As our website might suggest, we’re big proponents of Caffeine for health and weight loss purposes. So right out of the gate, “YES. Caffeine helps.” But I know you didn’t come here for one word answers. After all, being an informed consumer means looking for the evidence and the proof before taking someone at their word.
I put together this fact sheet so that you can reference it over and over. Jump around. Find the passages you have questions about, click the links, and explore. The answers are all here.
- Coffee has what’s known as thermogenic properties, which can literally help you melt fat off your body.
- Caffeine also improves our workouts for better calorie burn.
- Natural sources of caffeine, like Green Tea and Green Coffee have their own additional benefits, too.
- Other forms of caffeine, like Guarana seeds, can potentially be even more beneficial.
What Exactly is Caffeine?
Caffeine is technically classified as a drug, but that shouldn’t deter you. So is aspirin. Chemically, it’s a strand of simple carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, and oxygen. It is naturally occurring in plants like the coffee bean, tea leaf, and guarana seed. In the human body, it stimulates the nervous system and reacts with the adenosine receptors responsible for muscle contractions.
Okay, that’s the hardest chemistry we’ll cover today. Takeaways? Caffeine is a natural substance, which at its most core function, speeds things up. Now on to how, specifically, it can reduce weight.
How Caffeine Works for Weight Loss
There are three main mechanisms for how Caffeine can help us lose unwanted pounds. The first is straightforward–in speeding things up, it can speed us up, and we burn more calories.
The second and third functions, Thermogenesis and curbing cravings, help us to round out this miracle of nature.
It’s usually enough for some people to know that a shot of espresso can really supercharge a workout, but other people (like me) want the hard science. For us, there’s a groundbreaking study that showed, beyond doubt, that caffeine can raise the Basal Metabolic Rate of people.
That means even at rest you’re burning more energy. In fact, another study found that over a 12 hour day, caffeine can boost total energy burn by over 10%!
All of which supports what gym-rats already knew: when we have caffeine before a workout, our results improve. Everything from speed, endurance, and raw muscle power are increased with caffeine just before a workout.
Several research studies followed the workout and energy ones, and they found that beyond simply burning sugar, caffeine actually helped burn fat. It’s one thing to know that something’s happening, but scientists really want to find out why it’s happening.
So in later studies, they looked for a specific thermogenic effect. Thermogenesis, or “creating heat,” is just what it sounds like. It’s how our bodies generate heat when we’re cold, and specifically, how it does so by burning white adipose tissue (WAT). The process is simple: brown adipose tissue (BAT) “browns” the WAT, and makes it available to burn to keep us warm.
It’s a powerful fat-loss tool–if you can harness it! And it turns out caffeine is a great way to do it. Study after study has confirmed that the reason previous studies saw fat loss with caffeine consumption is that caffeine increases thermogenic activity!
Okay, so caffeine has so far shown us how it can help us with increased energy, and even independently burn fat. But what about the between times, when we’re feeling the almost uncontrollable urge to snack?
Caffein’s got us covered there, too. A four week study found that coffee consumption increases the sense of being full, and a more recent study found that having caffeine between a half hour and four hours before a meal sharply reduces appetite.
Five Ways To Get Caffeine for Weight Loss
I can hear you now. “Okay, Sam, I’m sold! What’s the best way to get caffeine in me for weight loss?”
The answer isn’t as simple as “this is best, this is worst.” It really comes down to your preferences, and whether you want any of the other benefits for weight loss that some of these sources provide. (Amounts per serving from Harvard and the US Gov’t.)
The simple cup of Joe. It provides around 100 mg of caffeine per 8 oz. of liquid. Trouble is, there are no additional weight loss benefits to this method, and it’s not everyone’s favorite beverage.
Additional Benefits: None
These little seeds have four times the caffeine as coffee, but there’s usually not as much of them in a product. In fact, the average drink only has around 125 mg of caffeine from guarana. In addition, there isn’t a ton of science that it can boost weight loss beyond the effects of caffeine.
Additional Benefits: None
Now we’re on to the good stuff. Green Coffee gives you all the same benefits of caffeine but at a lower dose (around 20-50 mg per serving). But, Green Coffee also has the added benefit of Chlorogenic Acid. This important nutrient is lost when coffee is roasted, but in its pure form, helps burn sugar and fat more efficiently.
Additional Benefits: Chlorogenic Acid
Green Tea has the lowest caffeine total of anything on our list, coming in at around 28 mg per serving. But, Green Tea has something called catechins, which in study after study has shown it can reduce blood sugar. Additionally, it works synergistically with caffeine, improving the weight loss powers of both.
Additional Benefits: Many, Including Catechins and Boosting Caffeine Effects
Caffeine in its purest form. There’s no point putting an amount on this one–however many milligrams of Caffeine Anhydrous are listed on the label of your supplement, that’s exactly how caffeine you’re getting! There’s no real extra benefit to this form of caffeine except convenience. It’s the simplest, easiest way to get caffeine into a supplement or other routine.
Additional Benefits: Convenience
Popular Products/Effective Supplements
As you may have already guessed, you don’t have to take a cup of coffee in the morning, Green Tea in the afternoon, and a large Green Coffee Latte at night to get all the benefits of caffeine. In fact, in many cases, all you have to do is take a supplement.
The last word here is actually a brief one of caution. If you have heart issues, or any other nervous system disorder talk to your doctor before embarking on a caffeine journey.
Other than that, my final verdict on caffeine is the same as it ever was: it’s an amazing tool in the box for anyone looking to burn fat, curb cravings, and crush the gym.
Related: Non Stimulant Fat Burners