The debate about whether caffeine helps or inhibits weight loss has been around for many years now. So what’s the absolute truth on this matter? That is what I’ll try to answer in today’s Q&A.
I only recently became a coffee drinker within the last couple of years. I seem to be behind the trend because you see this stuff everywhere and everybody is drinking it.
What makes it so special? Do our lives really need this stuff to perform better both at work and in the gym?
An interesting story:
A couple of months ago I decided I would take a few weeks off from coffee and caffeine in general. I had been having a cup of it every single day for quite some time. This is easy to do when the building you live in provides free coffee to residents.
What happened when I decided to take a break?
Well, the very next day I had a “visual migraine” where I lost much of my eye sight for about 15 minutes. It scared the crap out of me because I had no clue what was happening at the time.
I searched the internet while in a state of panic. The thought of rushing to the eye doctor sat in my head the entire time.
Finally I came across an article that talked about these vision migraines and how they can be related to a sudden stop of caffeine. In other words, this event was due to my body not having caffeine in it’s system for the first time in months.
That’s what I assume at least. I’ve never had a vision migraine like that ever before in my life, and haven’t had one since.
Was this scary event related to caffeine? I think so. But I could always be wrong. I’m not a doctor so don’t take my word for it. I’m just telling you what happened.
It’s best to avoid anything that can cause this insulin resistance when you’re trying to lose weight. Obesity is the largest factor to insulin resistance and it’s why diabetes 2 is the most common form of diabetes.
How Does Caffeine Help With Weight Loss?
There have been studies that suggest that caffeine could be a cause of insulin resistance. This won’t necessarily cause you to gain weight, but it’s not something you want to be putting in your body if you’re already overweight.
I’m not saying you’re going to get diabetes from drinking coffee – what I’m saying is that if you’re already obese, you might consider cutting out any beverage that isn’t water.
With that said, black coffee is a zero calorie drink. You really won’t have issues drinking this stuff while losing weight. However, just keep in min the insulin stuff if you have issues with diabetes. But, who knows. Speak to a professional and see what they recommend.
I generally think that anyone wanting to lose a lot of weight should stick to plain old water. That’s it. No coffee, no pre-workout drinks, nothing. Just water.
Another side-effect of caffeine is that it can increase your appetite. This reason alone can make it harder for you to lose weight because your craving for sugary donuts spikes through the roof.
Here’s an experiment you can try…
I want you to go about your normal day tomorrow. Have a cup of coffee in the morning (or whenever you normally do) and go about your normal business. Keep note of what you eat and how much you eat.
Now on the next day, avoid drinking your morning coffee. If you find that you absolutely MUST have your coffee, then you’re probably addicted to caffeine, or at least the habit of making yourself some coffee.
Try to replace your coffee with decaf and see if it somewhat helps your craving for the stuff. Go about your day and track what you eat and how much. You should be tracking everything that goes into your mouth if your goal is to lose weight.
For the day that you didn’t drink your coffee, did you eat more food for that day? Did you eat less? Did you find yourself not as hungry? Were you hungrier than ever?
An interesting study about coffee and appetite proved that decaffeinated coffee was a better appetite suppressant than regular coffee with it’s regular load of caffeine.
So, you never know. Perhaps switching to decaf coffee could be the kickstarter you need to accelerate your weight loss. I’ve helped a lot of people lose weight and it can sometimes be as easy as changing one small habit.
Can Coffee Help You Burn Fat?
I found this study that suggests caffeine boosts the metabolic rate and an increase in fat oxidation. This is a really interesting find because of this exact sentance on the page:
“In the fourth trial, coffee was taken with a 3080 kJ meal. The thermic effect of the meal was significantly greater after coffee than after decaffeinated coffee and again fat oxidation was significantly greater after coffee.”
This is quite significant me thinks. Instead of drinking coffee in the morning before the first meal, this is suggesting that regular coffee taken with a meal significantly improves the thermic effect and fat oxidation.
I think I’ll start taking coffee with big meals from now on instead of drinking it on an empty stomach.
With all that said, test things out for yourself for a few weeks. See how you feel and adjust from there. There’s a lot more that goes into your metabolism, and most people who struggle with weight loss have a broken metabolism.
If you want to boost your metabolism, then you’re going to need to do a few things…
- Avoid processed foods
- Perform high intensity cardio exercises 3-4 times per week
- Hit the gym and lift heavy weights
- Avoid soft drinks, alcohol and coffee (in that order)
Those are the basic steps you need to get your metabolism back on track. You WILL burn fat if you follow those steps. I GUARANTEE it.
If you can’t say no to caffeine, then at least try to have it with big meals instead of drinking it on it’s own. Perhaps there’s a lot of truth to these studies and you can make some significant improvements in your weight loss goals.