Caffeine a Metabolism Booster?

February 05, 2013

The caffeine is one of the world's most studied elements, and it has definitely received mixed reviews. Find out one of the possible benefits here

The caffeine in coffee is one of the world's most studied elements, and it has definitely received mixed reviews. A central nervous system stimulant, caffeine may act as an appetite suppressant and increase your body's ability to burn calories by stimulating thermogenesis, the process of generating heat and energy from digesting food, according to the Mayo Clinic. It helps boost metabolism and promote fat breakdown, rather than the loss of muscle mass.

We all know that the best path to weight loss is to eat well (plenty of fruits, vegetables and fiber), regular exercise, proper rest, stress management, and patience! However, modest amounts of coffee work well to keep the mind alert, the body revved up, and when we use that energy to exercise more and do it more frequently, weight loss can occur.

When studies reveal that one to three cups of coffee can aid weight loss, it comes with a caveat: plain coffee, no sugar or cream. And, certainly, not lattes and cappuccinos, no coffee drinks with sugary syrups, and no 500 to 700 calorie donuts or scones to go with the coffee.

Caffeine does indeed give you more energy for a more demanding workout that lasts longer, enabling you to burn more calories. Consuming caffeine prior to aerobic exercise can help toward weight loss, because it reduces fat-cell size and decreases fat-storing tissue weight through a process called thermogensis. In both lean and previously overweight individuals, 100 mg of caffeine has been shown to increase resting metabolic rate by three to four percent.

Caffeine is also an effective ergogenic aid to enhance exercise performance. Exercise physiologist, David Costill, Ph.D., first reported on the positive relationship between caffeine and exercise in the ‘80s. Following the ingestion of caffeine, the subjects were able to perform an average of 90 minutes of cycling as compared to an average of 76 minutes in the placebo trial. Subjects burned a greater amount of fat (lipolysis) as shown by measurements of plasma free fatty acids, glycerol and respiratory exchange ratios. Fat oxidation or burning was significantly higher (107% greater) during the caffeine trial (118 g or 1.31 g/min) than in the placebo trial (57 g or 0.75 g/min).

In light of this research, SupermarketGuru still suggests you go easy on the caffeine and listen to your body. The effects of stimulants vary person to person – and what could be helpful for some, may be detrimental for others.