Most people know that drinking a strong cup of coffee or taking some of those caffeine based energy pills gives you a boost to your energy levels and makes you feel temporarily more alert. It can also be found in many diet pills and drinks, promising to speed up your body rate and burn off all that extra fat. If you believe the hype, caffeine is the miracle ingredient which is essential to increase your metabolism and help you lose weight. But does coffee really have any effect on your metabolism?
What is metabolic rate anyway?
Metabolic is a word which comes from the Green meaning change or transformation, and it means the amount of energy that your body burns over a period of time to maintain vital functions such as keeping your heart beating and your lungs working. Metabolic rates vary throughout our lives and also according to weight. Men generally need more calories per day and therefore have a faster metabolic rate than women. Trying to raise your metabolic rate is the aim of all people trying to lose weight, as it means you burn energy quicker, using up the body’s fat deposits in the process.
How does caffeine affect this?
Caffeine does seem to speed up the metabolism slightly, and seems to speed it up by around 10%. It stimulates the heart and lungs, making the heart beat faster and the blood flow quicker. This does mean that fat is burned slightly more quickly, but the effect is temporary. There has also been research showing that this temporary increase in heart rate can affect the blood sugar levels and make you crave more in the way of sugary and fatty foods which makes losing weight less likely. Caffeine does boost energy levels though and has proven to be of benefit to long distance or endurance athletes and to students who are trying to stay awake all night to complete that paper or study for an exam.
Although caffeine is heavily promoted and marketed in weight loss products, there is no clinical evidence that caffeine does in fact make it easier to lose weight or keep it off in the long run. If caffeine was truly effective in helping you lose weight, all people would have to do is drink loads of coffee and watch the weight drop off them. Given the adverse effects of caffeine in certain groups, and the fact that it can be addictive and lead to sleep problems, it is unwise to rely on caffeine as a weight loss remedy. In fact, most diets advocate giving up caffeine completely, or at least cutting it down to the bare minimum.