How many cups of coffee a day to lose weight?

How many cups of coffee should I be drinking on my diet? Photo by i yunmai on Unsplash

In this post, I examine whether there is a definitive number of cups of coffee that should be drank daily, by people who are looking to lose weight.

Are there people out there who think that an exact number exists. Who are they?

In a wide ranging article I also look at the relationship between coffee and our metabolism and whether it causes bloating, whether iced coffee will make us fat and about caffeine’s ability to burn calories.

If coffee is part of your staple diet and you are interested in losing a bit of weight, then read on.

How many cups of coffee should I drink in a day to lose weight?

It’s no news to coffee lovers and dieters that coffee is an excellent weight loss agent and in just a few weeks of sticking to a healthy coffee diet you can start seeing some amazing results. 

Coffee helps you lose weight by increasing your metabolism and decreasing your appetite. But the confusion comes when you think of how many cups of coffee you need to drink in a day to shed those extra pounds. 

Three cups of coffee is an ideal number to drink in a day. Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

This brings us to the question; how many cups of coffee should I drink in a day to lose weight? If you’ve ever wondered about this, hold tight because you’ll find your answers in a jiffy. 

A healthy coffee diet involves that you drink several cups of coffee a day, alongside other healthy meals like grains, nuts, legumes, fruits and vegetables, while avoiding processed foods with high calorie content. 

According to the book “The Coffee Lover’s Diet” published by Dr Bob Arnot, drinking a minimum of 3 cups (720 ml) of black coffee a day will help lose weight fast. He also recommends you use light roast whole coffee beans and grind them yourself before every brew – because light roast coffee beans contain more polyphenol antioxidants than dark roast – and brew with filtered water.

For maximum weight loss results, Dr Arnot suggests that you replace one meal with homemade green smoothie rich in fibre. But if the prospect of loading your body with tonnes of caffeine from a daily intake of not less than 3 cups of black coffee puts you off, Dr Arnot recommends you switch to decaf. 

Though the coffee diet proposed by Dr Arnot is effective and you can start seeing impressive results after a few weeks, it has some not-so-nice downsides. The first one is the possibility of overloading your body with caffeine, and excess caffeine in the body system may lead to insomnia and depression. Secondly, studies have shown that our bodies have a way of becoming immune to the fat burning benefits of coffee and this happens when we drink it too much.

To reap the full benefits of coffee without any of the unpleasant downsides, nutritionist Sarah Flowers recommends drinking only 1 or 2 cups in a day and drinking it in the morning. This will prevent excessive caffeine intake, keep your system from becoming immune to the fat burning benefits of coffee and help you maintain a healthy waistline for a much longer time. 

Does iced coffee make you fat? 

Will drinking iced coffee make you fat? Photo by Linda Xu on Unsplash

If you’re favourite coffee drink is coffee on the rocks and you find yourself consuming several cups of this delicious beverage daily but you’re terrified of putting on extra pounds, so you’re wondering if you can continue enjoying it without worrying about getting fat.  

Well, you should know that merely pouring black coffee on ice and drinking it that way cannot make you fat. But if you prefer your iced coffee with cream, half and half and lots of sugar then you should be worried about gaining unnecessary weight. And it’s a lot worse if you get your iced coffee from coffee retailers.

A survey conducted by World Cancer Research Fund on the calorie content of iced coffees sold by popular some coffee retailers in Britain revealed that iced coffees contain no less than 450 calories and a Starbucks venti dark berry mocha frappuccino contains 561 calories. I’m sure you’ll agree that this is a lot of calories to take in from just one cup.

But this doesn’t mean you should completely give up this delicious beverage, and to be fair you can still drink iced coffee without gaining weight. Yes, that’s right. The problem with accumulating unhealthy fat from drinking iced coffee isn’t drinking the beverage itself but rather it depends on how often you drink it and whether you expend all those calories somehow or just let them pile up in your body.

If you don’t want to get fat from drinking iced coffee, then treat it as an occasional treat and drink it only once in a while. Alternatively you can drink it every now and then and hit the gym after each cup. An even better option is creating a special low-calorie iced coffee recipe at home, and instead of adding heavy cream and sugar you use a much lighter nonfat milk or a healthy sweetener.

How many calories does caffeine burn? 

Caffeine will increase your metabolic rate and stimulate fat loss. Photo by Meghan Holmes on Unsplash

For many decades now, coffee has been known to boost energy levels, increase metabolic rates and stimulate fat loss, many coffee lovers know this and I’m sure you do too. But do you know how this happens and how many calories caffeine burn in an hour? I’m guessing you don’t, so let’s find out…

A clinical study conducted on healthy individuals to find out their response to caffeine intake found that caffeine breaks down approximately 10 to 20 calories in an hour. And this depends on the amount of caffeine in your bloodstream, the higher the caffeine level the more calories get burned. 

When you drink a cup of coffee in the morning, the caffeine in the coffee stimulates your body to breakdown fats from your adipose tissues. Caffeine does this by triggering the secretion and release of energetic hormones like epinephrine and norepinephrine into your bloodstream.

These hormones cause fatty acids to be loosened from the adipose tissues and released into the bloodstream as molecules called free fatty acids, here these molecules are further broken down and used to produce energy. This way caffeine helps your body burn fat while increasing your energy level at the same time.

This process of breaking down the adipose tissue is called lipolysis. And when the fat molecules are released into the bloodstream, caffeine further hastens the rate at which they are used up and converted to energy. This is because caffeine speeds up metabolism. 

