What you need to know about coffee and weight loss

By author photo Laura Ford


Important things to know about the popular beverage if you’re trying to lose weight

Coffee is one of the most popular drinks around the world, and many of us couldn’t bear to start the day without it. But is coffee good for you if you’re trying to lose weight? There are pros and cons.

Coffee is most commonly known for its ability to make us feel more awake, alert and focused, thanks to the effects of caffeine. It acts as a stimulant by blocking neurotransmitters in the brain, which gives you that extra energy boost. Coffee is also rich in antioxidants, which are plant chemicals, and contains a range of different nutrients, including magnesium, potassium, riboflavin and niacin.

When it comes to coffee and weight loss, one of the benefits of coffee (or more specifically caffeine), is that it can help you feel more energised just before a workout, which can help improve your performance. The extra energy boost caffeine gives can mean you’re working out harder or for a longer period, meaning more kilojoules are used, which can assist with weight loss.
You may have heard that caffeine increases your metabolic rate. While it’s true that caffeine intake can result in a small increase in your metabolic rate, this increase is small and not sustained over the long term, so cannot lead to significant changes in weight. Further, any effect of caffeine on the metabolism is likely to be altered when the coffee is diluted and/or milk, sugar and other flavourings are added.

Coffee in itself shouldn’t have an impact on weight loss, but don’t forget that what you’re adding to your coffee could have an effect. Frappuccinos or iced coffees blended with syrups and topped with cream or ice cream can significantly increase the kilojoule content. Adding milk, sugar or other flavourings can also increase the amount of energy you’re consuming and add an unexpected number of kilojoules to your day.

So, if you want to include coffee as part of your weight loss journey here are some tips to remember:

• Black coffee (with no milk or sugar) contains zero kilojoules. Feel free to sweeten with a natural sweetener if you like.

• If you’re on the Jenny Craig program and prefer a milky coffee or a latte, use your daily dairy serves to ensure you’re sticking to your menu. But, try not to fill up on too many cappuccinos as you may be missing out on key nutrients elsewhere if you’re filling up on milky coffees. If you aren’t on the program, be mindful that adding milk or sugar to your coffee will increase the kilojoules you consume throughout the day.

• Avoid adding excessive amounts of sugar or flavoured syrups to your coffees. While they may be a nice treat every now and then (I mean, who doesn’t love an orange mocha frappuccino?), don’t let them creep in as a daily habit as they can add more kilojoules to your day than you may expect.

• The caffeine in coffee can impact your sleep, so try to avoid having coffee at night to ensure you get a good night’s rest. A lack of sleep can leave you tired and hungrier the next day.

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