Many people have rather complex relationships with coffee – some people need at least two cups to be able to function in the mornings, others will need to drink coffee throughout the day to stay focused and on track with their work whilst others will never drink a cup of coffee in their life.
But when it comes to coffee and weight loss, there are two distinctly different theories into how coffee can affect weight loss – some people believe that drinking coffee can boost weight loss efforts, whilst others firmly believe that cutting all coffee and caffeine out of your diet can help kick start your weight loss.
Those who believe coffee can have a positive impact on your weight loss say that one of the reasons that coffee can boost weight loss is due to its effect of increasing your body temperature. A higher body temperature causes your metabolism to work harder, thus speeding up the time it takes your body to process fat and calories.
Other specialists believe that caffeine itself will increase your metabolism – however, there are many other foods that can speed up your metabolism that will not cause any side effects in the same way that caffeine might.
Other recent studies suggest that coffee can accelerate your body’s fat distribution, where the fat in your body is broken down and dispersed, meaning that the coffee could help your body to process fat more easily.
Another reason that some people believe coffee is a weight loss aid is that it has been linked to suppressing your appetite, meaning that if you have a cup of coffee mid-morning, you could steer clear of snacks until it’s time for lunch.
Those who believe coffee can have a negative impact on your weight loss say that one of the reasons that coffee can cause problems with your weight loss efforts is because drinking too much of it can cause lethargy, irritability and grumpiness.
Coffee is a stimulant, and because it’s a stimulant it can make you feel edgy and wired in situations where you would rather feel calm and in control. This edgy feeling can mean that you reach for the snack cupboard.
Coffee is also intrinsically linked to situations that involve eating; for example, coffee shops offer all sorts of cakes, biscuits and bars and many people will pick up such a snack when they pick up their coffee. Coffee is also often served up with fast-food breakfasts, and because of this, you could find yourself craving these types of foods when you drink coffee – thus thwarting your weight loss efforts.
Coffee is also known to play havoc with your blood sugar. You may not know this, but the body actually goes into shock response when you drink coffee, and this shock response involves the release of sugar into the blood ready to be used as fuel by the muscles before a fight or flight response.
Because no such fight or flight response will happen nowadays, instead you are stuck with being on edge for a couple of hours before sugar cravings kick in – which will again have you reaching for the snack cupboard.
Despite the fact that coffee may supress the appetite in the short run, most people find that coffee causes more cravings over the course of the day than it does supress them.
It’s also unwise to drink coffee purely to increase your body temperature to kick start your metabolism – for a healthier hot drink that will not cause spikes in your blood sugar and thus cravings, try herbal fruit tea or green tea. Peppermint tea is also a good choice, as is low-calorie hot chocolate.
So our advice is to take a balanced approach and although it is a stimulant and and can bring on sugar cravings, one a day shouldn’t hurt and if you need one have one – just don’t have the creamy versions. And also remember if you are breastfeeding too much caffeine can make your baby irritable and not able to sleep.
And all the coffee lovers will be pleased to know that on our 28 Day Breastfeeeding Friendly Diet & Exercise Plan we do allow a Latte on the plan