Can Caffeine Help You Lose Weight?
When it comes to losing weight, many people are willing to try just about anything. You may have heard rumours that upping your caffeine intake can help you shed unwanted kilos by increasing your metabolism. However, the truth is that no evidence points to this. It’s possible that caffeine may give you a temporary energy boost that makes it easier to convince yourself to put on your running shoes and head outside or to the gym, but the studies that have been done do not show a link between caffeine consumption and significant or permanent weight loss.
You can find caffeine in various beverages such as coffee and tea, soft drinks and energy drinks; in chocolate or products containing chocolate or cocoa; and in a range of dietary supplements (including weight loss supplements).
Theories about how caffeine might help with weight loss abound. One popular opinion is that caffeine is an appetite suppressant that reduces feelings of hunger and temporarily dampens your desire to eat. Another theory says that caffeine causes your body to burn calories at a higher rate even when you’re at rest. However, neither of these theories has been proven to have a significant enough effect to result in lasting weight loss.
The studies that do show a link have been questionable; they tend to be of poor quality or use animals as subjects (not humans). The results of such studies are dubious or challenging to translate to human results. Also, a few of these studies concluded that even decaf coffee had a positive effect on minor weight loss, suggesting that caffeine wasn’t the substance that contributed to the weight loss at all.
The bottom line is that you should use extreme caution when considering caffeine supplements to help with weight loss. A moderate amount is generally considered safe, but too much can lead to serious health problems including anxiety, insomnia, nausea, hypertension, and more. Another problem is that many of the beverages that contain caffeine, such as specialty coffees, can be high in fat and calories, causing you to gain instead of lose weight.
There’s no shortage of rumours and half-truths about things that supposedly make weight loss easier, but there’s one thing that has been scientifically proven to work: consuming fewer calories than you expend. Your best bet is sticking to a healthy diet of natural, whole foods and increasing your energy intake for steady and permanent weight loss.