How much caffeine should you be consuming each day? This complete guide will outline the right amount of caffeine for weight loss. Part of the theory behind weight loss is that you don’t want your body to produce more insulin than necessary. Caffeine stimulates your central nervous system and affects your adrenal glands. It also supports thermogenesis, which is vital to losing weight.
How To Stop Drinking Too Much Of Caffeine?
A sudden abrupt decrease in drinking coffee may cause withdrawal symptoms, such as fatigue, headaches, difficulty in focusing on tasks, and irritability. Follow the below tips to cut back on drinking too much of caffeine:
1. Keep tabs – Keep a tab on how many cups of coffee you are drinking daily. As due to work commitments, you may tend to miss out on how many cups of coffee you have drunk.
2. Cut back gradually – Drink a smaller cup of coffee each day and avoid drinking caffeinated beverages later in the day.
3. Go Decaf – Most of the decaffeinated beverages look and taste the same as caffeine drinks. So you could start having decaffeinated beverages.
4. Shorten the brew time or go herbal – While making tea brew it for a less time as this aids in cutting down the caffeine content. Or you may also choose herbal teas that don’t contain caffeine.
Caffeine and Weight-loss
Caffeine’s reputation as a weight-loss aid comes from its status as a stimulant and a substance that enhances physical performance. A 1979 study showed a 7 percent increase in distance cycled over two hours among subjects who consumed caffeine versus those who did not. In another study among trained runners, those who consumed caffeine showed a 44 percent increase in race-pace endurance compared to those who did not.
Some research has suggested that caffeine may stimulate thermogenesis – a scientific name for the way your body generates heat and energy from the calories in your food; but nutrition experts say that this effect probably isn’t enough to produce significant weight-loss. Caffeine may also reduce your desire to eat for a brief time, but again, there’s no good evidence over the long-term that this effect leads to weight-loss. To date, no conclusive clinical studies have been done to determine the long-term effect of caffeine on weight loss, and the smaller studies that have been done show a lot of variability in the outcomes.
At present, even though caffeine may have a small effect on energy and appetite that could lead to some positive short-term effects on your energy balance, there’s no evidence that it can actually cause you to lose weight. On the other side of the equation, excessive caffeine consumption clearly can be harmful.
One must also consider the known risks represented by other performance-enhancing products, which may be combined with caffeine in dietary supplements promoted for weight-loss. Ephedra, for example, is an ergogenic whose side effects include heart attack, stroke and death. It was banned by the FDA in 2004. In November 2011, the FDA, after a year-long review, told the manufacturers of seven caffeinated alcohol drinks that their products pose a public health concern and cannot stay on the market in current form. Other dietary supplement weight-loss aids such as bitter orange, capsicum and ginger make claims about energy and/or weight-loss, but have not been reviewed or approved by the FDA.
Curbing your caffeine habit
Whether it’s for one of the reasons above or because you want to trim your spending on coffee drinks, cutting back on caffeine can be challenging. An abrupt decrease in caffeine may cause withdrawal symptoms, such as headaches, fatigue, irritability and difficulty focusing on tasks. Fortunately, these symptoms are usually mild and get better after a few days.
To change your caffeine habit, try these tips:
- Keep tabs. Start paying attention to how much caffeine you’re getting from foods and beverages, including energy drinks. Read labels carefully. But remember that your estimate may be a little low because some foods or drinks that contain caffeine don’t list it.
- Cut back gradually. For example, drink one fewer can of soda or drink a smaller cup of coffee each day. Or avoid drinking caffeinated beverages late in the day. This will help your body get used to the lower levels of caffeine and lessen potential withdrawal effects.
- Go decaf. Most decaffeinated beverages look and taste much the same as their caffeinated counterparts.
- Shorten the brew time or go herbal. When making tea, brew it for less time. This cuts down on its caffeine content. Or choose herbal teas that don’t have caffeine.
