Joe, java, jitter juice. Whatever you like to call it, there’s no denying coffee is a favorite drink to help people get through the day. But if you're trying to lose weight, you might be wondering if coffee can help your efforts.
Well, if you love coffee, we’ve got good news: Whether you drink it for the energy boost or the flavor, research suggests coffee and weight loss can go hand in hand.
Love coffee? You’re in luck. National Coffee Day is September 29, 2020.
More people are drinking coffee than ever before. In fact, 64% of Americans said they were coffee drinkers,1 many of whom enjoy nearly three cups of coffee every day, according to surveys from the National Coffee Association.2
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But does losing weight with coffee really work? That depends on who you ask. We’ve gathered some of the most interesting studies on coffee and weight loss to give you the facts on this popular beverage.
1. Coffee may help to reduce body weight, BMI and body fat.
You might want to ditch the decaf. A review of 13 studies found that consuming caffeine could help with weight loss, while doubling caffeine intake could increase those effects.3 But don’t overdo it — too much caffeine could leave you feeling restless and uncomfortable. Timing is also important: Having caffeine too close to bedtime could keep you from getting a good night’s sleep.
2. Coffee may boost your metabolism.
Caffeine may also slightly stimulate resting energy expenditure,4 or how quickly you can burn calories at rest, researchers say. Your body’s resting energy expenditure is responsible for 60% to 75% of the calories you burn daily, according to experts at Harvard Health,5 so go ahead and savor that cup of coffee!
3. The type of coffee you drink matters.
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On its own, coffee is unlikely to cause weight gain — a cup of brewed black coffee has just two calories!6 But if you typically reach for sugar and creamer, consider these healthier options:
- Try unsweetened add-ins — vanilla extract, cinnamon, pumpkin spice, or unsweetened cocoa powder.
- If you’re following the Jenny Craig program, try a splash of the Chocolate Dream Shake or Vanilla Cream Shake.
One large study connected certain sugar-laden coffee drinks with metabolic syndrome, a series of conditions that may include abdominal obesity (a waist measurement of 35+ inches for women and 40+ inches for men) and high blood pressure.7 Metabolic syndrome may increase the likelihood of developing diabetes, stroke and heart disease. In the study, individuals who regularly drank an instant coffee mix containing sugar and powder creamer were likely to have a higher risk of abdominal obesity, high HDL cholesterol and metabolic syndrome.8
4. Coffee may pump up your next workout.
If you need a little motivation for your next workout, consider this: Enjoying caffeinated coffee might take your activity to the next level. A small study showed that regular coffee helped increase performance during strength training exercises.9 And since strength training is a great choice for weight loss, you might want to sip on some coffee before your next sweat sesh. (Here’s how to start a strength training routine you’ll stick with.)
5. Drinking coffee may encourage your body to activate “good” fat.
Your body has two types of fat cells, brown cells and white cells. Brown cells create heat by burning sugar and fat, while white cells store fat.10 Most brown fat is thought to be in the neck.11 A 2019 study from the University of Nottingham discovered the caffeine from a single cup of hot coffee may be one of the ingredients that help stimulate the brown cells found in the neck.12
This research on coffee and weight loss is just the beginning — further studies are needed to confirm the correlation. Regardless, coffee can be a delicious addition to your diet, but you don’t have to drink coffee to lose weight — other beverages such as tea and water (here’s how staying hydrated can support your weight loss effort) are just as beneficial for your health.
Enjoying healthy, balanced meals, being physically active and having a strong support system are all great tools to use throughout your weight loss journey.
If you’re looking for a simple way to lose weight that incorporates delicious meals with personalized support, Jenny Craig can help! (And you can definitely have coffee.) Learn more about the program and get started today.
Stephanie Eng-Aponte is a copywriter for Jenny Craig and has written for the health and wellness, tech, and environmental industries. Stephanie graduated from Rutgers University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Media Studies. They employ an “eat first, write later” approach to food blogging and enjoy the occasional Oxford comma. Outside of writing, you can find them photographing a muttley crew of rescue pups, brewing kombucha, or exploring San Diego.
Favorite healthy snack: green apple slices with sunflower butter
Briana is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Personal Trainer for Jenny Craig, based in Carlsbad, California. She is passionate about utilizing food as functional and preventative medicine. Guided by a simplistic and optimistic approach, Briana’s philosophy is to help people improve their health and achieve their goals through the development of sustainable habits to live a healthy life. In her free time, you can find her strength training, indoor cycling, coffee tasting, and at local eateries with her husband and two dogs.
Favorite healthy snack: peanut butter with celery alongside a grapefruit-flavored sparkling water (so refreshing!)
This article is based on scientific research and/or other scientific articles and was written by an experienced health and lifestyle contributor and fact-checked by Briana Rodriquez, RDN, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist at Jenny Craig.
Our goal at Jenny Craig is to provide the most up-to-date and objective information on health-related topics, so our readers can make informed decisions based on factual content. All articles undergo an extensive review process, and depending on topic, are reviewed by a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) or Nutritionist, to ensure accuracy.
This article contains trusted sources including scientific, peer-reviewed papers. All references are hyperlinked at the end of the article to take readers directly to the source.