Caffeine and Weight Loss

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One would think by the number of diet aids out there that contain caffeine as a major ingredient, that caffeine can helps in weight loss efforts. Well, one would be wrong. Legitimate health services, such as the Mayo Clinic, have expressly voiced their disapproval at the use of caffeine as a diet aid of any kind.

What Could Caffeine Do to Help?

Caffeine is commonly used in weight loss products because it increases energy, which can help when energy is low from reduced calorie diets. Caffeine is also used as a stimulant in many non-prescription diet pills because it increases metabolism.

This ingredient can also go beyond metabolism boosting and energy increasing by improving your focus and alertness.  Many dieters don’t realize how important alertness and focus can be to their success. This is important both when the lifestyle changes are new and when you’ve been using them for a few weeks.

Alertness and focus can help to prepare you to pay attention and keep ahead of the learning curve. It can also help you to make the right food choices when it’s time to select your meals and snacks.  It can also help you to keep up those new habits over time when fatigue would otherwise cut into your motivation. Staying sharp can help you to stay on top of the challenges you can face when changing your lifestyle habits.

Coffee and Weight Loss

Recognizing that there is a great cultural and habitual attachment to your morning Joe it is recommended that you wean yourself off it gradually. Switching to diet colas isn't going to do you any favors either, as they are typically high in aspartame, a sugar substitute that may potentially be harmful to your health.

Although some people may believe that drinking coffee helps to keep them slim, it is important to remember that any weight lost from caffeine consumption is the result of the efforts you’re making, but that caffeine supports. 

As a side note, it’s important to know that while many people believe that caffeine is a diuretic and will help them to lose water weight, this is a myth.  Caffeine is not a diuretic. The only way drinking coffee will help you with water retention is by hydrating you.

Possible Risks of Caffeine and Weight Loss

While it is true that caffeine may temporarily increase your metabolism, the effects are brief and greatly outweighed by negative effects it can have. As a stimulant, caffeine may give you a bit more energy, but it can adversely affect sleep patterns, your heart rate, blood pressure, nervousness and irritability. These can all lead to an increase in stress that potentially leads to overeating for many people.

These negative effects are most likely in people with stimulant sensitivities or among people who use too much caffeine all at one time.  Therefore, if you’re using caffeine for weight loss, it’s important not to drink too much coffee at once or too close to bedtime. If you’re using it in a diet pill, make sure you choose a reputable product and use that product precisely according to its directions.

Caffeine also blocks the absorption of some essential minerals, such as iron. It has also been found that caffeine intake makes insulin more resistant to changes in blood sugar levels, contributing to the development of insulin resistance in persons with and without diabetes.

A Note About Decaf Coffee

Don’t be fooled by “decaf” either. Whether brewed at your local coffee house or in your kitchen at home, most decaf coffee is not completely free of caffeine. It is significantly reduced from an average 85gm/cup in regular coffee to anything below 15mg/cup. For most people, that is enough to eliminate the effects of the stimulant.

But if you are drinking 5 to 6 cups a day, you are getting the same amount of caffeine as in a couple of regular roast. If hypertension or agitation is a concern to you, sunshine tea (hot water and lemon) is looking better and better all the time. If you are taking medication that conflicts with caffeine or if you’re taking diet pills that already contain caffeine, it’s very important to talk to your doctor or pharmacist even before choosing decaf.

What is Your Best Alternative?

Of course, the best substitute for coffee if you can’t tolerate caffeine is a big glass of water. If you’re already using caffeine for weight loss in your diet pill, then you will greatly benefit from choosing water.  Water’s effects in your body only further support the advantages that caffeine can bring you.  Plus, you won’t overstimulate your body. Water is caffeine free, fat free and calorie free – how can you go wrong?