Does Coffee Have Any Effect on Weight Loss?

Does Coffee Have Any Effect on Weight Loss?

Over the years, there has been a lot of controversy with regards to coffee and its effect on weight loss. The effect of coffee on weight loss and management are mixed.

Coffee is a very popular beverage. It is drunk at home, and at work. Yes! And it has tons of health benefits too.

Coffee is known to regulate appetite and improve one’s metabolism, which could facilitate weight loss.

Coffee contains a very important compound known as caffeine – caffeine raises sugar cravings and also impacts negatively on sleep. Both factors contribute to the effect that coffee has on weight loss and management. In this article, we will critically examine the effect of coffee on weight loss and weight management.

Coffee effect on weight loss
Photo Credit: CNN


Black coffee devoid of other ingredients has a low calorie count. This boosts weight loss.

Coffee has low calorie count

A calorie deficit is an important factor that enhances weight loss. A person who is serious about weight management must consider his or her calorie intake. You must reduce your calorie count! You can do this by engaging in physical activity, or reducing your daily calorie intake.

One way to reduce your calorie intake is to take low-calorie beverages. For instance, research has shown that you could lose four pounds in six months by just replacing a cup of sweetened beverage with the same amount of water (1).

Coffee, on its own is a low-calorie beverage. Studies have shown that a cup of coffee (240ml) contains just two calories (2).

You can only get this small amount of calories from coffee when you drink it black. If you top it with ingredients such as milk and sugar, then the calorie count will step up!

If you want to reduce your total calorie intake, then start by reducing your intake of high calorie beverages. Coffee helps in this. Drinking black coffee has positive effects on weight loss.

Coffee boosts your body’s metabolic activities

One of the effects of coffee on weight loss is an increase in the body’s metabolism. Coffee contains a natural stimulant known as caffeine. Caffeine is also present in soda and tea. Of these three beverages – coffee, soda and tea, it is coffee which contains the highest amount of caffeine.

A cup of brewed coffee gives you about 95mg of caffeine. This coffee content in caffeine varies depending on the type of coffee bean, the style of roasting, and the way in which the bean was prepared (3).

The caffeine in coffee improves metabolism. This indicates how many calories your body burns each day. Little wonder then why caffeine is included in most weight loss supplements.

However, for caffeine to have any significant impact on metabolism, you must take it in large doses.

For instance, a dose of caffeine at 4.5mg per pound of body weight boosts metabolism by 13 percent. This is equivalent to 680mg of caffeine – roughly 7 cups of coffee for a person weighing 150 pounds (4).

Further research also shows that regular intake of caffeine has positive effect on weight loss and weight maintenance.

In another study, an increase in caffeine consumption led to a reduction in weight gain within a 12-year timeline. That notwithstanding, those who consumed higher amount of caffeine were only a pound lighter than those who took lesser amounts of caffeine (5).

Another study examined people who had lost some significant amount of weight. It was discovered that a higher intake of coffee had a positive effect on weight loss and management over time (6).

Caffeine reduces the appetite

Caffeine helps to reduce the appetite.

So many factors regulate an individual’s appetite. These include hormones, the nutrient composition of the person’s meals, and the level of physical activity that one engages in. Studies have shown that caffeinated coffee reduces the level of ghrelin in circulation (7). Ghrelin is the hunger hormone.

Another way by which caffeinated coffee affects weight loss is by reduction in daily calorie consumption, compared to not drinking it (8, 9).

However, studies examining the appetite suppressant effect of caffeine all have conflicting results, with some showing that caffeine does not have any effect, or has very little effect on satiety (10).

There is therefore need for more studies on this.


Even though research shows that coffee has positive effects on weight loss, it may also impact negatively on weight loss through a number of ways.

The caffeine in coffee interferes with sleep

Caffeine is a natural stimulant. This fact has been verified. But how does it stimulate the body? Well, it interfere with the activity of adenosine. Adenosine is a brain chemical that makes a person to feel sleepy (11).

On the one hand, this is advantageous if you need a boost for work. However, if you consume coffee late in the day, then it may impact negatively on your sleep patterns.

The resultant effect of this is weight gain. People who don’t sleep well have a higher body weight, and an increased appetite. They tend to crave for junk (12, 13, 14).

Some coffee garnishing has a fattening effect

Yes! Most coffee drinkers don’t drink it alone. They take it together with sweeties such as pastries. Why? Because caffeine can alter a person’s perceived sense of sweetness, resulting in a higher craving for sugary foods (15).

Adding a sugar-rich snack to your coffee drink eventually leads to weight gain. So this is one negative effect of coffee on weight loss.

One way to avoid these sugar cravings and the consequential weight gain is by drinking coffee with protein-rich foods, or foods with a healthy fat content – an example would be an egg breakfast or some nuts.

Fats and proteins promote satiety and reduce your cravings for sugar (16).

Some coffee drinks are packed with sugar and calories

Plain coffee has a low calorie content. However, most coffee drinks are heavily laced with sugar and calories.

Many coffee shops add sweeteners to their drinks and loads of calories. Let us look at Caramel Frappuccino and Starbucks Grande for instance. They contain 420 calories and over 16 teaspoons of sugar per 470ml (17).

Regular consumption of sweetened beverages raises one’s risk of obesity (18).

It is on record that some persons lace their coffee with coconut oil or butter. The goal is to create some kind of Bulletproof coffee, a trendy drink if you may.

Even though healthy fats has positive effects on the health, eating too much of it, or adding it in excess to your coffee can backfire, resulting in weight gain.


You can enjoy your coffee without gaining weight. There are a number of ways that this can be done.

One important tip is to steer clear from excess sugar. Do not lace your coffee with sugar. The thing with coffee is that it is present in a lot of flavored creamers and pre-prepared lattés — and most people top their coffee with liquid sweeteners (agave) and table sugar.

Here are some ways by which you can limit your intake of sugared-coffee while still enjoying some extra flavor:

  • Add some cinnamon
  • If you must use milk, then coconut milk, half-and-half or unsweetened almond milk will do.
  • You can use a small amount of stevia. It is a natural sweetener with no calories.
  • You can use some drops of vanilla extract.
  • Add some high quality dark chocolate.

Even though coconut milk and half-and-half has a low sugar content, they have more calories than other additions. The best thing to do is to use these products in small amounts to prevent high calorie intake.

In terms of taste, coffee is naturally bitter. You will therefore have to reduce the amount of extra sweeteners that you add to it in order to adjust your taste buds. Do this gradually.

Better still, you can make your coffee at home. With this, you can control the amount of added sweeteners and also save some money.

If you like Bulletproof coffee, then prepare it with healthy fats such as coconut oil and grass-fed butter. Also, watch you calorie intake.

What’s the summary?

Coffee’s effect on weight loss depends on how you take it. On its own, coffee does not cause weight gain. As a matter of fact, it may enhance weight loss by regulating appetite and enhancing body metabolism.

On the other hand, it impacts negatively on sleep, which in turn causes weight gain. Also, many coffee pairings and coffee drinks have a high calorie content and extra sugar.

For proper weight maintenance, reduce your intake of high-calorie additives and added sugar. Coffee is a healthy drink. With a cup of coffee, you can start your day on a sound footing. All you need do is watch the ingredients that you use when making your coffee.

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