Most people drink coffee to boost energy, but others drink it to lose weight – and for a valid reason:
Studies have found a strong link between coffee and weight loss. Weight loss supplement companies, of course, took heed and now coffee and its main substance – caffeine – is in many weight-loss products.
But wait, now you're probably thinking: I've been a regular coffee drinker for years and never lost weight.
The thing is, coffee alone won't make a difference, but it can boost your fat-burning potential when paired with a weight loss diet. There's also a right and there's a wrong way to drink coffee for weight loss.
Want to find out what the right way is?
Scroll down to see 5 different ways people use coffee to lose weight and to learn how exactly to do it yourself.
In a nutshell, yes. At least that's what the research suggests.
A review published two years ago, for example, mentions that drinking more coffee may reduce your risk of metabolic syndrome by 9% . Metabolic syndrome is a clustering of conditions, with central obesity at its core.
A recent meta-analysis strengthens this claim and also offers explanations behind coffee's anti-obesity effects :
But the good news doesn't end there.
A British study published in June found that coffee stimulates brown fat , a type of fat that generates heat and burns calories in the process. This is known as thermogenesis and may promote increased energy expenditure that could promote weight loss.
But to gain all these benefits, you need to drink coffee the right way:
Here are some helpful ways to drink coffee for weight loss. Some of these methods pair best with a low-calorie diet, while others are better suited for a low-carb approach.
1. Have 3 cups a day
Have you heard about the coffee diet?
It's a weight-loss diet popularized by Dr. Bob Arnot who believes that coffee paired with a low-calorie diet can help you lose weight.
He suggests a minimum of three cups (around 700 ml) of decaf or caffeinated coffee a day. Preferably it should be lightly roasted, whole bean coffee without sugar or cream.
Dr. Arnot attributes the slimming effects of coffee to its antioxidants, which are abundant and more available in lightly roasted, dark coffee.
Please bear in mind that you may experience weight loss due to the lower number of calories, and not just because of the coffee itself.
You'll also need to follow a low-calorie, low-fat eating plan and drink one green smoothie a day in place of a meal.
“The trending coffee diets promote drinking coffee along with caloric restriction and while they may cause short term weight loss, the results will not likely be sustainable.”
Dr. Arnot believes that more than three cups are perfectly fine. However, too much coffee can cause side effects, especially when caffeinated. That's why experts recommend not consuming more than four cups of coffee a day, or 400 milligrams of caffeine, to avoid migraines, insomnia, an upset stomach, and/or rapid heartbeat .
2. Drink coffee before meals
Coffee is only a mild and short-lived appetite suppressant but drinking it right before a meal can make a difference.
Studies found that coffee drank 3-4.5 hours before mealtime doesn't have much of an effect on the amount of food someone eats . However, when people drink coffee shortly before mealtime, a low appetite becomes more noticeable.
If you're wondering why coffee makes people eat less, unfortunately, we don't know either. Coffee's effects on appetite are a bit of a mystery.
3. Go for plain coffee
A frappuccino a day is not going to keep weight gain at bay. Just one cup of mocha frappuccino blended coffee can pack 290 calories, most coming from sugar.
Other coffee-based drinks will also have calories in them. For instance, about 400 mL of a cafe latte (with milk and sugar) has 190 calories.
Instead, go for plain, black coffee without sugar. It contains zero calories and all the fat-burning compounds behind coffee's slimming effects. If you must have dairy in your coffee, consider an espresso macchiato, which only has 15 calories.
Registered Keto Dietician Lotte Damen offers her opinion:
Whether black coffee can help you lose weight, is not a question with a one-size-fits all answer. In the short run, caffeine is likely to boost your energy levels, metabolic rate and therefore help you burn body fat. However, in the long run, it is possible that you become tolerant to these effects and don't experience them any longer.
4. Add it to your keto diet
If you're following or want to follow a keto diet, coffee can definitely help.
The keto diet promotes weight loss differently than other weight-loss plans. By restricting carbs, this diet forces the body to start relying on fat for energy. In the process, your body's fat-burning potential is upregulated.
Being a high-fat diet, it's best to add extra cream, butter, and even coconut oil to your coffee to get better results. If you're already a keto dieter, try out these 7 keto coffee drinks to get the benefits of caffeine and added fats.
5. Make keto coffee
Another option is to make keto coffee or Bulletproof coffee.
In case you haven’t heard, it’s a concoction of coffee, butter, MCT oil, and/or coconut oil originally developed by Dave Asprey, biohacker, entrepreneur, and founder of Bulletproof Nutrition Inc.
There are different reasons to drink keto coffee, one of which is for weight loss. Keep in mind that you experience weight loss if you’re already following a keto regimen. Also, keto coffee should not replace a nutrient-dense breakfast.
There are also many different ways to make it, but all include adding fat to your favorite drink. The promise here is that the combination of caffeine and ketogenic fats will increase energy levels and help dieters stay in ketosis.
If you haven't tried this on your keto journey, it’s worth considering.
But if you're not in ketosis, go for plain coffee to avoid adding too many calories to your daily meal plan.