to perform (i.e., in the morning before you start your day, or during a workout).
While caffeine is primarily known for its stimulative properties, it also happens to be associated with weight loss. It increases one’s metabolism, thus promoting fat burning. This may be why caffeine is found in many fat-burning supplements on the market today.
While caffeine does have strong associations with performance, energy production, and metabolism (three primary necessities for burning fat and losing weight), can consuming coffee alone help you lose weight?
Let’s jump right into it!
Coffee is a beverage that derives from coffee beans. Through the extraction process, several substances are maintained and present in coffee. Most of these substances play a role with one’s metabolism, energy production, and more.
Because of these substances, primarily caffeine, regular coffee consumption is frequently associated with the following benefits:
- Improves Metabolism/Metabolic Rate
- May reduce the feeling of hunger for some people
- Increases Energy & Focus
- Improves physical & mental performance
- Boosts Moods (Temporarily)
- May lower health risks
- Rich in antioxidants
- Associated with longevity
For these reasons and more, coffee, and more specifically caffeine, helps the body burn more calories during rest times, thus potentially helping those who consume it lose weight.
However, as mentioned, weight loss is more complex than simply burning calories. To illustrate this, consider the following example:
Person A and Person B are identical twins. Not only do they have the same attributes in terms of weight and height, but they also participate in the same amount of activity and they both happen to drink the exact amount of coffee daily. Because they both consume the same amount of coffee, they also experience similar caloric burn during rest times.
Person A, however, eats much more than Person B, while Person B is following a caloric-deficit diet. While Person A and Person B both burn the same number of calories daily, Person A consumes much more. The result? Person A gains weight while Person B loses weight.
While this is a rudimentary example, it illustrates that while coffee/caffeine may provide benefits that aid in weight loss, it doesn’t always conclusively result in weight loss due to other external factors.
Drinking coffee and sitting down watching TV will not lead to weight loss.
Disadvantages of Coffee Consumption
While coffee can be an extremely beneficial tool for weight loss and other health and fitness-related goals, it doesn’t come without its disadvantages and uncertainties.
Below are the most common disadvantages of coffee consumption:
- Builds tolerance over time, making benefits largely ineffective (meaning needing more than one cup)
- May trigger cravings for sweets & treats
- Results vary from Person-to-Person
- Can cause negative side effects, if consumed in large amounts
The primary disadvantage surrounding coffee consumption, and caffeine consumption at large, is the fact that many become tolerant dependent. In other words, while coffee may provide initial benefits to one’s metabolism, for example, over time, these benefits dissipate upon becoming tolerant to its effects. As such, coffee is likely ineffective for long-term weight loss results.
Another disadvantage that’s often ignored is the fact that coffee has been known to trigger cravings. While it’s more popularly known to suppress one’s appetite, it does trigger cravings of sweetness due to its bitter characteristics. For obvious reasons, this may be disadvantageous for someone on a weight loss journey.
Lastly, not everyone responds to coffee in the same ways. In other words, while some may experience the vast benefits of coffee and drastically notice a suppressed appetite, for example, others may experience the opposite. Because of the inconsistency of results, it’s difficult to conclusively state that coffee alone can help with weight loss. While anecdotal evidence is strong, much more research needs to be done on the matter…
While coffee is a great tool for boosting metabolism, increasing energy, and helping to stay focused, and improving one’s athletic performance, consuming it alone should not be a primary prescription for weight loss.
Instead, coffee should be considered a welcomed addition to a more comprehensive weight loss plan, or for the taste alone. After all, weight loss is a complex task that involves several important factors to be met. Caloric deficit, balanced meals, exercise, and more.
In summary, consuming coffee in moderate amounts may help with metabolic improvements, but coffee alone cannot directly result in weight loss.