You may have heard that one of the easy ways to lose weight is to simply increase your caffeine habit, whether that be through an extra cup of coffee in the morning or taking a weight-loss supplement that has caffeine in it in order to help speed up “fat loss.”
The theory behind this is that caffeine supposedly suppresses appetite, helping you to eat less during a meal. It’s also been said that caffeine may help you burn more calories throughout the day by helping your body produce heat that then generates more energy, even when you’re at rest.
But research has found that caffeine isn’t really a cure-all when it comes to losing weight, and it may not be as effective as previously thought. Here’s why:
The Truth About Caffeine Weight Loss
To start, many caffeine and weight loss-related studies are done on animals, which may mimic a human’s response but doesn’t definitively show whether or not consuming a certain amount of caffeine will lead to rapid weight loss. And while some studies done on humans have found a small connection between weight loss and coffee intake, many have been unable to pinpoint whether it’s the coffee itself that is directly causing weight loss, or other factors, such as caffeine providing study participants energy to work out, or slightly increasing satiety (which means participants eat less).
There are many factors in play when it comes to weight loss, and the case behind caffeine is complicated.
The Coffee and Weight Loss Connection
As for the connection between appetite suppression and coffee, research published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found minimal evidence for this as well. The study looked at adults between the ages of 18 to 50 (with the majority of subjects being female) and measured their food intake and appetite after breakfast until midnight when randomly given a beverage with 0, 1, or 3 mg/kg of caffeine. The researchers found no difference between caffeine consumption and less food intake or effect on appetite throughout the day.
Not only is the science behind coffee, caffeine, and weight loss murky at best, you may do real harm to your health if you increase your caffeine consumption too much. More than 600 mg of caffeine (approximately four to seven cups of coffee) throughout the day can cause headaches, insomnia, abnormal heart rate, and an increase in blood pressure (among other health issues).
If you’re looking for a “simple” way to lose weight, there’s really only one proven way to do it — maintain a steady exercise routine and follow a healthy, low-calorie diet.