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Can Coffee Help You Burn Fat?

Coffee, green tea, and other caffeinated drinks are popular choices among individuals to drink in the morning. A lot of times, drinking coffee isn’t just limited to mornings, numerous people even consume it throughout their day. There are also others that can’t function without coffee in their systems. 

If you consume caffeine on a daily basis and you’re trying to lose weight, you might want to tune into this article. According to a variety of recent studies, drinking coffee can help burn fat and aid in weight loss. If that sentence alone has captured your attention, read on to find out exactly how coffee can help in burning down your body fat.

Is Coffee Good For Fat Burn?

Previous research done in 2019 showed that caffeine increases exercise performance by enhancing anaerobic power, aerobic endurance, and muscle endurance and strength. Additionally, the study showed that caffeine’s positive effects on these performance markers were more pronounced during aerobic exercise sessions than during anaerobic exercise. 

To determine further whether coffee is good for fat burn, the University of Granada in Spain examined the effect of caffeine intake on the maximum fat oxidation rate (MFO) of active men during a graded exercise test. Francisco Jose Amaro-Gahete, the lead author of the new study, stated, “The recommendation to exercise on an empty stomach in the morning to increase fat oxidation is commonplace. However, this recommendation may be lacking a scientific basis, as it is unknown whether this increase is due to exercising in the morning or due to going without food for a longer period of time.”

The researchers then enlisted the participation of 15 active men with an average age of 32 years. The participants were nonsmokers, had no underlying health conditions that could worsen with exercise, and were not taking any medications or drugs. All of them also had previous experience with endurance training and consumed less than 50 mg of caffeine a day. Standardized conditions of each participant, such as hours elapsed since their last meal, were also presented before each test. 

The triple-blind, placebo-controlled study asked participants to complete an exercise test four times — twice in the morning and twice in the afternoon — with a bicycle ergometer. Each test was separated by a 7-day interval. 30 minutes before each test, the participants consumed either 3 mg per kilogram of body weight of caffeine, which is equivalent to a strong cup of coffee, or a pure microcrystalline cellulose placebo. The researchers measured MFO and maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) with the use of indirect calorimetry. They then calculated the intensity of physical exercise required to reach optimal MFO.

The results of the research showed that the participants who consumed caffeine had increased MFO and VO2max during tests that took place in the morning and afternoon. The recent study also showed that the afternoon tests had a more significant increase in MFO and VO2max than the morning tests. The morning exercise sessions showed that caffeine consumption increased MFO to a similar level as the afternoon sessions in participants who did not take caffeine. 

All in all, the research showed that acute caffeine ingestion 30 minutes before a workout can significantly improve maximum fat oxidation during an aerobic exercise test, regardless of the time of day. Combining the consumption of strong coffee with exercising at moderate intensity provides the best scenario for individuals who wish to increase whole-body fat oxidation.

Does Caffeine Break Down Fat?

Consuming caffeine stimulates the nervous system, which in turn sends direct signals to the fat cells, telling them to break down fat. Caffeine also increases the blood levels of the hormone epinephrine, which is more commonly known as adrenaline. Epinephrine travels through the blood and to the fat tissues. They give out a signal to break down fats and release them into the blood. 

It’s worth noting, however, that releasing fatty acids into the blood does not help with fat loss unless you are burning more calories than you consume through your diet. This condition is called a negative energy balance. If you eat less or exercise more, you can reach a negative balance.

How Do You Use Coffee To Increase Fat Burning?

Which Type of Caffeine is Best to Drink to Lose Weight?

Aside from fat burning, caffeine can also increase metabolism and promote weight loss. In a small study in 2018, participants who drank various measures of coffee over the course of two months had greater metabolites, which is a product of metabolism. Having a faster metabolism increases calorie burning, leading to weight loss. 

Caffeinated beverages may also decrease feelings of hunger. Our appetites are influenced by a variety of factors, including the type of food we eat, physical activity, and hormones. Another study in 2014 showed that participants felt more full and reduced their food intake within four weeks of drinking coffee, resulting in reduced levels of ghrelin, the hormone that’s responsible for hunger. 

According to experts, black coffee is the best for weight loss as long as it doesn’t contain any added sugar. It also must not contain any fats that can contribute to weight gain. If you aren’t used to black coffee’s strong flavor, you can use low-calorie alternative sweeteners such as monk fruit extract, stevia, xylitol, maltitol, and the like. If you’re completely new to drinking strong coffee, you can gradually reduce your pumps of sweetener until you get used to the bitter taste. 

If you have a sensitive stomach, it’s highly suggested that you eat food alongside your coffee as the drink alone can cause you gastric distress. When your digestive system undergoes stress, it can lead to weight gain. 

To lose fat with the help of caffeine, it’s recommended that healthy adults drink no more than four 8-oz cups of coffee a day. This is enough to give you the benefit of feeling more awake and burning calories while not being too impacted by sleep loss, nervousness, nausea, increased blood pressure, or other problems.

Bottom Line

Thanks to a recent study, it was shown that drinking coffee before exercising may help burn more fat in the body. However, it is also important to be mindful of what you consume and how much of it you drink. Consuming coffee that is low in calories, low in added sugars, and low in fat content is the most ideal. It’s also important that you drink no more than four cups a day so that you don’t experience its negative effects. 

Do remember that coffee impacts every person in different ways. The effects it has on one person may not be the same with someone else and vice versa. If you feel any discomfort when you drink coffee, consult with a professional healthcare practitioner that can provide medical advice.

Tricia Montano

Tricia founded Pain Free Working in 2019 due to suffering from degenerative disc disease in her L5-S1 from working an office job for the past 18 years. She and her team strive on finding and reviewing the best office equipment to help fellow pain sufferers find relief and to enable people like her to do their jobs comfortably.