For the coffee lovers, we all know that nothing is as priceless as a hot cup of black coffee laced with a few drops of honey or lemon.
Probably, there is absolutely no drink in the world that can substitute coffee. Did someone say tea? Ask any ardent coffee lover, and the answer will be the same. We even go to great lengths and pair our coffee with unique desserts, foods, or drinks.
Yet when talking about weight loss or gain, there is a lot of mixed opinions about coffee intake. This post discusses whether taking coffee at night is beneficial or harmful to our weight loss programs.
I decided to dig deeper on this topic when my longtime buddy, James - who's been on a relentless mission to tone down - posed this question: "is drinking coffee at night bad for weight loss?"
Consuming coffee in reasonable amounts is related to many health benefits. Health specialists globally have pinpointed some of the health-enhancing qualities of caffeine or coffee when taken moderately, and weight loss made it to the list. Here are various ways in which taking coffee at night can help in weight loss.
Coffee Increases Metabolism and Fat Burning
Naturally, coffee contains caffeine, the commonly consumed psychoactive substance globally. Also, most commercial-based fat-burning supplements feature caffeine as an ingredient. Typically, caffeine assembles fatty acids from our fat tissues to improve metabolism. The following are some pieces of evidence I managed to research concerning the role of caffeine in body metabolism and fat burning.
Coffee Contains Stimulants
Coffee beans possess biological elements that find their way in our coffee drinks, and when consumed, they affect metabolism.
- Caffeine - the primary stimulant
- Theobromine - found in small quantities in coffee and the central stimulant in cocoa
- Theophylline - found in both coffee and cocoa
- Chlorogenic acid - an active biological compound in coffee
Among the four stimulants, caffeine is the most potent and responsible for blocking adenosine, an inhibitory neurotransmitter. By blocking adenosine, our bodies release norepinephrine and dopamine. These two chemicals which re-energizes and boosts exercise performance by 11-12%.
Coffee Mobilizes Fats from Our Fatty Tissues
After having our dinner late in the evening, a cup of coffee later at night can be very helpful. The caffeine contained in the coffee stimulates our nervous system, which in turn signals the fat cells to break down excess fats.
It achieves this by triggering the release of adrenaline (epinephrine). This hormone flows through the bloodstream to the fatty tissues and signals them to break down the extra fats. Consequently, this can help us lose excess weight.
Coffee Increases Our Metabolic Rate
The resting metabolic rate (RMR), usually achieved when we are resting at night, is the rate at which our bodies burn calories after meals. Caffeine can help us increase our RMR by 3-11%, while larger doses can achieve even far-reaching effects.
Additionally, more fat burning facilitated by caffeine can increase the metabolic rate as well. By conducting further research, I also discovered that this effect decreases as people age, meaning, it's much more significant in the younger generation.
Long-Term Effects of Coffee on Weight Loss
In my research, I learned that our metabolic rates and fat burning capabilities improve significantly with short-term caffeine consumption. However, our bodies become more resistant to caffeine on long-term usage, and we no longer feel these effects.
Therefore, this is a caveat that we should always be aware of and cut down on excessive coffee consumption.
In a past study, caffeine caused a lack of appetite in men more than women. Consequently, this made them eat much less after coffee intake. While coffee may not be as effective in helping us shed more calories in the long-term, it is still possible that it can help us suppress our appetite and cause us to eat less food. This way, we can shed more weight in the long run.
In a nutshell, while coffee can help improve our metabolism in the short-term, long-term coffee consumption depreciates this effect because of tolerance. Therefore, it's strongly recommended to cycle coffee drinking routines to avert potential tolerance if we need to achieve a successful weight loss plan. A 2-week coffee consumption cycle may work just fine.
Why Excessive Caffeine Intake May Do More Harm Than Good
Well, we have just learned that coffee has healthy stimulants and antioxidants that help us shed more weight by increasing metabolism and decreasing our appetites.
However, excessive coffee consumption may be unhealthy to our bodies, including:
Disrupts Normal Sleeping Patterns
Caffeine is responsible for blocking adenosine hormone, secreted by our brain, to facilitate healthy sleep. Consuming coffee at night significantly alters our usual sleep patterns. According to Dr. Katherine Zeratsky, sleeping four or fewer hours per night instead of 10 can dramatically increase our appetite and hunger for calorie-dense foods.
Other observational studies indicate a correlation between sleep deprivation and obese conditions.
Some Coffee Pairings May Cause Weight Gain
Most coffee lovers associate their beverages with sweet pairings such as pastry. Typically, caffeine alters our minds to crave for sweet treats. Daily intake of sugary foods alongside coffee is a recipe for weight gain.
Getting back from work late at night tempts most of us to settle for a quick cup of coffee and some snacks when we are too tired to prepare a decent meal. According to Healthline, it would be wise to consider low-sugar coffee with protein-based foods such as eggs or nuts to prevent sugar cravings.
Some Coffee-Based Drinks Contain Sugar and Calories
While plain coffee contains low calory traces, most coffee-based beverages contain sugar and calories. Hopping into the nearest Starbucks franchise or coffee shop to grab a 470 ml Caramel Frappuccino for the night is the worst mistake most of us do.
This beverage contains 370 calories and more than 66grams of sugar. Regular consumption of such sweetened coffee blends is the main reason why there are many obese cases across the nation.