- Check the bottle. Some over-the-counter pain relievers contain caffeine. Look for caffeine-free pain relievers instead
THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT CAFFEINE AND WEIGHT LOSS
Caffeine is a staple ingredient in “fat-burning” or “weight-loss” supplements and it’s the darling of all the intermittent fasters who drink coffee (with or without butter) instead of breakfast.
Research seems to back this up: consuming more caffeine is associated with greater weight loss and better maintenance of weight loss. It’s also associated with lower risk of diabetes.
But how does it work? How much is best, and what are the caveats? Whether you’re getting it from caffeine pills, green tea, supplements, coffee, or energy drinks, here’s a look at 5 things you should know about caffeine, weight, and weight loss.
This is about caffeine, not just coffee. You can have coffee without caffeine (decaf) and caffeine without coffee (tea, caffeine pills, Red Bull, soda…). Coffee as a whole food does have other components, like antioxidants, that might be helpful for weight loss completely apart from the caffeine. We’ve covered all of those things here for the curious. But this post is strictly about the caffeine, no matter where you get it from.
1. Caffeine does speed metabolism…but not by all that much.
This meta-analysis found that caffeine alone increased calorie burn by about 1 calorie per mg of caffeine, up to roughly 100 calories per day. That’s about the calories in an egg and a half, or 1 tbsp. of butter. It’s just not that much food.
Unless you combine it with ephedrine, caffeine alone doesn’t have a very powerful metabolism-boosting effect. And ephedrine-containing supplements are illegal in the US because they’re way too dangerous for people to use outside of strictly monitored and controlled lab doses.
So far, researchers haven’t found a way to speed up the human metabolism by a whole lot without putting the person in danger. There are only so many calories any one body needs to burn! You can force someone’s body to burn more calories by making someone’s heart beat faster or raising their body temperature, but after a certain point, that starts being dangerous, and it seems to hit “dangerous” well before it burns through a lot of calories.
So to the extent that caffeine has significant effects on weight loss, it’s probably not by burning a lot of calories.
2. Caffeine reduces perceived exertion during exercise
“Perceived exertion” is how hard you feel like you’re working.
In this paper, subjects did 60 minutes of cycling. People who got caffeine beforehand enjoyed the exercise more and felt like it was less difficult than people who got a placebo. The dose was 3 milligrams of caffeine per kilogram of bodyweight (3mg/kg):
|Your weight (pounds)||Your weight (kilograms)||Your dose of caffeine, at 3 mg/kg|
|100 lbs||45 kg||136 mg|
|125 lbs||57 kg||170 mg|
|150 lbs||68 kg||204 mg|
|175 lbs||79 kg||237 mg|
|200 lbs||90 kg||270 mg|
|225 lbs||102 kg||306 mg|
Some other studies finding that caffeine reduces perceived exertion: this one in judo athletes and this one, which confirmed that the effect holds true even in experienced athletes.
Exercise is great for weight loss even though it doesn’t burn a lot of calories – if you struggle to enjoy exercise or if it always feels obnoxiously hard, caffeine might be the little bump you need to get going and make it happen.
3. Caffeine increases fat burning during exercise
Caffeine doesn’t cause you to burn a lot more calories from a workout. But it does shift your calorie burn to use more fat.
When you work out, your body burns a certain number of calories. Those calories can come from either stored carbs or stored fat. The harder you work, the more carbs and the less fat you burn as a percentage of your total calories.
This study found that consuming 3 mg of caffeine per kilogram of bodyweight (that’s the same amount as in the table above) shifted calorie burn more towards fat and increased the maximal rate of fat burning relative to carb burning. Instead of burning through stored carbohydrates, people who took caffeine before exercise burned through more stored fat.
Is that good? Well, it depends on what you want! If you’re on a low-carb diet and you want to do intense exercise, it could be really great because it’ll help your body use fat for energy and not throw a temper tantrum about not having enough carbs. It may also be helpful for endurance athletes who want to become more fat-adapted. In other words, it can help you be a better exerciser, which is good for weight loss and just for general health.
