This article has been Fact-Checked by Kendall Kennedy MS, RD, RYT
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Coffee is one of the most popular drinks around the world. Who doesn’t like its taste to start off the day? Do you need to give it up or are coffee and weight loss a good fit?
Coffee is a brewed drink prepared from roasted coffee beans which are the seeds of berries from a specific plant.
Some people swear it is bad for you, others claim it’s one of the healthiest beverages you can drink. Discover how you can or cannot fit in coffee in your lifestyle.
Advantages of coffee for weight loss
Let’s start of by saying that coffee has both advantages and disadvantages. Luckily you can enjoy the advantages of coffee and avoid the disadvantages at the same time.
Coffee is an interesting case that gets a lot of attention because so many people consume so much of it.
Firstly, here are a few possible advantages of coffee for weight loss.
Coffee can possibly reduce hunger
Your favorite morning beverage might help your weight loss by reducing your hunger (1).
Hunger is a big reason people overconsume calories and fail to stick to their weight loss plan.
However, even though many people claim this as a complete fact, there are also studies that don’t confirm this (2).
What is more or less confirmed is that more fluid intake fills your stomach more. This will reduce hunger. How big the difference of impact on hunger is between just water and coffee is not completely certain.
Caffeine can increase your metabolism
Your metabolism is the amount of calories you burn. When you’re trying to lose weight you probably want this to be high. Body fat is just calories stored for later use.
Increasing your metabolism can make your calorie deficit bigger. This helps you lose weight faster or allows you to eat more food without slowing down your weight loss.
Often studies like “the component in this stimulates this effect” are done with an unnaturally high dose. This can be deceptive since you would never consume the amount with just this consumable, here coffee.
However, the mentioned studies used a very realistic dose. They discovered (statistically) significant results from the caffeine dose of one medium cup of coffee.
Coffee can improve your health
Another way coffee can possibly help you lose weight is by making you healthier in general.
A healthier body is better able to deal with thing coming its way. It’s not always clear how this affects weight loss but it probably can’t hurt.
Health advantages of coffee
On top of being able to improve weight loss, there are also possible overall health benefits to drinking coffee, if you drink it at the right time.
First of all, coffee contains nutrients like vitamin B2 and anti-oxidants.
Micronutrients are vitamins and minerals your body needs to survive and thrive.
Anti-oxidants are substances that can help your body deal with oxidative damage.
Coffee can protect and repair your liver
Your liver is an extremely important organ among other things for processing food. Basically everything you eat passes by the liver in one way or another so keeping it in shape is a big priority.
Coffee can help your body with recycling damaged cells
Coffee promotes a process known as “autophagy” (8).
Cells in your body get damaged. It’s something that happens to everyone in day to day life and not something you should worry too much about. Autophagy is a process in which your body recycles these old and damaged cells into usable resources.
Autophagy is extremely important since damaged cells for example have the possibility of turning into tumors.
This process is always going on in your body but things like coffee and fasting increase the amount of autophagy going on.
Coffee can help prevent diabetes
Coffee consumption is associated with a lower risk on type 2 diabetes (9).
Important to note is the word associated, it’s not entirely clear if coffee or other factors cause this association.
Coffee and Parkinson’s disease
Caffeinated coffee can protect against Parkinson’s disease (10).
The same affects do not seem to apply to decaffeinated coffee.
Disadvantages of coffee for weight loss
Now before you triple your coffee intake it’s important to know that these advantages can also bring along disadvantages that possibly undo the good stuff.
The first possible disadvantage is that coffee can increase stress for some people. Stress isn’t just an emotion. There are physical consequences too that can reduce the results of your weight loss efforts and increase the risk on certain diseases.
The second disadvantage is that the caffeine in coffee can reduce your sleep quality.
Sleep is one of the most important things for your health. It should be one of your top priorities.
Most people can avoid this disadvantage by not consuming caffeinated drinks 8+ hours before going to sleep. You can drink decaffeinated coffee but even this kind of coffee contains some caffeine (about 5% of regular coffee depending on brand).
Some people need to avoid any caffeine
However, some people need to avoid caffeine altogether.
There are genes that determine how well your body processes caffeine. There are 3 main groups: people who deal well with caffeine, people who deal averagely with caffeine and the last group people who don’t deal with caffeine very well.
This last group of people might have decreased sleep quality even if they drink one small cup of coffee first thing in the morning. These kinds of people should avoid caffeine altogether for optimal physical health.
You can find out in which group of people you are by getting a dna-test or comparing your sleep on days you drank coffee vs days you didn’t.
Another situation in which you may want to avoid the caffeine found in coffee is if you are dealing with high blood pressure.
Maximize the benefits of coffee for weight loss
For maximum benefits of coffee for weight loss it is advised to not add things like cream and sugar to it. Those calories can really add up after a few cups.
Also don’t consume caffeinated drinks within 8 hours of going to bed.
There is a place and time for coffee in your weight loss journey. If you respect these rules it really can be the nectar of the gods and help you achieve results just that little bit faster when you’re trying to lose weight.
The actual amount may not be that big but every little bit adds up.