Are family gatherings becoming a problem because of the pounds gained? A special event is coming and you don’t know what to do to start losing weight! Perhaps you have found the perfect dress for the occasion but that belly fat is distracting you as soon as you put the dress on?
Yes, we all want to look good, but more importantly, we want to feel healthy. In most cases, it is our extra body weight that makes us feel unsatisfied with our body image and in the worst scenarios, even causing difficult health issues.
Of course, choosing a healthy diet plan and planning your weekly trips to the gym is the most reasonable and effective way to lose weight and improve your health. But did you know that your favorite coffee drink can help too? Let’s discuss the use of caffeine in the process of weight loss and reveal whether or not this powerful compound can enhance your experience.
What is Caffeine?
According to scientific research published in the Food and Chemical Toxicology, more than 85% of the U.S population consumes at least one caffeinated beverage on a daily basis (1). It has been established that among the U.S population, the most favorite caffeinated beverage is coffee.
Oh yes, the sweet temptation that is coffee. A cup full of energy in the morning, a cup full of happiness at noon, a cup full of small talk and laughter shared with friends in the afternoon – it is simply perfect for every occasion. And as we will discuss in a little while, it is perfect for weight loss as well. But first, what is caffeine?
Caffeine is a known central nervous system stimulant. It is also a mild psychotropic due to its mood-altering attribute and a mild diuretic. What caffeine actually does is blocking a known inhibitory neurotransmitter called adenosine. By doing so, it increases the production and release of other neurotransmitters such as dopamine and norepinephrine which causes you to feel awake and energized as you finish your cup of coffee or any other caffeinated drink of your choice (2).
Caffeine is declared as safe for consumption, and according to the FDA, 400 milligrams of caffeine or 4-5 cups of coffee on a daily level is considered to be a safe dose of caffeine. Caffeine is known to pose numerous health benefits including a reduced risk of cancer, stroke, heart disease, and diabetes (3).
However, there are some side-effects to be expected in the case of an overdose. These side-effects include anxiety, nervousness, dizziness, headaches, uneven heart rate, sleep problems, and many others. We recommend to all of our readers and caffeine addicts to watch out for your daily dose of caffeine intake and keep it within the ranges of what is considered to be a safe dose of caffeine that we have mentioned earlier.
But where can you find caffeine other than in coffee? Despite the fact that coffee is the main source of caffeine since a cup of coffee is thought to contain around 150-200 milligrams of pure caffeine, there are other sources that you can try if you want to intake caffeine and for some reason, you want to avoid drinking coffee at the same time.
Most soft drinks have added caffeine containing around 20 to 70 milligrams of caffeine. And for the tea lovers, there is black tea, containing 47 milligrams of caffeine and green tea, containing 25% of caffeine!
Chocolate as well contains high amounts of caffeine since cocoa beans are used to produce it. A chocolate bar can contain up to 70 milligrams of pure caffeine.
You see, there are different sources of caffeine, and we hope that at least one is up to your expectations!
How Can Caffeine Help You Lose Weight?
Caffeine is believed to work for weight loss because it does the following:
Lipolysis is the term being used to refer to a process in which the lipids in your body are broke down, and the triglycerides are turned to glycerol and free fatty acids. Lipolysis occurs mainly in the adipose tissue, and it is the main process which is responsible for mobilizing the stored energy during exercise. And caffeine stimulates and enhances this process (4).
To make it simple, caffeine influences and speeds up the mobilization of stored fats from the fat tissue so that you would actually burn more fats and with that lose more weight. And that, of course, is possible by stimulating the nervous system and increasing the levels of epinephrine (5)!
Stimulating lipolysis is one thing, but caffeine is also able to boost your metabolism as well. Caffeine is able to increase your metabolic rate and the higher your metabolic rate is, the more calories you are burning. It has been scientifically proven that caffeine is able to increase the metabolic rate for as much as 3-11% and higher doses are able to increase this rate even higher (6).
