Most of us already know coffee has some health benefits, but will drinking it help you lose weight?
Americans drink 40 million cups of coffee every single day and that number isn’t going to drop off anytime soon.
Growing up I vividly remember “health experts” saying coffee wasn’t good for you at all, and they pretty much lumped it right in with drinking alcohol.
Thankfully, research has begun to catch up with quite a few studies proving the overwhelming health benefits of coffee.
The American Medical Association takes this stance on coffee and weight loss:
“Moderate tea or coffee drinking likely has no negative effect on health, as long as you live an otherwise healthy lifestyle.”
If you ask me that isn’t a very impressive endorsement considering the plethora of benefits to drinking coffee.
This is why it’s kinda hard to totally trust the mainstream “health experts” because they’re so worried about playing it on the safe side they hold people back from reaching their full potential.
If they only said that drinking coffee will help you lose weight then there would be less obesity and type 2 diabetes in the world.
For many, drinking coffee is a daily ritual. I look forward to waking up early every morning with my cup of coffee.
Now, let’s dig deeper into coffee and weight loss…
Coffee and Weight Loss (Why It Works)
Caffeine Keeps You Lean
One of the biggest and most obvious reasons why coffee will help you lose weight is it contains stimulants.
The caffeine content alone is a well known stimulant associated with weight loss.
Caffeine works by blocking the inhibitory neurotransmitter adenosine.
This releases dopamine and norepinephrine into the body as caffeine increases the firing of neurons.
Although, I wouldn’t just start popping caffeine pills already.
Keep reading and I’ll get into why you only want to get your caffeine from coffee.
Move Fat! (Get Out The Way)
As caffeine stimulates the nervous system it’s sending direct signals to fat cells telling them to break down the fat.
This increases blood levels of norepinephrine, and as it sends signals to break down fats they are then released into the blood stream.
Once they’re made available into your blood stream they’re now ready to be used as free fatty acids in the blood.
This essentially just means you’re body is going to be burning these free fatty acids for energy so you’ll lose more fat.
Usually, your body will use glycogen (stored gargars) for it’s first source of energy but with fat readily available to burn it’ll use that too.
Cranks Up Metabolism
Think of your metabolism as the fat burning machine in your body.
We want it sky high so we can burn more calories throughout the day.
There are things you can do that slow it (eating sugar) and there are things you can do crank it up.
Caffeine alone has been found to increase your metabolic rate 3-11%.
As your body begins to burn more fat your metabolism will see an increase in activity.
But that’s still a significant advantage to losing weight by just drinking coffee.
Combined with an effective and consistent nutrition system you’ll be well on your way to dropping any extra weight you don’t want.
Studies also found age seemed to correlate with how much the caffeine would boost the metabolism.
Younger people would have a higher metabolic boost while it was slower with those a little older.
Lose Weight with Coffee
This was also an interesting study that found rodents on a high dose of caffeine were able to restore their insulin sensitivity.
The more sugar and bad carbs we eat the more your body will become resistant to insulin. This leads to type 2 diabetes.
The study also found that caffeine would limit total and even visceral fat gain due to high sugar diets.
See my list of the best natural sugar substitutes you can use to help get the sugar out of your coffee.
Now just because the study followed mice on a high dose of caffeine doesn’t mean you have to drink giant bowls of coffee every morning.
The amount of caffeine the mice in the group used is about equivalent to 4-5 cups of coffee and weight loss should start to begin then.
But most experts will only readily feel comfortable recommending 2-3 cups of coffee per day to get the benefits.
Improves Athletic Performance
Having caffeine has been shown to improve athletic performance on an average of 11-12%.
This is another clear reason how coffee will help you lose weight.
If you’re able to workout harder and longer then your body will be able to burn more calories and fat.
Coffee also contains powerful antioxidants. In fact, coffee is the number one source of antioxidants for the majority of Americans diets.
Sure, there are more potent sources of antioxidants out there but it’s kinda hard picturing most people drinking a blueberry shake every morning.
It’s also good for you to have coffee post-workout as well to boost your weight loss.
This study found post-workout coffee boosted glycogen repletion up to 30%. After a tough workout your body should be low on glycogen so getting some back into your body fast will be beneficial especially if you’re more on the athletic side.
Another study found caffeine to help reduce muscle soreness after hard training. So the quicker you’re able to recover from your workouts the quicker you can get back onto your next one.
Coffee Is A Double-Edged Sword
The one downside for coffee and weight loss is your body will gradually build a tolerance to the effects of caffeine.
When I first started drinking just a little bit of coffee I would feel my body going from zero to a hundred.
Nowadays, it takes a couple cups just until I start to feel normal. Haha
Some of the positive effects of the caffeine will not work as efficiently as you build up a tolerance, but you should still get a lot of the benefits.
Coffee will also help you lose weight by blunting your appetite.
Men are usually the ones who have a reduced appetite after drinking coffee, but it might be more based on the individual than anything.
Unless you’re doing intermittent fasting, then I would make sure you have some protein in the morning for breakfast to boost your metabolism.
If you don’t have the time to cook anything then boil some eggs the night before or just drink a high quality protein powder.
Most people will only have coffee in the morning, but the downside to that is they’ll wait until the early afternoon to eat and by then they’re more likely to eat junk snacks.
