The Myth of Coffee and Weight LossNovember 17, 2021
There is a myth being perpetrated by many diet pill companies that caffeine in their pills promotes weight loss. The reasons for this includes things like giving more energy so you can exercise, that the caffeine suppresses appetite and in the case of regular coffee and weight loss, that the drink stimulates thermogenesis, the process by which we burn more calories to stay warm. For the most part, these claims are myths and dreams; caffeine does not promote weight loss in any appreciable manner and indeed, may increase weight gain.
The Two Main Problems with Coffee and Weight Loss
There are two main reasons why coffee and losing weight do not go hand in hand. First of all, coffee works by interrupting adenosine, a chemical in the brain that promotes calmness. This is what makes us ‘wired’. However, this process also spikes blood sugar and increases the activity of cortisol, a hormone which causes us to go into fight or flight mode and in the modern age, spike blood sugar and store fat. It also causes an energy crash which makes us reach for another coffee instead of for good food.
The second reason is that many people don’t drink the only coffee that won’t cause weight gain-that is, decaf or straight black coffee; they drink specialty coffees or at least load up on sugar and milk. This ramps up the caloric intake as well as your intake of sugars. Indeed, some of the specialty drinks have the same caloric value as chocolate bars or chunks of cake and you don’t eat those for breakfast! Tied to this is the fact that most people don’t just drink a coffee, particularly in social settings, they also have a muffin or a electric hand coffee grinder donut or something else sugary and fattening, so you get a double caloric whammy. Limit yourself to 3-4 cups of coffee a day and beware the coffee shops. One large coffee is 32 oz or four cups right there and when you start loading on the syrups, you’re in a sugar calorie problem.
Smaller Problems with Coffee and Weight Loss
There are not just the large problems with coffee and weight, but there are some little ones as well. These problems include the fact that coffee causes people to urinate more often, which in itself isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it can be if you don’t think to replace these fluids with something hydrating like water. If you don’t remember to drink other things, you will leech vitamins and minerals from your system and be dehydrated which causes headaches, fatigue, and lack of concentration, all of which drives you to the coffee!
Another problem is that many coffee beans are saturated with pesticides and herbicides which are detrimental to your health. Try to buy organic coffee whenever you can to avoid this problem.
Coffee and weight loss are also problematic because caffeine is an addictive substance and withdrawal symptoms are uncomfortable, making it harder for people to drop this habit if they are trying to clean up their diet. Coffee’s ability to keep you artificially energized also makes it impossible to tell which foods are actually giving you energy and which foods aren’t, making it harder to cater your diet to have the right foods for your needs.
Coffee and weight loss may not go hand in hand, but in moderation, coffee is pretty harmless. Try to limit your intake of specialty drinks and have more coffee straight black or with skim milk and drink more green tea instead. You can alleviate some of the impact of coffee by drinking more water and making sure you are mindful of what you eat when you’re drinking coffee so that you’re not snacking on junk. Being careful and moderating your intake is about the best way to have your coffee and drink it too, so if you absolutely cannot bear the thought of giving it up, drink it with care instead and you should be all right in your diet goals. However, coffee and weight loss are not intrinsically tied at the hip, nor is caffeine and diets, so don’t fall for that myth.