Is Coffee Good For Your Health?
Coffee has become a ubiquitous part of almost all of our lives, but it is really good for our health? Coffee is one of the most popular drinks in the world, with almost 2 billion cups consumed internationally every day. With 95 million cups drank in the UK each day, have you considered what the health benefits and drawbacks to coffee really are?
Is Coffee a Fat Burner?
There have been several scientific studies in mice, humans, and cells in dishes that suggest that caffeine can aid in the metabolism of fat in brown adipose tissue. Humans have two types of cells in which fat is stored: white adipose tissue and brown adipose tissue. In white adipose tissue, fat is stored in one single droplet. In brown adipose tissue, however, many smaller oily droplets are stored along with numerous mitochondria, which are the parts of cells that generate energy and heat.
As we age, brown adipose tissue fades away and becomes replaced predominately by white adipose tissue. That is not to say that we lose all of our brown adipose tissue completely, however. In these scientific studies, participants that drank a caffeinated drink during exercise as compared to drinking only water generated much more heat. Generating more heat suggests the breaking down of brown adipose tissue. While this is not conclusive evidence that coffee or caffeine can help you to lose fat, it does suggest the possibility that it can do so.
All this is to say that caffeine stimulates thermogenesis in your body, which is the process by which you body generates heat and energy from digesting food. By stimulating thermogenesis, of course some fat will be burned, but caffeine is in no way a permanent or particularly healthy way to lose weight and keep it off.
So, why then do so many people anecdotally claim that coffee or caffeine has helped them to lose weight? The answer may lie in caffeine's psychological effects instead of its chemical and biological properties. In moderation, caffeine in coffee can suppress your appetite, so that you are eating less than you normally would. In this way, caffeine is not directly doing anything to burn fat, but your body is burning fat anyway because you are not eating.
Can Coffee Help Lose Belly Fat?
Today, the wellness industry and online marketplaces have taken advantage of these numerous fat burning scientific studies to sell caffeine supplements and other caffeine products to help their customers lose weight.
The hard truth is that there is no conclusive evidence that caffeine or coffee will help you to lose fat, especially belly fat. Some contradictory studies have even suggested that decaffeinated coffee may be more effective at burning fat that caffeinated coffee is, however the jury is still out on whether drinking coffee consistently can help you to burn fat.
If you like your daily cup or two of coffee, however, you should not feel the need to give it up. When used in moderation by healthy people, caffeine is safe. Consume less than 400 mg every day and you should see no adverse side effects (the average cup of coffee contains about 100 mg of caffeine).
If you consume too much caffeine, however, you may start to notice adverse side effects such as anxiousness, nausea, insomnia, and increased blood pressure. Stick to less than three cups of coffee per day and you should continue to reap the benefits of caffeine and avoid some of the side effects that can come with its over consumption.
Can Coffee Make You Gain Belly Fat?
While caffeine may not make you gain any belly fat, speciality coffee beverages can definitely do so. Coffee drinks like sugary lattes and high in fat frappuccinos can definitely contribute to fat weight gain because of the additives in them, not because of their caffeine content. Added sugars and fat can definitely make you gain weight so if you drink too many of these speciality drinks, you may notice weight gain, not weight loss.
All in all, moderate caffeine consumption may aid in reducing fat, but it is in no way a cure-all or a weight loss secret. There is no scientific evidence that caffeine aids in dramatic fat burning, nor does it seem to cause people to gain fat if it is consumed on a regular basis. If you enjoy daily coffees or the occasional speciality sugary drink, you should really not notice a difference in your weight. When caffeine is consumed in coffee in moderation, it can be incorporated into a very healthy lifestyle.
Make certain that you do not fall prey to seductive online advertisements for caffeine supplements that can aid in weight loss or other similar products. At their best, they will not help you lose weight and at their worst, they could actually affect your health in an adverse way.