This effect is especially seen when caffeine is consumed before exercise. A study found that consuming caffeine before exercise increases the number of fats burned during the exercise (7). What actually happens is instead of burning carbohydrates in order to maintain good energy levels which you require during your exercise, your body is burning more fats instead and with that adding to the weight loss effect that you try to achieve!
Caffeine is able to reduce your appetite and hunger which is always welcomed in the process of losing weight. You will be able to cut your usual calorie intake without feeling hungry at the same time. This will also help you to stick to your diet plan better, without feeling hungry and in need to starve yourself in order to achieve the goal of weight loss.
However, a study published in 2012, found that the appetite suppressing effect of caffeine is stronger in obese and overweight individuals rather than in individuals with a healthy weight (8).
In addition, since caffeine has a mood-altering attribute, as we mentioned before, it is able to influence your mood and help you achieve a state of good mood. And we all have experienced higher cravings and the need for comfort eating when we are in a negative mood. So by simply improving our mood, caffeine is able to suppress our appetite and the need to eat when we are not even feeling hungry.
Not only is consuming caffeine before your exercise will help you burn more fats and with that enhance the weight loss process, but it will also enhance your exercise! According to a study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, consuming caffeine before exercising enhanced the exercise performance by 11-12% on average (9).
You will feel more energized and ready for what is coming as soon as you enter the gym and start your workout routine for the day. We recommend you to organize your working out in the mornings, when it is possible, to use the energy that you have gained from your sleep the night before and that fresh, warm cup of coffee in the morning!
Increases Testosterone Level
The scientific research investigated the effects of a caffeinated gum given to rugby players at their halftime. The results showed that after 15 minutes, an increase of 70% in the salivary testosterone levels were reported (10). This serves as clear proof that caffeine is also able to influence the testosterone levels and cause an increase. This is pretty significant thinking how important testosterone is in the process of losing weight and forming strong, lean muscles in the process as well.
Other Health Benefits of Caffeine
Aside from weight loss, caffeine offers several other health benefits that will help improve your overall well-being.
Improve Energy Levels and Make You Smarter
Coffee can help people feel less tired and increase energy levels. That’s because it contains a stimulant called caffeine, the most commonly consumed psychoactive substance in the world.
After you drink coffee, the caffeine is absorbed into your bloodstream. From there, it travels to your brain. In the brain, caffeine blocks the inhibitory neurotransmitter adenosine.
When this happens, the amount of other neurotransmitters like norepinephrine and dopamine increases, leading to enhanced firing of neurons. This improves various aspects of brain function, including memory, mood, vigilance, energy levels, reaction times and general mental health.
Lowers Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is a major health problem, currently affecting millions of people worldwide. It’s characterized by elevated blood sugar levels caused by insulin resistance or a reduced ability to secrete insulin.
For some reason, coffee drinkers have a significantly reduced risk of type 2 diabetes. Experts say that drinking coffee can help lower your risk of getting this disease by as much as 23–50%.
Protects Against Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common neurodegenerative disease and the leading cause of dementia worldwide. This condition usually affects people over 65, and there is no known cure.
However, there are several things you can do to prevent the disease from occurring in the first place. This includes the usual suspects like eating healthy and exercising, but drinking coffee may be incredibly effective as well.
Coffee drinkers showed to have up to a 65% lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Guards the Liver
Your liver is an amazing organ that carries out hundreds of important functions. Several common diseases primarily affect the liver, including hepatitis, fatty liver disease and many others. Many of these conditions can lead to cirrhosis, in which your liver is largely replaced by scar tissue.
Interestingly, coffee may protect against cirrhosis, people who drink 4 or more cups per day have up to an 80% lower risk.
Fights Depression and Make You Happier
Depression is a serious mental disorder that causes a significantly reduced quality of life. It’s very common, as about 4.1% of people in the US currently meet the criteria for clinical depression.
People who drank 4 or more cups of coffee per day had a 20% lower risk of becoming depressed.
