TL;DR Caffeine does boost your metabolism and this article explains the science behind this. However, while this may sound like good news, there are key things to remember, especially in light of drinking coffee to "lose weight."
Caffeine has been known for its several benefits – from something so simple as helping you get over that afternoon slump, to lowered risk of Type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s and heart disease.
And for those wanting to lose weight, listen up!
Caffeine can also INCREASE METABOLISM.
Yes, you read that right. In fact, increased metabolism is observed for up to three hours after consuming 8 mg/kg of coffee (1).
So how exactly does the magic happen?
To understand how this works, there are three main substances in coffee that accelerate metabolism:
These substances have a significant role to play in how our body takes in sugar and carbohydrates:
Think of it this way: when people say “coffee boosts metabolism,” they also actually mean...
coffee can help our body slow down the absorption of sugars and carbohydrates.
Music to the ears, isn’t it? To understand how this happens, you need to know the hormone called epinephrine, which is commonly known as adrenaline.
As caffeine travels through the nervous system –
However, the presence of fatty acids in your blood doesn’t automatically mean losing weight.
You need to burn more calories than you consume (which almost sounds like common sense, to be honest). You can achieve this by either maintaining a HEALTHY DIET or sticking to REGULAR WORKOUT.
Here’s where caffeine enters the picture...
Research shows that drinking coffee before a workout helps burn more fat than going without it (11). Caffeine increases energy levels during physical exercise and leads to increased endurance.
People who drink coffee before hitting the gym find themselves working harder and longer, burning more calories. (To learn more about this, check out our article on why caffeine before a workout is a good idea.)
The point is, although it helps, caffeine consumption alone doesn’t burn fat. You need to mix it up with a healthy diet and a regular exercise regimen.
Your body naturally burns calories in order to function properly. And having a fast metabolism means being able to burn calories more efficiently and – wait for it – lose weight faster.
How’s this possible? Two words:
The higher the metabolic rate, the faster the metabolism. Losing weight becomes easier. Eating more and not gaining weight takes less effort.
There are two types of metabolic rate (12):
With all this caffeine talk, we’ll shine a spotlight on the second one, the RMR.
Keep in mind though that caffeine’s ability to increase metabolism depends on factors like:
While caffeine has been proven to boost metabolism, it’s important to note that the reasons are NOT absolute. There are caveats that we need to keep in mind:
While caffeine is shown to contribute to weight loss and increased metabolism, having more caffeine doesn’t necessarily translate to burning more calories. The metabolic effects are based on certain factors, observed in studies only in the short-term, and are shown to diminish over time. Plus, consuming more than you’re supposed to can lead to adverse effects.
It’s always good measure to keep your coffee or caffeine consumption in check and avoid caffeine just for the sake of losing weight. If you watch your caffeine intake you can keep enjoying each cup (or mint!) and embrace the added health benefits.
If you want to learn more about not just caffeine's effect on metabolism but also the role genetics plays on metabolising caffeine, here's a video by wellness guru Thomas DeLauer:
Unless you work outdoors or indoors in a job where you are physically active all day, it can be difficult for some people who have desk jobs to stay awake at work without caffeine.
Maybe the most important thing you can do to make sure you don’t nod off at work is to get a good night of sleep, at least 7 to 8 hours, at a regular time every night. Boredom can also cause you to nod off. Other than getting a good night’s sleep and having a fascinating job, there are things you can do to stay awake.
How do investment bankers stay awake on their 18-hour shifts?
Investment bankers work such long hours that many resort to chemical stimuli. There have been rumors of methamphetamine and cocaine use among investment bankers to burn the midnight oil. Other investment bankers take Ritalin or Adderall, which are given to children with ADHD but which are stimulants for adults. But the mainstay is probably coffee, energy drinks, and other concoctions containing caffeine.
Some law students spend 60 hours a week studying. Those who’ve been through law school advise prospective students to leave the Xbox at home so they’re not tempted with potentially ruinous distraction. How do law students get energy to study so much?
One thing many law school students do not do is party and socialize a lot. This has a doubly salutary effect because the time spent not partying is time they can spend studying. And then they are not out of sorts, hung over or over-tired the next day from partying.