July 13, 2016

Drink Coffee and Lose Weight? Here’s How.

According to legend, the energizing effects of coffee were first discovered by a goat-herder named Kaldi in the 9th Century.


Kaldi’s goats were bursting with energy after eating delicious red berries from the Coffea arabica tree so Kaldi gave it a try for himself and soon he was as hyper as the goats.


When religious leaders got wind of this, they threw the devil beans onto the fire to eradicate them, but the smell of the roasting beans was just so amazing even they couldn’t resist. So, instead they decided to put them in warm water, just like tea…and coffee was born!


Today, more than 500 billion cups of coffee are consumed each year and it is a 100 billion dollar a year industry.


With all this popularity, how does coffee measure up when it comes to weight loss?


Because according to conventional wisdom, if you’re trying to lose weight you should really lose the java too.


Now I don’t know about you, but I do know that giving up that morning rocket fuel, the caffeine infusion, the brain juice, that good ‘ol steaming cuppa joe might be a deal breaker for many! So is it necessary?


Well, what it really comes down to is a hormone in our body called cortisol. Cortisol is a stress related hormone that regulates the following body functions:


  • Blood Pressure
  • Glucose metabolism
  • Insulin release
  • Immune function
  • Inflammatory responses


Quick “bursts” of cortisol can have some really positive effects on our body like heightened memory and immunity, bursts of energy for survival, and lower sensitivity to pain.


But it’s a fine line because when your cortisol is too high for a long period of time it can start to have some not so good effects on your body, including:


  • Weight gain
  • Carbohydrate cravings
  • Not sleeping well
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Lower immunity (get sick more often)
  • Gut problems (nausea, heartburn, cramps, diarrhea)


So, what does this have to do with coffee, you might ask?


Well, the consumption of coffee (or any type of caffeine for that matter) actually triggers a cortisol release, which is why it makes you feel so alert.


This leads us to the very important question of: can you drink coffee while trying to lose weight?


And, the answer is mostly yes (with some conditions) but it depends on you…read on…


IF you have low stress and lower levels of cortisol, you can absolutely keep coffee in your diet and lose weight if you keep your consumption to 1-2 cups in the morning. In fact, coffee can even act as an effective pre-workout supplement for the right person.


Coffee really only becomes a problem, negatively affecting your hormone balance and causing the harmful effects described above:


  • If you already have high stress and high cortisol levels to begin with, or
  • If you consume it in large quantities, late into the day, or directly after training as you will supercharge your cortisol levels.


But wait a second there ‘Mr. Triple Triple’ or ‘Ms. Double Double Plus a Shot of Mocha’… we’re not quite done. Because it’s not necessarily the caffeine or the coffee that causes weight issues now is it?


Coffee additives (cream, sugar, and sweetener) can have a big impact on your ability to lose weight too. So you need to keep that in mind. After all, Kaldi and the goats were probably able to binge coffee beans and maintain their figures because they didn’t also add 10 shots of syrup (and they walked A LOT)….just sayin’.


So, do you need to give up your morning coffee if you’re trying to lose weight?


Probably not!


Although coffee can negatively affect some people, the majority of the weight loss focused population can succeed with daily coffee intake.


The key here is to listen to your body, understand how stress is affecting you, keep the creamers to a minimum, and avoid the sugars and sweeteners as much as possible.


If you do all these things, it’s likely just fine to wake up and smell the coffee each day.

Now, tell me…what is your coffee ritual? And how does coffee affect you when you’re stressed?