Coffee is the most popular morning drink around the world. In fact, the world’s population consumes more than 160 million bags of coffee a year.
Although this hot drink is most popular for boosting energy, it can also be healthy and help you lose weight.
“Coffee, when consumed in moderation and without a lot of added sweeteners, can aid weight loss and be beneficial to your overall health,” says Ashley Shaw, a dietitian at Preg Appetit.
Coffee contains nutrients such as niacin, potassium, magnesium and antioxidants, which can improve digestive health, support muscle function and lead to better heart health. They also contain caffeine, which boosts metabolism, improves energy, and can promote weight loss.
Black coffee is a low-calorie drink. Weight loss is associated with calorie deficiency, which is when you consume fewer calories than you burn.
One common way to help achieve a calorie deficit is to consume fewer calories than you normally would.
Black coffee is an ideal weight loss drink, as it contains less than 5 calories per serving (one cup) however, it is only low in calories if you drink it black.
“While black coffee is low in calories, it can quickly become high in calories, sugar and fat when different types of milk and sugars are added,” Shaw explains.
Coffee boosts metabolism
It is noteworthy that metabolism plays an important role in weight loss, which is the process by which the body breaks down nutrients and uses the calories in foods throughout the day. Caffeine, the stimulant found in coffee, is one of the few substances that may increase your basal metabolic rate (BMR), also known as the rate at which you burn calories at rest.
A small 2018 study found that participants who drank different measures of coffee over a two-month period had higher metabolites, the product of metabolism. A higher or faster metabolism will allow you to burn more calories at rest or during physical activity, which may aid weight loss.
Caffeine may also reduce hunger. Appetite is known to be affected by a variety of factors, including the type of food you eat, levels of physical activity and hormones. Although there isn’t enough research to determine a cause-and-effect relationship to reduced appetite for caffeine, studies have shown that it may reduce levels of ghrelin, the hormone that makes us feel hungry.
A small 2014 study found that participants increased feelings of fullness and decreased food intake within just four weeks of drinking coffee per day based on levels of the hormone ghrelin.
“Caffeine also stimulates the satiety hormone peptide YY, or PYY for short. More PYY means you’ll feel full and feel less hungry,” Shaw explains.
How to avoid the harms of coffee
Shaw says coffee has many benefits that promote weight loss, but there are potential drawbacks. Here are some of the negative aspects of coffee to consider when incorporating it into your diet:
Some coffee drinks contain a lot of calories and sugar: When drinking coffee to lose weight, it is best to avoid adding calories to your drink. It may be tempting to add milk or sugar to your coffee, Shaw says, but they can quickly add calories to your drink.
Many popular coffee drinks are already high in calories: Consuming more calories than the normal amount prevents you from achieving a calorie deficit for weight loss and instead leads to weight gain, says Shaw.
Caffeine can reduce sleep: Lack of sleep is often associated with increased appetite and hunger, especially for high-calorie foods. Studies have attributed poor sleep to an increase in ghrelin, the hormone that regulates feelings of hunger, which can lead to increased calorie consumption and weight gain.
According to Shaw, “The caffeine in coffee blocks the adenosine receptors that cause drowsiness, which makes you feel more alert. I suggest stopping caffeine at least six to seven hours before bed for good sleep and hormone regulation.”
How to drink coffee to lose weight
To get the health benefits of coffee and achieve weight loss, Shaw recommends drinking no more than four cups of coffee (about 120 to 235 ml) with 400 mg of caffeine.
“Four cups of coffee a day provides the benefits of feeling more alert and improving fat metabolism while not having too much to affect sleep and hunger,” Shaw explains. She says drinking a cup every two hours would be reasonable to feel the lasting effects every once in a while.
However, if you like strong coffee, drink fewer cups accordingly so you don’t get more than 400 mg of caffeine per day.