Some people head to the gym for a calorie-burning workout, while others take a trip to Starbucks for a caffeine fix in hopes of boosting their metabolism without getting sweaty on the treadmill. Does caffeine raise metabolism, or are their hopes in vain?
Caffeine for Weight Loss: Does It Work?
There is no shortage of diet pills that contain caffeine – and sometimes that caffeine is combined with dangerous compounds such as ephedra to enhance the metabolism boosting effects. Some studies show that caffeine does raise metabolism, although the effect is modest enough that it’s unlikely to cause significant weight loss in the absence of a healthy diet and exercise plan.
On the other hand, caffeine has a mild appetite suppressing effect, but all that caffeine is a problem since it raises cortisol levels, the stress hormone that causes the body to store fat in the waist and abdomen. Drinking too many lattes at Starbucks not only means extra calories but a thicker mid-section as well. This is not the “fat burning” effect most people have in mind.
Caffeine for Weight Loss: It May Help You Burn More Calories When Exercising
Caffeine does show potential for mildly boosting metabolism and weight for people who exercise. Drinking caffeinated tea or coffee before lifting weights or doing a high-intensity cardiovascular workout allows a person to train harder and longer, which can mean greater fat burning over the long haul.
Caffeine to Boost Metabolism: The Downsides
Not only does caffeine not raise metabolism as much as most people think, but it can also cause anxiety and sleep problems. Anxiety and insomnia are two factors strongly correlated with weight problems. People who get insufficient amounts of sleep are at higher risk for both weight gain and obesity. Using caffeine for weight loss isn’t the smartest choice, particularly if that caffeine comes from diet pills. In fact, using caffeine pills to lose weight can be downright dangerous for people with heart disease or high blood pressure.
Caffeine for Weight Loss: The Bottom Line?
Caffeine isn’t a “magic bullet” that magically speeds up weight loss. There really is no substitute for a healthy diet and regular exercise. People who use caffeine to lose weight should choose caffeinated green tea over coffee since the catechins in green tea modestly raise metabolism – and they should sip it on the way to the gym.