Decreases Risk of Certain Types of Cancer
Cancer is one of the world’s leading causes of death. It is characterized by uncontrolled cell growth in your body. Coffee appears to be protective against two types of cancer, liver and colorectal cancer.
Liver cancer is the third leading cause of cancer death in the world, while colorectal cancer ranks fourth. Experts say that coffee drinkers have up to a 40% lower risk of liver cancer.
Similarly, people found that those who drank 4–5 cups of coffee per day had a 15% lower risk of colorectal cancer.
Is It Safe to Use Caffeine to Enhance Weight Loss?
Although caffeine is rated as safe to use on a daily level to feel more energized, awake and even achieve the previously mentioned effects, focusing on weight loss, we want to remind you of the safe once again and recommended doses of caffeine on a daily level.
As we mentioned before, 400 milligrams of caffeine is considered to be safe according to the FDA. By consuming anything above that dose, you are putting yourself at the risk of experiencing the previously mentioned common side-effects by caffeine overdose.
In addition, although caffeine is safe to be consumed to achieve weight loss effects, we want to remind our readers of one unfortunate fact. The thing is that, unfortunately, as we consume caffeine on a daily level, we actually become tolerant to the effects of caffeine over time.
What does this mean, you ask? This means that effects such as a boost of the metabolic rate and an increase in the fat burning process are only temporarily achieved with the use of caffeine. Over time, you become tolerant to these effects, and you stop experiencing them or you experience them at a much smaller rate as compared with the beginning. In order to achieve these effects once again, you would have to increase your caffeine intake on a daily basis. But this is where it gets tricky.
You are not supposed to increase your caffeine intake higher than 400 milligrams a day, as we mentioned before due to the risk of experiencing the common side-effects. However, that does not mean that caffeine will not help you at all with your weight loss process. This does not change the fact that we are talking about an effective weight loss agent. Caffeine is one of the few natural, effective weight loss agents out there, and you just have to be patient and believe in its effects.
Can You Also Use Caffeine As A Weight Loss Supplement?
Due to the positive effect on fat metabolism, athletes often use it to increase their durability. Furthermore, anyone who wants to accelerate the metabolism should consider consuming caffeine (11). In addition, if you want to burn the accumulated fat from your body, caffeine is a perfect ally too.
Caffeine can be useful in short and intense efforts such as weighing exercises, but research has not firmly proved that it is useful for increasing power. It is important to note that taking caffeine is best applied only during the competition, as long-term use of this supplement reduces its beneficial effects.
How to Use Caffeine to Lose Weight?
Though it does boost metabolism in the short term, as mentioned earlier, caffeine users develop a tolerance to the drug. This depletes effects it has upon fat burning and increasing metabolism.
For those intent upon resisting the buildup of a tolerance, cycling caffeine intake in bi-weekly intervals may prove effective. Taking two weeks on and two weeks off can be a challenge for habituated users, but may net a few extra calories here and there.
It is also theorized that the suppressive effects caffeine has upon appetite may reduce the desire to eat. While these claims are unsupported, the fact remains that tolerance will negate any such actions within the body.
When to Avoid Caffeine?
You should avoid caffeine if you are experiencing issues with high blood pressure. Furthermore, some people are more sensitive to caffeine than others. If you fall into this group, even one cup a day can cause anxiety, sleepiness, or nervousness.
The way you tolerate caffeine depends on how much you are used to it. People who regularly drink coffee have higher resistance to caffeine than those who drink coffee very rarely.
Other factors that are important to consider when choosing whether to avoid caffeine or not are body weight, smoking habits, drugs, stress, and health problems (12). Consulting a healthcare specialist before significantly increasing your daily dose of caffeine is highly recommended.
Caffeine does so much more than simply wake you up in the morning. It suppresses your appetite, enhances your exercise, and boosts your testosterone levels and much more in order to help you lose weight faster and safely. Not to mention all of the other health benefits that caffeine has on our bodies.
Do not hesitate to choose caffeine on your side in your battle against those annoying extra body pounds. You will get to enjoy in its perfect taste and lose weight in the process!