I like coffee. A lot.
The aroma, the taste, the warm shyt-this-is-good-but-damn-I’ve-been-sitting-in-Starbucks-for-three-hours feeling it gives you.
And it’s no coincidence I get asked a crap-tonne of questions about whether coffee is good, bad, or even necessary for you and your fat loss goals.
Hence why I’ve arrived with a timely commentary on the intricacies of the drink we like to devour, and call, coffee…
Before We Start Though…
Now, while I’m a big coffee fan, I must admit I’m not particularly partial to the unruly orgasmic affection social media has for the stuff.
YES, we get that you love coffee, you can’t function for longer than two minutes without a cup, and you think anyone who doesn’t drink it should be smitten with the fury of a thousand public lashings.
But jeez, we don’t need every tweet, Instagram story, or meme to constantly inform us you want to make sweet love to the stuff.
I like Justin Bieber, but you don’t see me splurging your timeline with analytical and detailed Facebook statuses about the last song of his I listened to.
So enjoy your mug of black juice by all means, but keep your #coffeeholic hashtags and X-Pro filtered coffee shop pictures to yourself thank you.
What Coffee Are We Talking About?
As we delve deeper into the plusses and minuses of a good, fresh mug of ‘The Coffee’, I just want to make something clear…
The coffee we’re talking about isn’t the White Mocha with Toffee Nut Syrup and Caramel Drizzle, topped with a metric ton of extra sugar, kilo of fat and additional ounce of salt type.
Of course that stuff tastes like heaven in a cup. But that’s not coffee. That’s unadulterated fat gain in a cup.
The coffee we’re talking about is a nice big mug of the black stuff. With, OK, maybe a dash of milk and sprinkle of sugar if you’re feeling brave.
Dousing your coffee in every sugar, fat, and salt laden accessory under the sun can seriously hinder its effects on the body, plus adding a gazillion calories onto your daily intake. As Aadam Ali has kindly explained here:
What Even Is It and How Does It Work?
Coffee is essentially a drink formulated from roasted coffee beans, which are the seeds of cherries found in the Coffea Plant.
According to folklore, a goat herder once tried the coffee cherries after he noticed his goats acting more energetically after chewing on his coffee bushes – akin to that of how fitpros act when they try a new flavoured protein powder for the first time. Hence, the story of the now overly-celebrated beverage was born.
So how does it work?
Once consumed, caffeine is absorbed from the gut into the bloodstream and can affect the function of various organs.
Its main effect, however, is on the brain. It primarily functions by blocking the effects of adenosine; a chemical substance that relaxes the brain.
Caffeine helps you stay awake, therefore, by connecting to adenosine receptors in the brain without actually activating them. Caffeine, therefore, doesn’t give you energy, but merely masks fatigue.
Not only does it block the effects of adenosine, leading to reduced tiredness, but boosts your dopamine levels (them feel good feelings), giving you that instant surge of energy and ‘OMG I can’t wait for this day to begin’ sensation.
Should You Be Drinking It?
Caffeine, on the whole, contains a plethora of health and performance benefits. Plus coffee, caffeine, espresso - whatever you want to call it - can do a lot more for your physique than just kick-start your day with a shot of vigour and punch.
Not only does a cup of the hot stuff contain myriad nutrients people are lacking in, but it’s been found (within reason) to reduce the risk of:
Add to that it being a major source of antioxidants and also increasing digestive firepower, and we’re off to a good start.
Caffeine ingestion can also work wonders for the brain and mental acuity. It can:
Improve mental alertness
Improve memory retention
Increase resistance to physical and mental figure
All in all, if you drink coffee for nothing but its endless list of health benefits, you’ll be alright.
Should You Be Avoiding It?
Caffeine is a drug. You should know; people start to display frantic withdrawal symptoms when they can’t go two minutes without comparing their Latte Art Heart’s with friends.
Caffeine has unfortunately been found to decrease the effectiveness of serotonin (a natural mood stabiliser) and can trigger the release of dopamine which makes it addictive. Withdrawal, therefore, can lead to shakiness, bad stomachs, and constant headaches.
If people come to rely on a cup of ‘The Coffee’ to get them through the day, they’ll quickly start to find it difficult getting to sleep and have a good quality night’s shut eye. The vicious cycle of relying on caffeine, but struggling with its constant turbulent nature, continues.
It’s also important to note that people vary genetically in how well they can process caffeine, as well as it interacting with various hormones with the body differently in different people.
The benefits are clear to see, and the risks are minimal, but be wary of relying solely on caffeine to get you through the day.
What About The Fat Loss?
Now being healthy and having a fully functioning brain is all very nice and pretty, but I know you’re here for the fat loss. The good stuff.
So can it help? You bet.
For fear of getting all Sciencey and stuff, we’ll make this simple.
Not only can caffeine blunt hunger, but it can increase the mobilisation of fatty acids into your bloodstream. As your metabolic rate enjoys a beautiful caffeinated boost, an increase in adrenaline causes those fatty acids to be used as fuel.
The result? Accelerated fat loss.
So it may well be time to do away with those overpriced, overrated, and simply inapt fat burners you purchased from big Dave down the gym, and get a nice big shot of espresso down you before you hit a big legs session.
A small caveat to this fat loss wonder drug, is that the fat loss effects of caffeine are only pertinent to coffee rookies, or if you’ve spent a period of time away from the stuff. The benefits slowly decline the more you drink it.
Caffeine also possesses the power to indirectly help with your fat loss efforts. The magical supplement can slightly elevate your metabolism, increase your power output (leading to newfound PB’s in the gym), and has also been found to lower pain barriers (leading to newfound PB’s in the gym).
If you want a free, effective stimulant to kick-start your fat loss efforts, a quick chug of a cup of coffee could help you immensely.
Should I Add Butter To My Coffee?
No, stop being a douchebag.
It’s almost as if not consuming a cup of coffee is more injurious to your life than downing a mug.
To sum up:
The benefits of consuming a regular cup of coffee are somewhat endless – improved gym performance, increased mental output, reduced risk of disease, and increased chances of kick-starting fat loss.
Be wary of depending on the stuff to get you through the day and improve your fat loss chances, however, as there are inevitable risks with repeatedly downing caffeine.
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