Boosts Mood Too
I know I’m definitely one of the people who isn’t quite themselves first thing in the morning before coffee.
Some call it grouchiness but I call it coffee time. Haha
Coffee concentrates have been shown to increase positivity in the moment, and we could all do with a little more positivity in our lives.
Another study found a reduction in depression among women that became stronger the more they would consume caffeinated coffee.
And even Alcoholics Anonymous found groups were more likely to stay sober if they upped their coffee intake.
Coffee won’t just help you lose weight, but it’ll also help you get your mind right.
How To Drink Coffee (The Right Way)
When you see most people drinking coffee it’s most likely in the form of a super sugary Frappuccino.
These things are packed to the gills with sugar and should be avoided at all costs.
Just about all and any weight loss benefits associated with coffee go out the window when you drink coffee like this.
Instead try to drink your coffee black and not with carbohydrates as the insulin could override some of the fat burning effects of the caffeine.
I don’t even like using the K-cups because of the plastic that’s being used to brew them. The last thing I want to be drinking into my body is coffee laced with hot plastic.
Keep away from the zero calorie sweeteners like Splenda since they use sucralose. These artificial sweeteners will actually make you gain weight even though they ware zero calories.
If you need a sweetener for your coffee I’d go a more natural route with stevia, monk fruit or a little bit of honey.
There are also some weight loss benefits to drinking your coffee with some cocoa mixed in.
Cocoa will help to improve insulin sensitivity, fight cancer, lower blood pressure and even work as a neuro-enhancer to improve your cognition.
Usually I just like to drink my coffee black but sometimes I like to add a little flavor.
This is my special fat burning coffee mix:
- 2 cups coffee
- 1 packet stevia
- 1 tsp cocoa powder
- sprinkle cinnamon on top
When I first wake up I’ll usually drink my MetaboGreens then I’ll drink either black coffee or my special fat burning coffee mix above.
Most experts recommend only drinking 2 cups of coffee a day, but some studies found up to 5 cups a day had benefits in normal healthy people.
This is when it all depends on your personal body type and how well it responds to caffeine.
If you’re perfectly fine drinking multiple cups a day then go for it, but if you feel cracked out after only 1-2 cups then it’s best to limit it there.
I’ll also say it’s a good idea to make sure you don’t drink coffee too late in the day as it could seriously effect your quality of sleep.
Sleep is highly important for weight loss, and the fat burning effects of coffee will be outdone by the negatives of lack of sleep.
If you’re looking to maximize the caffeine content in coffee go for medium or dark roasts of higher caffeine beans.
- Most exotic brands
Coffee Does Help You Lose Weight, But…
Now that we’ve well established with science backing it up that coffee and weight loss really work we should also talk about something else.
I wouldn’t recommend skipping meals to drink coffee instead.
Coffee should be complimenting a meal plan that will help you lose weight.
Even though coffee itself will help you lose weight it will be easily outdone if you’re not getting your nutrition right.
Just like how I talked about tossing a ton of sugar into your coffee will also take away many of the benefits.
Now when coffee is combined with a proven nutrition system then you can bet it will undoubtedly lead to massive weight loss.
See my other favorite weight loss drinks to see if coffee made the list.
Coffee Helps You Stay Young
The New England Journal of Medicine found those who drank coffee were more likely to live longer.
Surprisingly enough they also found those who drank coffee were also more likely to smoke. They did find those who smoked were more likely to die, but those who just drank coffee lived longer.
Even though coffee can lengthen your life and help you stay young… just the caffeine alone can shorten telomeres.
Over the course of your lifetime your telomeres naturally shorten as cells divide.
It’s thought amongst experts that having short telomeres is associated with negative health consequences.
But the good news for coffee drinkers is there are other substances in it, most likely chlorogenic acid, that take away the negative effects of caffeine.
The study didn’t say if these people were getting their caffeine from soda or energy drinks too.
Those are two sources of caffeine I would also avoid like the plagues of Egypt.
The studies overwhelmingly agree that coffee and weight loss go together like peas and carrots.
Drinking coffee will help you lose weight and burn fat seemingly without any other consequences when done right.
But it’s 100% against The Weight Loss Rules to add sugar to your coffee.
You’ll also want to read my blog post on alcohol and weight loss if you’re curious if adding booze to your coffee is bad for you.
I’m a personal believer who thinks it’s fine, and could even help to add some whole milk or cream to your coffee as long as your total calorie intake is regulated.
Most studies have found a correlation with full fat dairy and weight loss, but to be totally honest there is no conclusive evidence.
Drink all the coffee your body can properly handle as long as it’s not too close before bed time as it could have a negative impact on your quality of sleep.
And when combined with a fantastic nutrition system, like my Flat Belly Formula program, you’ll be guaranteed to be dropping weight fast.
Now that you undoubtedly know coffee will help you lose weight it’s time to buy me a cup of Joe. I just hope it’s not the Unicorn Frappuccino.
Josh holds a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Physiology and Nutrition Science. He’s a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) by the National Strength and Conditioning Association. He’s worked as a Strength and Conditioning Coach at the high school and college level. He has over 10 years experience as a personal trainer and nutrition coach. He is also the author of The Flat Belly Formula. He hopes to be able to bring inspiration & results to people all over the world to live a healthier life through diet & exercise.