There’s nothing like starting your morning with a fresh cup of coffee. Coffee lovers around the globe will agree that a nice hot cup of Joe can do wonders for someone who is tired or in desperate need for a pick-me-up. Drinkers of the caffeinated beverage rejoiced when studies came out showing that consuming coffee in healthy amounts can have a wealth of benefits for one’s health. It is, for example, known to boost concentration and alertness for a while, decrease risk for type 2 diabetes and liver disease. Caffeine can sometimes also give you that extra jolt of energy you need to get through the day. But did you know that your favorite morning beverage can even give you an edge when it comes to losing weight?
Your Secret Weight Loss Weapon
Have you ever picked up a bottle of diet pills or weight loss supplements and read the ingredients list? If you haven’t, go ahead and check one out at your neighborhood health store. We’ll bet you dollars to donuts that the primary ingredient on the list, or at least one of the top ingredients, is caffeine. Caffeine is, as we all know, a main component of the coffee that we enjoy every day. But what exactly is it about caffeine that makes it such an important ingredient in commercial weight loss or fat burning supplements? As a thermogenic substance, caffeine can help stimulate higher calorie burn stimulating our body’s way of producing heat during the process of metabolizing meals. Studies have also shown that caffeine can increase metabolic rates in individuals by up to 11%. Coffee is especially helpful for people who work out. As a powerful anti-oxidant, coffee aids in recovering from rigorous exercise.
There are other biologically active components in coffee that can affect metabolism such as Chlorogenic Acid. This acid in particular could help slow the body’s absorption of carbohydrates. Coffee has also been shown in some studies to boost a person’s over all immune system. Aside from this, coffee has also been known to help people curb their appetites, which is why it is a recommended beverage in some diets like the Cohen Program to combat cravings. Just remember that you should only use coffee as an appetite suppressant for unnecessary calories or cravings. It shouldn’t be used as a meal substitute and will only work for so long. Ignoring the need to eat could just land you with an episode of binge eating.
Too Much of a Good Thing is a Bad Thing
While coffee is a great item to have in your diet to aid in weight loss, don’t go running to the coffee machine or downing cups of coffee left and right just yet. The age old adage of, “too much of a good thing is a bad thing” applies to coffee as well. For instance, you may think that since coffee gets your heart pumping a bit faster, it’s a means to burn extra calories. This is not the case. The spike in heart rate as an effect of coffee is stimulant induced and does not help in any way towards higher caloric burn. Consuming too much coffee will result in heart palpitations and will eventually render the previously enjoyed health and weight loss benefits completely useless. Sometimes, too much caffeine can also cause nausea, jitters and even addiction.
Since coffee is a stimulant, it’s possible for the body to get addicted to substance and withdrawing from coffee can cause tremendous headaches. The most obvious drawback, however, from ingesting too much coffee is sleep interruption. Sleep is a crucial component of losing weight and having too much coffee will not only keep you up at night, but affect your overall energy for the following day. Not getting enough sleep can also result in anxiety or depression.
The Best Way to Utilize Coffee
To get the most out of coffee and its benefits, experts recommend limiting your coffee consumption to two 8-ounce servings per day. That means that the maximum amount of coffee you should be drinking in a day is 2 cups. It’s better to drink the coffee at the start of the day as well, as taking it later than lunch could impact your sleep later on in the day. If you’re able, try not drink coffee every day as regular consumption can actually render the usual effects moot in your body. On the other hand, those who don’t typically drink coffee or ingest much caffeine at all, can start off with just half a cup a week and study the effects that the beverage has on your system.
Another thing to be careful off is what you add to your coffee. On its own, coffee is a zero-calorie beverage, but adding milk, sugar or flavored syrups and whipped cream to your coffee is a sure-fire way to turn it into a high-calorie detriment to your weight loss efforts. If you like your coffee sweet, you can try zero-calorie and organic sweeteners like stevia instead of sugar. Those who are used to having frappes and other sugar loaded beverages can also try adding their coffee to a protein shake instead and enjoy it as a post work out treat.
All in all, coffee is a fantastic beverage to utilize as your secret weapon when you’re trying to lose weight. If you’re only interested in drinking coffee as an aid to your weight loss, make sure that you cycle it in your diet to prevent developing a tolerance to the caffeine. Try taking it two weeks at a time and letting your system rest for another two weeks to reap all of the benefits that it has to offer. If you experience any adverse effects, stop drinking it! After all, the most important thing is your health and if you are one of a few that suffers adverse effects from caffeine then it shouldn’t be a part of your diet. Oh and don’t forget: Moderation is key!