4. Caffeine may help prevent weight regain after weight loss.
Caffeine supplements taken by themselves, without any diet/exercise changes, don’t cause weight loss, according to this systematic review.
But on the other hand, this study found that caffeine prevented women from regaining weight after they lost it. That’s huge – most people can lose weight fine but then they can’t maintain the loss; they just regain it all and frequently gain more weight on top of that. These researchers first put 60 women on a diet. 30 got caffeine (5 mg/kg per day) and 30 didn’t. They ate the diet for 6 weeks. After that, they were studied for a month of maintenance. The women who got the caffeine kept losing weight at a very slow rate, while the women who didn’t get caffeine regained around 0.75 kilograms (just under 2 lbs pounds) in a month.
Worth noting: this is a very short study and it’s just one study! Also, you might need to get a relatively high amount of caffeine for this to work: this study, which used only 100 mg of caffeine per day, didn’t show the same benefits.
Side effects of too much caffeine
Of course, caffeine isn’t all terrible. As a stimulant, caffeine can boost your energy, improve physical and mental performance and even help you burn fat.
But more isn’t always better. Over-caffeinating can lead to side effects that can be unpleasant and even unsafe, including:
If you had a rough night’s sleep, you might reach for coffee to help get through the next day. Trouble is, too much of it can keep you up the following night. “It becomes a vicious cycle,” Czerwony says.
To avoid disrupting your precious slumber, skip caffeine in the afternoon and evening.
“Caffeine excites your central nervous system,” Czerwony explains. “That can result in feeling anxious, jittery and irritable.”
Cutting back on caffeine can help keep those side effects in check. But if you have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, you might want to avoid caffeine altogether.
Heart palpitations and racing heart
Lots of people experience heart palpitations along with anxiety. Caffeine can make both worse.
Heart palpitations can make you feel like your heart is racing, fluttering or skipping a beat. Though they aren’t usually dangerous, they can be alarming — a good reason to skip that double espresso.
Caffeine has a diuretic effect — aka, it makes you pee. Plus, if you’re sipping coffee all day, you’re probably not drinking enough water. To avoid becoming dehydrated, make sure to drink plenty of water along with any caffeinated beverages.
High blood pressure
Some research shows that caffeine can cause mild increases in heart rate and blood pressure. In people who already have high blood pressure or other heart problems, that increase could spell trouble.
Heartburn and stomach upset
“Caffeine can aggravate the production of stomach acid,” Czerwony says. The result: uncomfortable heartburn symptoms.
Acids in coffee can add to the problem, but coffee isn’t the only culprit. Caffeine in soda and other sources can also trigger acid reflux. “Too much caffeine can cause stomach issues,” she adds.
Very high levels of caffeine can be dangerous. That’s one reason Czerwony recommends steering clear of energy drinks and energy shots, which can contain much more caffeine than a strong cup of coffee.
Weight loss supplements can also contain caffeine, and an overdose could cause serious — and potentially deadly — heart rhythm problems.
If you’re used to guzzling a lot of caffeine, your body can go through withdrawal when you stop. Skip your usual pot of coffee and you’ll probably be rewarded with a splitting headache.
Caffeine users can also experience rebound fatigue. Caffeine helps you feel awake in the short term. When it wears off, though, you might be hit with a wave of tiredness that’s even worse than you felt pre-coffee.
If you’re getting the idea that caffeine can have lots of different effects on your weight, you’re on the right track. And this is why people have been unable to prove that caffeine causes weight-loss.
While the chemistry of caffeine is clearly not simple, the evidence for caffeine in weight-loss is pretty weak when the potential for weight gain is considered. In short, if you indulge in a cup or two of coffee, tea or a caffeinated soft drink every day, enjoy; but don’t count on seeing any positive effect on your bathroom scale. And if you don’t really like the caffeine, you might be better off without it.