Coffee helps a lot of people get going in the morning, and while it gives your metabolism a bit of a boost — although temporarily — simply drinking it cannot help you lose weight fast. There's no such thing as a magic coffee diet.
But that doesn't mean coffee can't be a healthy addition to your weight-loss diet. Be sure to talk to your doctor first, though, to discuss the benefits and risks of using coffee for weight loss.
Read more: How Many Cups of Coffee Can You Drink a Day?
Coffee for Weight Loss
Why do so many Americans drink coffee every day? The caffeine. Caffeine and weight loss are related — it's the caffeine in your cup of Joe that's linked to weight loss. Caffeine increases the activity of your central nervous system, heart and muscles. And getting 100 milligrams of caffeine a day, which is the amount found in 1 cup of coffee, may help you burn an extra 9 calories an hour, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements. Caffeine may also suppress your appetite.
However, 9 calories isn't a lot of calories and may not help you lose much, if anything at all. Plus, over time, your body develops a tolerance to caffeine, nullifying any of the weight-reducing benefits, which means using coffee for weight loss alone cannot help you drop weight fast.
Lose Weight the Healthy Way
While coffee can complement your weight-loss efforts, if you want to lose weight fast, you need to create a calorie deficit, which means you need to eat fewer calories than your body needs, burn more through exercise or both. If 1 pound of fat has 3,500 calories, creating a 1,000-calorie daily deficit can help you lose up to 2 pounds a week, according to Mayo Clinic. Losing more than 2 pounds a week may risk muscle loss, which may slow down your calorie-burning metabolism and your rate of weight loss.
Balance your deficit cutting calories from your diet and moving more to burn calories. Swap your morning cup of OJ for a fresh orange to save 50 calories at breakfast. Use herbs and spices on your veggies instead of butter or oil and save 100 calories per tablespoon. Instead of your usual can of soda at lunch, drink seltzer with lemon to eliminate another 150 calories. Those with a sweet tooth can easily cut 125 calories from the day by eating a cup of berries for dessert instead of ice cream, according to USDA.
The number of calories you burn with activity depends on what you're doing and your weight. A 155-pound person burns 260 calories in a 30-minute aerobics class or a 30-minute game of tennis, while a 185-pound person burns 310 calories doing the same activities, according to Harvard Health Publishing.
Read more: 14 Legit Ways Coffee Can Boost Your Health
Watch the Extras
As a calorie-free beverage, coffee makes a good addition to any weight-loss diet. However, many people add milk and sugar to their coffee, which adds calories. A cup of coffee with 2 teaspoons of regular sugar and two tablespoons of half-and-half has 70 calories. You must count those coffee calories as part of your weight-loss plan.
However, making a few changes to your usual cup may help you save calories. For example, using sugar substitute and 1 percent fat milk in your coffee decreases your calories from 70 to 20. You also want to be careful with fancy coffee drinks that are more like a dessert than a beverage, which can have as much as 400 calories per serving.
Reap the Benefits
While the benefits of coffee for your weight loss may be short-lived, the hot beverage may help you in other ways. Drinking moderate amounts of coffee, which is up to 4 cups a day, may help reduce your risk of diabetes, heart disease, liver cancer and Parkinson's disease, according to the Harvard School of Public Health.
However, coffee may not be the right fit for everyone. If you're sensitive to caffeine, drinking coffee may make you jittery, anxious or increase your heart rate. Too much caffeine may also make it hard for you to get a good night's sleep. And not getting enough sleep can sabotage your weight-loss efforts.
Poor sleep habits affect the hormones that make you hungry, so you may eat more, according to Harvard Health Publications, and not getting enough sleep is associated with poor food choices.
- Office of Dietary Supplements: "Dietary Supplements for Weight Loss"
- Harvard Health Publications: "Calories Burned in 30 Minutes for People of Three Different Weights"
- Harvard School of Public Health: "Coffee and Health"
- USDA FoodData Central: "Oranges, Raw, Florida"
- USDA FoodData Central: "Orange Juice, Raw"
- USDA FoodData Central: "Butter, Salted"
- USDA National Nutrient Database: "Ice Creams, Vanilla"
- USDA FoodData Central: "Beverages, Carbonated, Cola, Regular"
- USDA FoodData Central: "Pure Cane Granulated White Sugar"
- USDA FoodData Central: "Cream, Fluid, Half and Half"
- USDA FoodData Central: "Milk, Lowfat, Fluid, 1% Milkfat, With Added Vitamin A and Vitamin D"
- USDA FoodData Central: "Strawberries, Raw"
- Mayo Clinic: "Weight Loss: 6 Strategies for Success"
- MedlinePlus: Caffeine in the Diet
- Harvard School of Public Health: Obesity Prevention Source: Sleep