Coffee contains caffeine. This accounts for the increased use of coffee for weight loss among some persons.
This article examines the use of coffee for weight loss, how coffee increases metabolism during rest and exercise and how it reduces appetite.
Coffee is the most commonly consumed psychoactive substance in the world. It contains several biologically active substances that can affect metabolism:
- Caffeine – a central nervous system stimulant.
- Theobromine and Theophylline – substances related to caffeine that can also have a stimulant effect.
- Chlorogenic Acid – one of the biologically active compounds in coffee, may help slow absorption of carbohydrates (1).
Sources of caffeine include coffee, tea, energy drinks and colas; in products containing cocoa or chocolate; and in a variety of medications and dietary supplements, including supplements aimed at weight loss. Now let’s look at how it works.
Coffee for Weight Loss: How it Works
1. Mobilizes Fat from the Tissues and Breaks them down
To burn fat, it must first be broken down in the fat cell and moved into the bloodstream. Caffeine stimulates the nervous system, which sends direct signals to the fat cells to tell them to break down fat .
Caffeine inhibits adenosine, a neurotransmitter. By blocking Adenosine, caffeine increases the firing of neurons and the release of neurotransmitters like Dopamine and Norepinephrine. Norepinephrine signals fat cells to break down fat.
Thus, in the presence of caffeine, more norepinephrine leads to a stronger signal being sent to the fat cell and more fat gets broken down.
The end result is that the fat cell breaks down more fat, which is released into the bloodstream and becomes available for use as energy by cells that need it, like muscle cells.
In a study that compared the impact of caffeine and a placebo on normal weight subjects, it was discovered that plasma free fatty acid levels were increased by two times. This was as a result of fat mobilization and subsequent breakdown.
Furthermore, Caffeine is effective in stimulating increased lipase, an enzyme that helps break down fat during digestion, activity in the body. In order for fat to be burned in the body, lipase needs to convert digestive fats into fatty acid and glycerin.
Chlorogenic acids works similar to caffeine, in that it stimulates your body to break down fats more efficiently.
A combination of caffeine and chlorogenic acid produces a synergetic effect. Hence more fat breakdown (2).