Does Caffeine Help You Lose Weight?

The headlines say it all really: the humble caffeine has been proven to increase exercise stamina, boost your brainpower, improve your sex life, and help you lose weight. Does caffeine really help you lose weight?

Let’s find out…

Increased Exercise Stamina

If you’re looking for a way to shed those extra pounds, consider working out more often. And while there are no bad exercises, occasional long sessions can leave you drained. Caffeine, when ingested before or during exercise, has been found to increase your exercise stamina.

In one study, individuals consumed 200 mg of caffeine or a placebo before taking on a 45-minute cycling task. Those who ingested caffeine were able to sustain their exercise longer than those who didn’t (2.2 vs. 1.7 hours, respectively).

In another study, cyclists performed a 30-minute cycling task either with or without caffeine. After the exercise, those who had caffeine courser muscle fiber than those who didn’t. Moreover, those who took caffeine before the exercise performed better on the cycle than those who took it after (6.65 vs. 5.75 watts, respectively).

Boosted Brainpower

Caffeine is a well-known neurotoxin, but the effects are usually favorable. Excessive caffeine intake, though, can cause your brain to become less sensitive to insulin, which in turn may cause memory loss and cognitive dysfunction. Caffeine also interferes with the body’s natural production of adenosine, which is responsible for causing your body to feel sleepy. Your daily caffeine intake should thus be kept under 30 mg to avoid these risks.

In one study, participants took 200 mg of caffeine or a placebo before performing a series of mental tasks. Those who consumed caffeine had better performance on all of the tasks (numerical estimation, digit backward, digit forward, and visual recall).

In another study, those who took caffeine before a cognitive test showed improved performance (1.7% increase in verbal fluency, 13.6% increase in digit backward, and 10.3% increase in visual attention). While it’s great that caffeine can improve your mental faculties, it also means that it’s probably not a good idea to do your math exercises or look up phone numbers when you’re feeling hyper. Keep those tasks for when you’re feeling tired or low on energy, and enjoy the benefits of caffeine while you can.

Improved Sex Life

Getting enough sleep and avoiding stress are two important factors for maintaining a healthy sex life. In one study, participants were asked to record their sleep patterns and sexual activity for a week. Those who took caffeine experienced better sleep and increased sexual desire. In another study, participants were either given caffeine or a placebo. After a night of sleep deprivation, the caffeine group experienced improvements in their sexual function (e.g., arousal) and desire (3.17 vs. 2.45 on a scale of 1-7, respectively).

Moreover, in yet another study, individuals were given either caffeine or placebo before watching a romantic comedy. While those who took caffeine had a greater liking for the movie and more laughs, the placebo group had more satisfying sexual experiences.

It seems that caffeine can improve your sex life. Whether you’re trying to spark up a sluggish libido or just need some extra energy to get through the day, caffeine may be able to help. The key is to avoid taking excessive amounts of caffeine (more than 3-4 cups per day), or drinking caffeinated beverages before bedtime. This might result in decreased sleep, which in turn could cause impaired sexual performance.

Lowered Cholesterol And Triglycerides

There’s a wealth of evidence that links caffeine and cholesterol. In one study, coffee intake was found to be inversely associated with total cholesterol and triglycerides, suggesting that it may have a cholesterol-lowering effect. In another study, caffeine was shown to increase lipoprotein lipase, an enzyme that facilitates the breakdown of triglycerides. Moreover, in a randomized controlled trial, participants were either given caffeine or a placebo. At the end of the study, those who took caffeine had significantly lower levels of triglycerides and total cholesterol compared with the placebo group.

Although more research is needed to confirm these findings, this evidence suggests that caffeine may have properties that suggest it can help in the fight against cholesterol and triglycerides. Perhaps working out more, drinking sufficient amounts of water, and avoiding added sugar and refined carbs can reduce cholesterol and triglycerides and give you the energy you need to enjoy a healthier lifestyle.

Does Caffeine Help You Lose Weight?

So, does caffeine help you lose weight? Based on the evidence above, it would appear that it does. There are a number of mechanisms through which caffeine might be able to help, including:

  • Increased Energy: Caffeine is a well-known source of energy for those who consume it. Whether it’s a cup of coffee in the morning, a soda at lunchtime, or a chocolate bar at night, caffeine provides a quick burst of energy that helps you get through the day. For those who take it before physical exercise, caffeine encourages the body to produce more energy and better tolerate the activity level. Moreover, caffeine has been shown to decrease muscle fiber atrophy and the risk of injuries due to intense workouts. This is why most people who lose weight do so while also leading an active lifestyle.
  • Improved Mental Function: As discussed above, caffeine improves your mental faculties. This can make you feel more motivated to work out, lead to better logical reasoning and decision-making skills, and enhance your enjoyment of life. In one study, individuals performed a mental rotation task either with or without caffeine. Those who took caffeine before the test showed significant improvements in performance, especially in cases where the task required mental flexibility (e.g., when shifting from 1-2-3 to 2-3-1).
  • Improved Sleep: As a well-known mild stimulant, caffeine promotes wakefulness and improves sleep. Moreover, coffee is known to lower the risk of insomnia. In one study, individuals either took a placebo or 200 mg of caffeine before bedtime. Those who took caffeine reported a significant decrease in tiredness and an increase in sleep duration compared with the placebo group. This is probably because caffeine helps reduce sleep apnea and snoring, allowing for better quality sleep and higher energy levels during the day.
  • Greater Acceptance Of Food: As discussed above, caffeine improves your mental faculties. This might make you more receptive to meals from other cultures and increase your appreciation for different cuisines. In one study, individuals either took 200 mg of caffeine or a placebo. Those who took caffeine reported that food tasted better and was more satisfying than those who took placebo. Moreover, the participants generally liked the food that they consumed, which suggests that the increased energy from caffeine may have made them more receptive to eating when food is served.
  • Improved Appetite: As a stimulant, caffeine increases your appetite and hunger. In one study, individuals either took a placebo or 200 mg of caffeine before eating a large meal. Those who took caffeine reported significantly increased food consumption compared with those who took placebo, particularly in the first hour after taking the substance. Moreover, in a different study, participants were either given caffeine or placebo. At the end of the night, those who took caffeine reported greater subjective hunger and stronger desires to eat.
  • Increased Heat Loss: The more caffeine you consume, the greater your heat loss. Caffeine acts as a mild diuretic, which means that it decreases the amount of fluid in your body and results in you being more dehydrated. In one study, participants took either 100 mg of caffeine or a placebo. At the end of the night, the caffeine group had increased urine production by 31% compared with the placebo group. This indicates that caffeine has diuretic properties and makes you lose more heat (dehydration increases the body’s heat loss by 2.5 times). Drinking at least 16 ounces of water each hour during exercise may thus help prevent heat injuries by reducing dehydration. If heat loss is a concern for you, consider taking a break from caffeine or having it in moderation (up to 3-4 cups per day).

In conclusion, the evidence above suggests that caffeine has many favorable effects on the body and might be able to help you lose weight. If you follow a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and stay hydrated, it might be able to help. But if you already consume too much caffeine or don’t drink sufficient water, it might do more harm than good. Moreover, if you want to try caffeine to boost your weight loss efforts, be smart about how much you take and when you take it. Talk to your doctor first to see if caffeine is right for you and how much you should be taking to see benefits.