Coffee and its benefits have been widely discussed. In the positive corner, we hear that it can help you live longer and lower the risk of getting type 2 diabetes. On the flip side, coffee has been admonished as something that will give you heart disease and stunt your growth. Most recently though, it's been scientifically proven to help you lose weight. Touted as the "cure to obesity," a study published in the Nature Communications journal revealed that in an experiment where mice received an injection of caffeine they lost weight and ate less.
However, for anyone who's not sure about the evidence or whether they should consider the drink as a supplement to their weight loss attempts, we spoke to Michelle Braude, MBBS, BSc, a nutritionist and founder of The Food Effect, about it. Not only did she tell us how many extra calories you could lose every day, but she also gave us some interesting details about when you should drink it. Keep scrolling to discover the real benefits of coffee.
Does Coffee Help You Lose weight?
In short, yes. Braude said that this is due to a number of different factors. Firstly coffee, or rather caffeine, can help increase metabolism by 3 to 11%. This means that the caffeine "kick-starts lipolysis," which is when the body starts breaking down the fat to use as energy. Secondly, it gives you an energy boost. Not only does it increase mental alertness, but it does the same for athletic performance.
Finally, says Braude, some studies have shown that it helps to suppress appetite, as "coffee contains magnesium and potassium, which helps the body use up insulin and therefore reduces craving for sugary foods." Interestingly, this particular study found that decaffeinated coffee suppressed hunger more than its caffeinated cousin. So it might just keep you from reaching for the biscuit tin at work. Miracles can happen.
How many cups?
Braude, surprisingly, said that you can safely drink up to four large cups per day. In total, it's advised to not go over 400g of coffee per day, but that works out at about four big cups. Despite people constantly trying to give up coffee, Braude says that she "would definitely recommend drinking coffee," as it has so many benefits. There are, of course, downsides to drinking too much, such as increased anxiety and potential heart palpitations, and it's also not recommended for pregnant women, but so long as you stick within the recommended amount, you should be fine.
How many calories can you actually lose?
If you eat 5000 calories in a day, drinking coffee won't erase those extra calories. Braude recommends that you combine it with physical exercise and the right diet, as it should be another "tool in the box," rather than a total solution. When asked about how many calories you could lose, Braude understandably says it's hard to calculate, as every body is different, and it depends on how much you weigh, your height and how much energy you're expending, but she says, "at best, for a normal physically active person, you could burn an extra 150 to 200 calories" per day. Someone who's sedentary could expect to burn around 100 calories per day.
Is there a right time to drink it?
Ideally, to get maximum results you should drink it half an hour before doing any exercise, says Braude, but it's also good if you "need a boost in the morning." However, she does say to wait an hour or so after waking up "so it doesn't interfere with the body's natural production of cortisol." If you're worried about when to stop drinking coffee in the day, so as to ensure you get a good night's sleep, Braude says that you should avoid drinking it beyond 4 p.m.
Instant or real?
Of course, this very much comes down to taste, too, but the differences aren't massive. However, there are a few distinctions. Notably, fresh coffee contains roughly 20% more caffeine. For example, most cups of instant would contain around 80 grammes of caffeine, whereas fresh would be more like 100 grammes. However, a massive difference is that "ground coffee [has] more than double the potassium of instant," which means if you want to avoid those sugary snacks, then fresh is a better option. Want to get your coffee fix? Keep scrolling for our favourite makers.
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