A major factor in successful weight loss is diet modification. Nowadays, there are tons of diets and programs that promise to result in a significant weight loss and an amazing confidence boost of people to adhere to them. Some diets work while others do not. You've probably heard of coffee diet weight loss; it seems interesting, and kind of appealing, doesn't it? What is the coffee diet exactly, how it works, what to expect? Get answers to these questions below.
What is the coffee diet?
Coffee diet seems like every coffee lover’s dream come true, but most people don’t know what it is actually. This diet was popularized by Dr. Bob Arnot and his book The Coffee Lover’s Diet. Dr. Bob Arnot is M.D. internal medicine, former host of the Dr. Danger reality TV series, journalist, author, and a foreign and medical correspondent for CBS and NBC. The book talks about the power of coffee and how to use it in order to improve general health, mental clarity, longevity, and achieve a significant weight loss. Moreover, The Coffee Lover’s Diet contains a full diet plan with recipes and tips to get the most out of coffee and lose weight in an effective and healthy manner.
The author spent some time at Ikaria, a small Greek island, where he studied people who lived there. He noticed the island had many elderly and healthy people who consumed coffee regularly and believed that antioxidant-rich coffee led to health and longevity.
But, it's impossible not to mention that coffee has been associated with a marvelous health potential for centuries. People from different cultures consumed coffee not just because it's delicious, but also because they believed it could provide certain health benefits. While nowadays, coffee is demonized, a growing body of evidence confirms its favorable impact on our health.
What about the coffee diet? Can it really help us slim down? We’re going to discuss this subject further in the article.
How does coffee diet work?
While some diets are complicated and difficult to follow, the coffee diet is straightforward. That's always a good thing, of course. When following a coffee diet, it's necessary to drink at least three cups (720ml) of light-roast coffee each day. Why not dark roast coffee, you wonder? The reason is simple; light roasts are more abundant in polyphenol antioxidants than their counterparts (1).
The idea of a coffee diet can make us believe is that as long as we drink the recommended amount of coffee, the results will happen. That's not how it works, actually. Not all coffee is equal. Quality of coffee and the way it is brewed play a major role in this diet. It's recommended to drink light-roasted whole-bean coffee that you grind at home. Brew your coffee with filtered water. Instant coffee and similar types aren't the best choices for this diet because they have lower nutritional content and contain a lower level of antioxidants you need to achieve the desired result.
It’s useful to mention that you can drink as much coffee as you want during the day, but three cups are minimum. Make sure you avoid putting cream and sugar in your coffee. Besides coffee intake, Dr. Arnot also suggests replacing one meal with a high-fiber green smoothie.
As far as other meals and snacks are concerned, there is no specific plan for people who follow the coffee diet. But, it is recommended to opt for high-fiber foods, mainly fruits and vegetables, and low-fat options to decrease calorie intake. Similarly to other weight loss programs, this diet also advocates for the avoidance of heavily processed foods. After all, refined foods have little to no nutritional value, but are high in calories and are a major obstacle to successful weight loss. Eat whole foods instead. What’s more, Dr. Arnot recommends eating 1500 calories a day, which is a significantly lower amount compared to the average calorie intake. Examples of meals to eat on this diet include a grilled chicken salad with vinaigrette dressing, tofu and vegetable stir-fry with brown rice.
Can coffee aid weight loss?
Before you start with some diet, you want to know whether it can really help you or not. Most diet trends nowadays are not overly effective, but others really do work. So, is the coffee diet effective or not? Coffee diet is based on the fact that coffee beans (light-roasted, remember) are an abundant source of antioxidants which amazing health potential and could lead to a successful weight loss. Of course, there is also calorie restriction and consumption of healthy foods.
Promotes weight loss
When it comes to the coffee itself, numerous studies have confirmed its positive influence on weight loss. The most research on this subject, conducted by scientists at the University of Nottingham, found that drinking coffee activates fat-fighting mechanisms in the body. This could be great news for the prevention and management of obesity and diabetes. Scientists confirmed that coffee could help stimulate brown adipose tissue (brown fat reserves), which is vital for the speed at which the body burns calories (2).
In order to slim down, it’s crucial to speed up the metabolic rate. A fast metabolism means the body burns more calories than you consume and enables us to lose weight in a steady and continuous manner. Coffee is known for its potential to accelerate metabolism, and you'll be happy to know, this effect is scientifically proven. Studies show that caffeine can increase the metabolic rate by up to 11% in a dose-dependent manner i.e., greater doses have a better effect (3). What's more, the majority of the increase in metabolic rate is due to improved fat burning (4). However, it is worth noting that these effects are less pronounced in people who are obese (5) and older individuals i.e., coffee's influence on metabolism is more evident in younger people (6).
