Disclosure 1: I drink coffee. All that means is that the answer to our research question-does coffee burn fat or does coffee make you fat-may be biased.
As a short side note, many people aren’t wondering whether coffee makes you fat or burns fat, but instead, whether coffee’s caffeine burns fat or whether coffee’s caffeine does not burn fat. I might switch between the two throughout the article, but just know that I consider both the same for this writing. I will likely not mention decaffeinated coffee in this article.
Coffee is a controversial subject area within the fields of health, diet, and fitness. There are people who say you should never drink any coffee! Then, there are people who say coffee makes them skinnier, richer, and happier (a little exaggeration).
I don’t like to be on the extreme in any issue, especially with the issue of coffee or caffeine making you fat or burning fat. I personally like a strong cup or two of black coffee in the morning and that is usually it for the day (trying to play that off like it is a small amount ).
[Fun fact: The term "Americano", which is basically an espresso with enough added water to weaken the taste and make a full cup of coffee, was created during WW2 when American soldiers couldn't drink the European Espresso because of the powerful taste but still wanted their dose of caffeine.]
For self-entertainment purposes, support for coffee will be labeled “Coffee Burns Fat” and anti-coffee material will be labeled “Coffee Makes you Fat”.
Coffee Burns Fat: A key point that many on this side bring up is the unofficial study of caffeine/coffee consumption by the entire population. For instance, the Italians and many other European nations have consumed caffeine and coffee for long periods of time, and they are supposedly skinnier and healthier than Americans. This could also be due to many other factors though.
Additionally, coffee and its caffeine contains near zero calories. As you might infer, it’s hard to understand how something with zero or near zero calories could lead to weight gain.
Coffee Makes you Fat: The key point here is that coffee makes you fat through hormonal changes. The rise in cortisol/adrenaline stresses the adrenal glands to the point where high cortisol levels damage metabolism. The adrenals have a relationship with organs and glands, including the Thyroid. And since the Thyroid contributes to the control over your metabolism, the excessive rise in adrenal hormones may not be a good thing. There’s a lot more to this side, as there always is with hormones.
To sum it up, too much caffeine, leads to too much physiological stress, which can result in weight gain, among other things.
The Middle: No science here, drink in moderation, and you may reap the benefits without the negatives.
Research on Coffee:
Going through that list of studies, there were just too many to post. So if you want to do some reading, click on the link directly above. The studies I’ve gone over all highlight the benefits of coffee consumption such as increased insulin sensitivity, decreased risk for cancers and death, decreased risk for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, increased fat mobilization and so on.
But, most of the studies were done with moderate amounts of coffee. What does that mean?
That means if you’re drinking 5-6 cups a day, I don’t have any studies telling me whether that’s bad or good. But from my own intuition, if you need coffee to stay awake or even just feel good, it might be time to take a break and focus on improving health. By improving health, you will increase energy and get a more restful sleep. That alone could fix your need for coffee.
I’ve gotten a little side-tract, so let’s get to the point, does coffee make you fat or does coffee burn fat?
Ways Coffee Burns Fat:
- Decreases appetite
- Increases focus and stimulation, taking mind off food
- Increases Adrenaline/Noradrenaline, which play a role in “Fat Burning” (really hate using that phrase sometimes)
- Increases energy, possibly improving likelihood for consumer to exercise
Ways Coffee Makes You Fat:
- Some people feel the need to eat sweets with coffee
- If you drink coffee with virtually anything besides coffee in it, you’re probably heading in the wrong direction, many of the holiday editions contain close to a hundred grams of sugar and 50 grams of fat.
- If coffee is just one of many stressors in your life, then yes, your adrenals will suffer, and consequently so might your Thyroid, metabolism, and other organs. But coffee isn’t the main cause here.
- If your expensive coffee consumption is taking up money you could be putting towards purchasing healthy food
Focus in on that third point in ways coffee makes you fat: If you’re getting little to no sleep, consuming a diet filled with sugar and chemicals, doing chronic cardio instead of exercising intelligently, and excessively stressing emotionally/mentally, then you should drop coffee.
Or keep coffee, and use that energy to solve the other 4 MAJOR problems I just listed.
Summary: Moderate consumption of coffee has been shown to have many health benefits, including accelerated weight loss. Key word: moderate. If I was someone who had some of the stressors listed above, I would be making some major changes, including decreasing or eliminating coffee consumption. If you become healthy, you’ll likely have a steadier flow of energy than with coffee.
So, coffee and caffeine can assist in weight loss.
Disclosure 2: I drank some coffee before writing this post.