Coffee's a controversial subject in health and fitness. Mostly because some people think you should never drink a drop and others think you should drop water for coffee. I'm in the middle. I like drinking coffee. I don't drink 5 cups a day, but I do take a strong cup or two in the morning. But let's assess the situation a little more to help you make an informed decision.
One side says Italians (among other populations) drink plenty of espresso and consume more fat, but are leaner than many other countries' population. Many on this side also say coffee contains 0 or near 0 calories, and according to the law of thermodynamics, gaining weight is a matter of calories. Additionally, a few studies do show that caffeine (especially prior to exercise) can accelerate fat loss.
Another side says that coffee indirectly causes weight gain through the hormonal changes it causes. The rise in cortisol/adrenaline stresses the adrenal glands to the point where high cortisol levels damage metabolism. The adrenals have a relationship with organs and glands, including the Thyroid. And since the Thyroid contributes to the control over your metabolism, the excessive rise in adrenal hormones may not be a good thing. There's a lot more to this side by the way.
Then there's the other people who just drink coffee, espresso and whatever else floats their boat because that's what people do.
The studies I've gone over all highlight the benefits of coffee consumption such as increased insulin sensitivity, decreased risk for cancers and death, decreased risk for Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, increased fat mobilization and so on.
But, most of the studies were done with moderate amounts of coffee. What does that mean?
That means if you're drinking 5-6 cups a day, I don't have any studies telling me whether that's bad or good. But from my own intuition, if you need coffee to stay awake or even just feel good, it might be time to take a break and focus on improving health. By improving health, you will increase energy and get a more restful sleep. That alone could fix your need for coffee.
I've gotten a little side-tract, so let's get to the point, does coffee help you burn fat or does it make you fat:
Ways Coffee Increases Fat loss:a
- Decreases appetite
- Increases focus and stimulation, taking mind off food
- Increases Adrenaline/Noradrenaline, which play a role in "Fat Burning" (really hate using that phrase sometimes)
- Increases energy, possibly improving likelihood for consumer to exercise
- Ways Coffee Makes You Fat:
- Some people feel the need to eat sweets with coffee
- If you drink coffee with virtually anything besides coffee in it, you're probably heading in the wrong direction, many of the holiday editions contain close to a hundred grams of sugar and 50 grams of fat.
- If coffee is just one of many stressors in your life, then yes, your adrenals will suffer, and consequently so might your Thyroid, metabolism, and other organs. But coffee isn't the main cause here.
- If your expensive coffee consumption is taking up money you could be putting towards purchasing healthy food
Focus in on that third point in ways coffee makes you fat: If you're getting little to no sleep, consuming a diet filled with sugar and chemicals, doing chronic cardio instead of exercising intelligently, and excessively stressing emotionally/mentally, then you should probably drop coffee.
Or keep coffee, and use that energy to solve the other 4 MAJOR problems I just listed.
Summary: Moderate consumption of coffee has been shown to have many health benefits, including accelerated weight loss. Key word: moderate. If I was someone who had some of the stressors listed above, I would be making some major changes, including decreasing or eliminating coffee consumption.
Just a little disclosure, I drank coffee before writing this post!