Overeating is a common problem nowadays. We tend to eat even if not hungry. Sometimes we eat only because we are bored, sad, or stressed out. When we overeat, weight gain ensues. In fact, overeating is a major enemy of successful weight loss. To some people, it can be difficult to slim down when they still eat more than their body needs. Consumption of appetite-suppressing foods is a great way to eat less and shed more pounds. Evidence shows that decaffeinated coffee can acutely reduce hunger and elevate levels of satiety hormone (7). In other words, decaffeinated coffee (which you can also drink on a coffee diet) can temporarily suppress your appetite and make you feel full. As a result, you eat less, lower calorie intake, and lose weight more effectively.
The International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition published a study that found drinking coffee before the meal can decrease your appetite and lower the amount of food you eat (8). But, this effect was observed only when coffee was taken shortly before the meal — drinking coffee 3 to 4.5 hours before the meal offered no such impact on appetite.
Thermogenesis is the generation of heat or temperature, and although most people associate it with metabolism and weight loss, it is more than that. It keeps you alive! In order to lose weight, many people eat foods or take supplements that promote thermogenesis. Coffee appears to be one of them. Evidence shows that coffee can induce thermogenesis and aid in the prevention of obesity (9). In fact, by stimulating thermogenesis, coffee boosts metabolic rate and allows you to burn more fat. This is particularly important if we bear in mind that fat is stubborn and difficult to lose, especially in the abdominal area.
Mobilizing fat from fat tissue
Caffeine is a stimulant that acts on a central nervous system and instructs it to send signals to the fat cells to start breaking down fat (10). This happens because caffeine increases the levels of epinephrine (adrenaline), a hormone that enters fat tissues and delivers the signal for the fat breakdown process. While this is, definitely, a good thing, it only works if you burn more calories than you consume through food. In other words, caffeine can mobilize fat from fat tissue when your metabolism is faster.
Other health benefits of coffee
Coffee is one of the most popular beverages in the world. Most people can't imagine starting their day without a nice cup of freshly brewed coffee. Your favorite drink has a plethora of health benefits besides the weight loss potential. Other health benefits of coffee include:
- Decreased fatigue and increased energy levels
- Improved physical performance for better workouts
- Contains important nutrients such as magnesium, niacin (vitamin B3), riboflavin (vitamin B2), pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), potassium, manganese
- Lower risk of type 2 diabetes
- May protect from Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia
- Reduced risk of Parkinson’s disease
- Supports liver health, protects against cirrhosis
- Helps fight depression
- Lowers risk of some types of cancer such as the liver and colorectal cancer
- Promotes longevity
- Great source of antioxidants
Coffee diet pros
Coffee diet has some important advantages, such as:
- Simple and easy to follow
- Promotes a healthy lifestyle and encourages people to eat healthier food instead of processed and heavily refined items
- Benefits of coffee are scientifically proven
- Based on coffee, which millions of people love
- Weight loss occurs due to multiple mechanisms and in an entirely natural manner
- People can drink both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee
Coffee diet cons
Every diet has some advantages and disadvantages. You’re probably eager to find out whether the coffee diet has some cons, and the answer is yes. They are:
- The diet promotes high coffee intake (3 cups minimum), which can be too high for some people. Excessive caffeine intake can cause certain health problems such as hypertension
- It promotes a drastic calorie reduction; most diets of this kind often result in weight gain
- Not a long-term solution; most people follow the coffee diet for two to seven weeks
Tips to get the most out of the coffee diet
You read everything, including pros and cons, and you want to give coffee diet weight loss a try? In that case, these tips will help you get the most out of your diet and allow you to lose weight effectively and safely:
- Choose high-quality coffee beans only
- Don’t eat sweets and desserts to compensate for the lack of sugar and cream in coffee
- Start with the minimum recommended dose (3 cups a day) and see how your body reacts before you increase coffee intake
- Modify your diet so that it contains an abundance of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds all of which can promote healthy weight loss
- Exercise regularly; a combination of diet modification and regular physical activity is the best option for a steady weight loss
- Instead of chips and fries, eat celery sticks or baby carrots when you feel like snacking
- Ditch sodas and store-bought fruit juices in favor of water
It’s also useful to mention that you should consult your doctor if you have some chronic health condition or any other medical problem which you’re treating with medications. Your doctor will inform you whether it’s safe for you to proceed with the coffee diet or not.
Coffee diet is a simple weight loss diet that involves drinking at least 3 cups of coffee and restricting calorie intake. While the diet is simple and benefits of coffee are scientifically proven, this is not a long-term solution for weight loss. Most people follow the coffee diet for two to seven weeks. This can be a short-term solution for people who want to kick-start their weight loss, but remember that physical activity and other healthy lifestyle choices are crucial. The success of this diet also depends on the quality and type of coffee you drink.