Caffeine for fat loss; the great debate ?

The great caffeine debate. Well i’m not sure there is even a debate but there is certainly loads of contradictory information flying around with respect to caffeine consumption and weight loss. Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant found in coffee (around 40-160mg per cup), tea (10-60mg per cup), cola (43-65mg per cup) and chocolate (up to 50mg per average bar) which acts to alter mood, alertness, concentration and general cognitive function. Coffee is probably the most widely used psychoactive substance in the world with many people habitually consuming several cups a day in the belief that it will give them a mental or physical boost!

Caffeine also has a possible role to play in weight management and especially fat loss. Studies have indicated that caffeine encourages increased fat metabolism by releasing more fatty acids into the bloodstream resulting in a sparing of glycogen which means you will be able to exercise for longer. In fact consumption of caffeine prior to exercise may also have a masking effect, tricking the central nervous system into ignoring initial signals of fatigue, which means that you can exercise for longer. Brilliant !

So how much exactly ?

Well estimations are that consuming around 5-6 cups of coffee per day will result in you burning 100kcal extra a day, equivalent to 10 and a half pounds (5kg) per year.

Is that safe ?

There is a conception that caffeine acts as a diuretic causing dehydration, this however does not seem to be entirely true with everyone. Caffeine like any other drink (including water) if consumed in large quantities will act as a diuretic.

However consuming moderate amounts (4-5 cups of instant coffee per day, up to 300mg) seems safe.

Some people however may be hyper sensitive to the effects of caffeine and some will not, it is important to remember everyone reacts differently. It may be that caffeine has no effect at all on you or conversely it may have a huge effect.

There are some caveats though when considering upping the consumption of caffeine. Pregnant women may be at more risk to giving birth to an underweight baby or miscarriage with excessive consumption and caffeine may result in caffeine-induced hypertension in those hyper-sensitive types. If in doubt always consult your GP.

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