Have you ever heard the word “thermogenesis”? It’s the word scientists use to describe the rate at which the body uses up food to produce energy. In other words, the body’s metabolic rate. Caffeine increases thermogenesis. 

Even while you’re at rest, the body metabolizes food, this is called resting metabolic rate (RMR), and studies have shown that caffeine can increase RMR by 3 to 11%. Awesome, isn’t it?

Does coffee cause bloating and constipation?

If you drink too much coffee, it can leave you feeling bloated. Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels

Drinking several cups of coffee everyday comes with some perks but unfortunately it has some downsides too and one of them is stomach bloating. Yes, coffee can make your stomach bloated and drinking several cups can make it even worse.

If you’re used to consuming at least 2 cups of coffee everyday, you may have noticed that the beverage can make your stomach feel puffy, bloated and uncomfortable. This unpleasant effect of coffee is especially worse if the beverage is consumed on an empty stomach, but why does this happen?

Despite the fact that the caffeine in coffee can increase the levels of stomach acid which facilitates digestion, drinking coffee on an empty stomach can make the gastric juices irritate the gut lining thus causing bloating and discomfort

To make things even worse, coffee beans can overexcite the digestive tract and slow gastric emptying which can also lead to stomach bloating. And if you already have digestive issues, drinking coffee in large quantities of coffee may cause more bloating for you.

Another reason coffee can make you feel bloated is adding too much cream or milk to it. On their own, milk and cream can cause bloating because they contain lactose which some individuals find difficult to digest. Bloating is usually a result of indigestion, therefore any food or drink that’s difficult to digest can make your stomach feel bloated. 

So now we know coffee can make you feel bloated but can it also cause constipation?

Constipation is the result of very slow bowel movements causing stool to become dry and hard. Coffee isn’t responsible for that, because the caffeine it contains has laxative potential and can cause loose stool instead. Coffee can act as a laxative by stimulating the colon, and if you experience constipation after drinking coffee then you should check what you added to the beverage. 

Coffee has a number of side effects but constipation isn’t one of them. Bloating? Maybe. Constipation? No. 

Does coffee make you retain water?

Coffee is a diuretic- it drains your body of water instead of retaining it. Photo by Robert Lukeman on Unsplash

Coffee is mostly water and drinking it everyday can contribute to your daily fluid requirement but does it help your body retain water? Now, that’s a tricky question.

Actually drinking coffee and other caffeine-containing beverages can help you get rid  of excess water because they can act as diuretics by causing you to urinate more often. And if you usually consume lots of coffee, you may have observed that it makes you go to the restroom more often and some even say this can make you dehydrated –  by the way, this isn’t true.

Coffee can help you lose water weight by acting as a diuretic and making you pass urine more often, but this doesn’t mean it can dehydrate you. In fact, it does quite the opposite, it keeps you hydrated. 

A study conducted by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition on the potential of different beverages to affect hydration status by promoting longer-term fluid retention, compared the hydrating effects of beverages like coffee, orange juice, skimmed milk, lager beer, coke and many others. Interestingly skimmed milk was found to be one of the best hydrating beverages while coffee was one of the weakest. 

This study found that coffee can actually help you retain some fluid and keep you hydrated because a caffeine intake of less than 250 to 300mg is unlikely to have any measurable effect on urine output. The diuretic effect of coffee is more likely to be felt if the caffeine content exceeds 300mg. And if you ever thought coffee thought drinking coffee can make you dehydrated now is the time to banish that thought.

Even if you consume too much caffeine and as a result you find yourself frequenting the restroom, you can simply drink a glass of water or two to replenish whatever water you fear you may have lost. 

So, does coffee help you retain water? Absolutely.  

Does coffee slow down your metabolism?

Coffee in no way slows down your metabolism. Photo by Pascal van de Vendel on Unsplash

Coffee has a number of amazing benefits, from increasing your energy level, improving cognition, to helping you maintain a healthy waist line and even lowering the risk of many inflammatory diseases – thanks to the high level of caffeine it contains. Coffee is indeed an awesome drink and it has even been classified as a superfood.  

Coffee can help you burn fat and maintain a healthy weight, it does this by prompting the body to use up more calories – even while you’re at rest, so instead of slowing down your metabolism it actually increases it. 

The effect of coffee on the body’s metabolic rate has been studied time and again by science in different research works and each time the result has been positive. Coffee boosts your rate of metabolism – even when you’re at rest – no argument there. 

This increase in the body’s metabolism is mostly experienced when you drink black coffee, and the addition of certain things to your coffee drink can neutralize this effect of coffee and even slow down your metabolism

Many coffee lovers find black coffee unpleasant and therefore tend to add different things to make the beverage a lot tastier, this may not be the best because by adding some of these things you may reduce the wonderful benefits of the beverage, making it less healthy. 

Adding artificial sweeteners and some non-dairy creamers to your coffee drink can make you feel dazed and fatigued, this can slow you down both mentally and physically which isn’t what coffee is known for. Some very popular non-dairy creamers have ingredients like corn syrup and vegetable oil, which do not sustain steady energy. 

Coffee is a healthy addition to your diet and drinking one or two cups daily is a good way to reap its rich benefits but you do not want to sabotage this by mixing unhealthy creamers and artificial flavours to it. So beware of what you add to daily cup of joe.

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