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Caffeine may help with weight loss…

September 9, 2011

Coffee is very controversial when it comes to weight loss. Some say that it can be of benefit to dieters, while others say that it can be detrimental to weight loss. Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, Hollywood’s most famous twins, are said to have attributed their high metabolisms to drinkingup to four Starbucks drinks a day. So what’s the bottom line?

Caffeine, which reportedly speeds up metabolism, is the most-active ingredient in many diet pills.

Caffeine breaks down fat, freeing fatty acids which are immediately burned. Conversion of fat to energy is about 30 percent more efficient when caffeine is consumed prior to exercise. Which brings up another caffeine caveat: The break-down, and the burning, occur only when you’re in action! Caffeine also decreases your perception of pain during exercise. This might explain why fitness competitors routinely down a cup of java right before exercise!

Caffeine also improves mental alertness and reduces your perception of fatigue. While the fat is being burned, the glycogen, glucose, and amino acids (blood sugars) are being reserved, so blood sugar levels remain higher for longer. Low blood sugar = hunger; high glucose staves starving. This is why coffee is popular among students and think-tankers. The brain functions exclusively on glucose, and it is said that higher blood sugar levels facilitate thinking.

The coffee research found that consumption of ground caffeinated coffee appeared to have an independent relationship with weight loss. The findings implied that the caffeine present in coffee may help people to decrease body weight. But no studies show any indication that weight loss from large amounts of caffeine is permanent or significant. There is also no documented evidence that increasing caffeine intake by itself can have any effect on weight loss. According to the scientists, older and younger men show a similar thermogenic response to caffeine ingestion, whereas older men show a smaller increase in fatty acid availability after a caffeine challenge. Caffeine intake in this study was assessed repeatedly every 2-4 years. The researchers found a lower mean weight gain in participants who increased their consumption of caffeine than in those who decreased their caffeine consumption. Scientist, David Costill, found that consuming 2 cups of coffee about 1 hour before a run can boost your endurance-possibly by encouraging your body to burn more fat and less glycogen for fuel.

A study conducted by the Canadian government found that soldiers who consumed caffeine in the 12 hours prior to a physical-fitness test not only were able to work out longer before becoming exhausted, but also consumed more oxygen while working out. The body’s oxygen requirements are directly related to the speed of your metabolism, so the more oxygen you use, the more calories you burn during exercise.

An excess of coffee increases urinary secretion. For some who are battling weight, diuretics may seem like friendly allies, but in reality, harsh diuretics like coffee may do more harm than good. When you urinate too often, you lose magnesium, potassium, sodium, and Vitamin B1.

Caffeine also stimulates the adrenal glands, which increases the body’s fight-or-flight response. This “fight or flight” response causes the body to release sugar into the blood as muscle fuel. If you don’t use this sugar, the sugar triggers a release of insulin. This leads to temporary signs of a condition called insulin resistance. As well as making weight loss more difficult, some experts believe that insulin resistance increases can your risk of both type II diabetes and heart disease.

If you want to lose weight, you have fundamentally two options, diet and exercise. It appears from the research conducted so far, that drinking small amounts of coffee may be beneficial to weight loss.

So go ahead and have that cup of coffee, just go easy on the extras. Bear in mind, that it is the cream and sugar that becomes fattening. Think of it this way, when you have a cup of coffee or tea with cream and two cubes of sugar, you are essentially eating a piece of chocolate cake every time, yikes!



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