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Should you try coffee for weight loss?

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Coffee and weight loss

Much has been written about the benefits of coffee for overall health and even for weight loss. Should you add coffee or caffeine to your diet to lose weight? What is the real evidence that the popular beverage might help you shed pounds?


Caffeine in the form of coffee is an appealing beverage for a variety of reasons. Coffee is associated with not only weight loss but a variety of other positive health effects that might include a boost to your IQ, improved physical performance, lower risk of type 2 diabetes and thwarting Alzheimer's disease and even helping with erectile dysfunction.

What is the evidence that coffee can help you lose weight?

There may be several ways coffee is purported to help weight loss, but the question is does it really work?.

  • Though studies are mixed, coffee could help us feel less hungry and act as an appetite suppressant. (1, 2)
  • There is no question that caffeine make us feel more energetic.The effect of coffee could lead to more motivation for exercise, in turn aiding weight loss. The effects are temporary however. Adding more caffeine for energy is a bad idea because of the potential adverse effects
  • Many weigh loss supplements contain caffeine for appetite suppression. Drinking coffee or taking caffeinated supplements will eventually stop working as you develop a tolerance - and again - caffeine can give you the jitters, interfere with sleep, temporarily raise your blood pressure and for some, cause a rapid heart rate.
  • If you're trying to ramp up your workouts with a cup of coffee you can forget it. Studies suggest caffeine might help endurance athletes, but once again, studies are mixed (3).

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See: Cold Brew Coffee for weight loss

The bottom line

Coffee is rich in antioxidants. It makes us feel temporarily energized and can be beneficial for your health. Will it help with weight loss? The answer is probably not.

(1) http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0271531788800770
(2) http://jn.nutrition.org/content/early/2011/02/23/jn.110.137323.full.pdf
(3) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1908879

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