Last updated on September 4th, 2023 by Jules Winnfield
If you’re a coffee drinker (and who isn’t) then you are probably familiar with its most popular effects: Namely an energy boost and increased focus and clarity.
But a question certain people are asking is does coffee make you gain weight? If you’re watching what you eat so you can shed a few pounds, then you may want to pay attention to this bit of info.
So lets dive in to what we know.
- Drinking Coffee Has Health Benefits
- Is Coffee Causing Your Weight Gain?
- How Can I Drink Coffee Without Gaining Weight?
Drinking Coffee Has Health Benefits
Overall, drinking coffee has health benefits, and can reduce risk of chronic diseases. But what coffee effects may be related to your weight?
Caffeine May Boost Metabolism
Caffeine isn’t just good for those who need an extra boost. Research shows that caffeine may improve metabolism. Metabolism is pretty much a measure of the number of calories your body burns in a day. This is why it is also taken by people who works out.
A high metabolism burns a lot of calories, and a low metabolism burns fewer calories. This is why you’ll often see ‘caffeine’ used in weight loss supplements (which we do not recommend).
The problem is that a large amount of caffeine would need to be consumed to have a significant impact on the metabolic rate. This means that generally speaking, coffee will not have a huge impact on most coffee drinkers’ metabolism.
So, while drinking coffee isn’t going to make you drop five pounds, it’s not going to make you add five pounds, either.
Coffee Is Low Calorie
With that said, ultimately, coffee is low in calories. If you were to drink a cup of black coffee, around 240 ml, this would only amount to 2 calories.
So, if you’re looking for a beverage that will contribute to a calorie deficit, then coffee is a really great choice. But keep in mind, I am talking about black coffee.
In this day and age, very few people drink black coffee anymore. The more milk, sugar, cream, or syrups you add to your coffee, the more calories that will be in your cup.
This of course can add extra calories to your diet and potentially cause weight gain, especially over a long period of time.
Does Caffeine Reduce Appetite?
So, one reason that many people link coffee to weight loss is that caffeine may reduce appetite.
This basically means that people lose weight while drinking coffee, not necessarily because of the coffee, but because they eat less food.
If someone eats a lot of unhealthy food at lunchtime, but then starts drinking a coffee along with their lunch, they may find they will consume less of the food. That same person might lose weight, unintentionally, and as a result, may incorporate some more healthy food into their diet, which will further promote weight loss.
So, drinking caffeinated beverages can have a knock-on effect, because you’re just eating less. But this all comes down to an individual basis.
Overall, research has shown there isn’t really a significant difference in appetite suppression from those who drink coffee and those who don’t. Many other factors can contribute to the appetite, such as hormones, activity levels, and how nutrient-dense meals are.
Is Coffee Causing Your Weight Gain?
In some cases, coffee could be the cause of weight gain. Why?
Your Coffee is Full of Syrups
If you’re drinking coffee that is full of added syrup, this is a red flag. Now, don’t get us wrong — coffee with syrup is delicious, but it should not be consumed every day.
The syrup is full of sugar, and if it’s advertised as ‘sugar-free’, it’s either full of unhealthy sweeteners or is full of saturated fats (the type of fat which is unhealthy).
Drinking this kind of coffee on a regular basis means you are filling your body will extra calories and artificial sweeteners, which can lead to weight gain.
If you do add sugars to your coffee, you will need to keep it moderate and balance it out with your weight loss goals. To do this, try having coffee with only a teaspoon of sugar.
You Drink Coffee With Cream, Plus Whipped Cream
Cream, whether whipped or single, is full of sugar and fat. It’s generally not the healthiest foods and should be consumed in moderation. If you’re at home, consider changing your coffee habit to adding just milk, instead of cream.
If you drink a lot of coffee at coffee houses, try to limit any cream or whipped cream to once a week. Yes yes…this may be difficult if friends or coworkers are always making Starbucks runs you can’t resist!
You Only Order Frappuccino
Speaking of Starbucks. While these coffee drinks are delicious, they will dramatically increase your calorie intake, as they are full of fat. Not only do frappuccinos and similar coffee house drinks contain masses of whipped cream, but full-fat milk is usually made to make them.
Frappuccinos are packed with a ton of sugar, which can shoot up your blood glucose levels. This will give you a sugar rush followed by energy crash. And in worse, continued cases, can lead to type 2 diabetes, even though coffee itself has a diabetes preventive effect.
Like all the drinks on this list, there is no need to stop drinking them, but you should consider limiting your consumption of them.
You Use Artificial Sweeteners
Artificial sweeteners are arguably the biggest marketing scam of the century. While these are portrayed as a healthy, low-calorie option to ordinary sugar, they may be the reason you are gaining weight.
When it comes to artificial sweeteners, the research is conflicting. While it’s pretty agreed on that they are not good for you, there’s conflict whether they can make you gain weight. Some research shows that they do not, while other research suggests that artificial sweeteners can actually make you hold onto weight.
Overall, we think it’s healthier for you to consume a small amount of sugar, but remember, anything in excess can cause health problems.
How Can I Drink Coffee Without Gaining Weight?
While moderation is vital when it comes to sugar-filled drinks, you may not always fancy a plain old cup of black coffee.
In that case, you should consider the rich history of coffee, and ignore the flamboyant new types of coffee that chain coffee shops sell.
Here are a few delicious ways to enjoy coffee, that also consumed in moderation, will not make you gain weight:
- Espresso: If you need a kick of caffeine in the morning, try switching to an espresso shot. Many people think that espresso is the same as regular coffee, but that is not accurate. Espresso has a far richer taste because of the high pressure that is used to brew them. It’s delicious and incredibly strong.
- Latte: A latte contains two-thirds of steamed milk, a shot of espresso, and a layer of milk foam. It’s a deliciously creamy coffee. The great thing about lattes is that you get the creamy taste, without having to add cream itself. If you’re making coffee at home, you should consider buying a milk frother and swapping out frothed milk for cream.
- Cappuccino: A cappuccino contains one-third espresso, one-third steamed milk, and one-third milk foam. It’s fewer calories than a latte but is still creamy and delicious.
Some extra changes you can make when it comes to drinking coffee are the following:
- Brew your own coffee from home so you can control whats in it
- Add cinnamon to your coffee for a natural, low-calorie sweetener
- Use semi-skinned milk or unsweetened plant milk
- Add a drop of natural extracts, such as vanilla
While these are simple changes, they can dramatically affect your health and weight over time.
Ultimately, coffee does not make you gain weight. In fact, drinking 3-4 cups per day can have a very positive effect on the body. It’s debatable whether caffeine increases metabolism, or causes weight loss, with probably no effect.
Drinking coffee doesn’t really have a strong effect on suppressing appetite. The key is to consume less sugar and less saturated fats in your coffee which are definitely linked to weight gain.
Be mindful about what you consume, and you can happily enjoy your caffeinated beverage.
Coffee Has Never Read This Good!
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- About the Author
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“Jules” is a pharmacist by day and investor, writer, and health nut by night. When he’s not sipping on some coffee laced with MCT oil during an 18 hour fast, he is writing about how to get your coffee grind on or playing Monopoly with his 2 boys and wife. Ahh…life is good!