We’ve heard a lot of claims over the years about diets and fitness programmes, many of which can be quite faddish. The here today, gone tomorrow nature of these trends can make it quite tough to know exactly what to believe, or more specifically, what works.
Coffee And Weight Loss In The Media
In June 2019, the Independent carried a story linking coffee with weight loss, and that coverage fuelled a lot of the rumours at the time that coffee was some kind of magical weight loss solution.
The gist of the claim is that you have something called brown fat, which is linked to how your body maintains temperature. In particular, when you’re cold, the brown fat is said to generate heat as part of a process that involves burning sugar too, which sounds like the perfect way to lose weight – certainly more attractive than spending time in the gym, or starving yourself on some of the wacky diets that you hear celebrities promoting from time to time on social media.
Common Sense Prevails
Generally speaking, we need a good dose of common sense with all of these things. Does coffee help you lose weight? Quite possibly, yes, but almost certainly only under the right circumstances. If you drink your coffee with a big slice of cake, good for you, but it’s probably not going to help shed those pounds.
Similarly, black coffee in isolation is almost certainly going to be better than a full fat latte, simply by virtue of the number of calories in the drink itself.
Returning to the claim about coffee helping with weight loss, it’s a study that’s come from a respectable university (the School of Medicine in Nottingham), so there’s no reason to doubt its motives or accuracy. What’s not reported so clearly is the degree of weight loss it promotes. It’s highly unlikely to be a quick solution if you could do with losing more than a stone, at least not on its own. That brings us to where we thing coffee an really help.
Not All Black Coffee Is Created Equal
One of the things we know about bean to cup machines, not least from running this website for years, is that when people taste freshly made coffee it tastes so much better than instant. That’s not to bash instant coffee – it’s got its place on the kitchen counter of millions of homes that don’t enjoy coffee enough to invest in something better.
As a result of that step up in quality, there’s a good number of people that find they quite enjoy black coffee, whereas before it wasn’t the case that they’d even consider it. Typically, a cup of coffee without milk added contains just three or four calories, so it’s easy to see how that’s an easy change with a bean to cup coffee machine that might not be so easy with instant.
Behavioural change is a much more constructive way to lose weight that trying to find a secret diet – quite simply that’s similar to buying magic beans – it’s just not a real thing.
Remember Why You Gain Or Lose Weight
The main reason for gaining weight is consuming more calories than our bodies are using, and losing weight happens as a result of the balance tipping back the other way. Yes, there may be ways to subtly tip the balance in our favour, but overall, if you aren’t losing weight and want to, you either need to eat less or exercise more. Get that part nailed and you’re going to be on the right track.
Coffee can play a part in that, no doubt, but you need to keep focus on the bigger picture too – putting your faith in coffee at your local Starbucks and adding a big cake or cookie to your order is unlikely to be productive in your weight loss mission.
If You Love Coffee, Why Not Make It At Home And Save Money?
Instead, if you’ve got a great coffee machine at home, make the most of what you’ve paid for. Try a black coffee each day for a week and see if you like it once you’ve got use to it. That’s a few less calories in than the white one you’re used to, and use the change to cut out the snacks at the same time. In general, you’ll find the temptation tough to resist for a day or two, but the new normal often takes over surprisingly quickly.
If you’ve not got a coffee machine, why not have a look through our reviews and best deals page? A lot of people consider coffee machines expensive until they compare them to how much they spend in coffee shops, as the savings soon mount up when you can make them at home instead (and you can be the flash friend people love to visit).
Of course, the odd Starbucks with friends is a great thing too – and that can help with the exercise. Why not take a walk instead of jumping in the car next time?