Love it, hate it, or drown yourself in an unforgiving addiction —caffeine sure knows how to make an impression.
When we talk specifically of black coffee, there are some claims about it aiding weight loss —of course when consumed in moderation.
If the last bit of addition has not daunted the spirit of the caffeine aficionado in you, read on to find out the relationship between black coffee, weight loss and exercise routines.
Can Black Coffee Really Help With Weight Loss?
Dietician Ritika Samaddar, Regional Head, Nutrition and Dietetics, Max Super Speciality Hospitals, says yes, it can.
“Black coffee does aid weight loss as it helps to burn fat, and increases the metabolic rate. Its intake also leads to release of epinephrine/adrenaline that signals fat tissues to break down fat and release them into blood.”Dietician Ritika Samaddar, Regional Head, Nutrition and Dietetics, Max Super Speciality Hospitals
Daljit Kaur, Chief Clinical Nutritionist at Fortis Escorts Heart Institute, Okhla, New Delhi, agrees and explains further.
“Black coffee contains chlorogenic acid which helps in reducing the glucose and fat production in the body. It also contains antioxidants and reduces the free radicals in the body. Therefore, people find it beneficial for weight loss for it boosts their metabolism immensely.” said Ms Kaur.
In simple terms, what chlorogenic acid is doing is slowing down the fat production, while also enhancing metabolism, thereby aiding you on your weight loss journey.
However, Ms Kaur adds that you get all of these benefits from black coffee only when it is taken without sugar and milk (which add calories).
So when we talk of coffee in relation to weight loss, please note that we are talking of its completely stripped down, deglamorized version.
Hitting the Exercise Mat? Grab a Cup of Coffee First
Since black coffee leads to the release of adrenaline in the body, it ensures that you are high on energy right before a work-out.
Adrenaline, as Ms Samaddar points out, is also known as the ‘fight or flight’ hormone which prepares the body for intense physical exertion.
Beyond weight loss as well, she mentions other benefits of black coffee:
“Besides helping in improving the physical activity levels, helping in weight loss, black coffee intake increases alertness, is good for the liver, alleviates moods and fights low emotional spells.”Dietician Ritika Samaddar, Regional Head, Nutrition and Dietetics, Max Super Speciality Hospitals
Ms Kaur agrees with it and says that since the beverage is a great energy booster, it makes us more awake and alert for our exercise routine.
It should be noted, however, that though black coffee may be a great beverage before you go into your work-out, it is also important to hydrate yourself sufficiently for it can be dehydrating.
This word of caution brings us to the disadvantages of black coffee if not consumed in moderation.
Both experts warn of the side-effects of exploiting your favourite beverage.
“It needs to be taken in moderation as high amounts can have severe ill effects on health. It can increase blood pressure, and is not good for heart and kidney patients. Coffee is also dehydrating and long term use can lead to nutrient deficiency like calcium and iron. Though in limited quantity it can uplift your mood, too much of the same thing can instead lead to insomnia, headaches and restlessness.” adds Ms Samaddar
With black coffee acting as a trigger, in some cases, this restlessness can also turn into anxiety for someone who is susceptible to it.
Ms Samaddar also points out that there is little evidence to show long term effects of black coffee on weight loss.
Ms Kaur underlines some important points for a person with preexisting conditions or inherent disposition that might make them unsuitable for too much black coffee.
“It results in a lot of acidity which can cause inflammation and ulcers in the body. Therefore, it should not be had on an empty stomach. If one has kidney problems or if their potassium levels are high, then clinically they will be advised not to consume black coffee as it can harm them.”Daljit Kaur, Chief Clinical Nutritionist at Fortis Escorts Heart Institute, Okhla, New Delhi
How Does One Define Moderation When it Comes to Caffeine?
However, these numbers are only rough averages and it is important to figure out how black coffee works for you.
For some people even a single mug is enough to send them into a caffeine-drive, resulting in high-strung emotional states followed by an overwhelming low in their mood, and eventual fall in energy levels.
For others, this limit would work conveniently. So, before including black coffee in your diet, listen to your body, understand its relationship with caffeine and then allow it to work its wonders.
(Rosheena Zehra is a published author and media professional. You can find out more about her work here.)