Who doesn’t love a good cup of joe?
It seems like there is always a new article or view-point on coffee. It’s cancer-fighting one week and the next, it’s a prime suspect for alzheimer’s. The public opinion on java is as muddy as truck stop joe.
My hope for this article is that it helps you feel better about your coffee addiction. Just kidding. For real though, I hope it helps you to know the benefits of coffee and the amount and type to drink.
Increased fat burning
Could coffee be the magical bean Dr. Oz has been looking for all along? Maybe so. A study done in the summer of 2015 linked coffee ingestions (in low doses) to increased fat oxidation.
The study paired low-intensity aerobic exercise with either a cup of coffee or hot water. The coffee drinkers preferentially burned fat when measured 30 minutes after exercise.
Hunger and food consumption are intricate psychological and physiological processes. Conventional wisdom leads us to think if we are less hungry, we will eat less.
Coffee has been shown help to suppress appetite. It increases the fullness hormone, peptide YY. Interestingly, decaf coffee worked even better than the caffeinated variety. Drinking caffeine in liquid did nothing to affect hunger or hormone levels. It seems a component in the actual coffee bean unrelated to caffeine is responsible for the appetite changes.
Hydroxycut and other “fat-burners” are a total scam. They typically contain high amounts of caffeine and a haphazard array of vitamins. Hydroxycut (likely due to its excessively high caffeine content) has been linked to instances of exertional rhabdomyolysis(read: painful overtraining), ventricular tachycardia (anxiety attack, anyone?), and even ulcerative colitis (Inflammation in the gut).
You’re best to stick with a cupa’ joe. Coffee will help to increase the effectiveness of your workouts and leave your intestines in tact.
You can go harder
A 2013 study found that both caffeine (in pill form) and coffee increased endurance performance as compared to decaf coffee or a placebo in trained endurance athletes.
This could be a problem. If you drink too much of the go juice, you’ll push yourself harder than your body may be ready to work. In other words, caffeine, in high amounts, blunts our ability to be in tune with our body. A cup before a workout will give you the right amount of caffeine without the crazy.
What is Supergirl’s pre-workout drink of choice? You guessed it: Coffee. Black.
A 2015 study found that the go juice (and straight caffeine) increase the amount of weight one can lift during the leg press. Before you hit the gym, be like Supergirl and down some joe to have better performance.
As with endurance training, you want to avoid loading up on too much caffeine in any form before lifting; it can enable you to push yourself harder than your body is read for. This can lead to overtraining and burnout.
Java may even help decrease pain. A study done on sufferers of shoulder pain found that when subjects drank coffee before performing a painful task, they experienced less pain than the non-coffee group.
But doesn’t coffee cause dehydration?
Nope. A 2014 study compared drinking coffee to water in 50 male java-sippers. They found no difference in hydration levels in the urine or blood when the men were tested. I recommend water be the first thing to graze your lips in the morning. Down a glass first thing when you wake up.
This also doesn’t mean we drop good ol’ H2O the rest of the day. We still need to have a steady stream of water going into our system during the day.
When should I drink coffee?
If the first thing you do in the morning, after waking up, is coffee in your cup, stop. Coffee isn’t the best part of waking up. Well, maybe it is. But it shouldn’t be the first.
Often our first, bleary-eyed, thought in the morning is to get that cupped lightning and start the day with a bang.
The problem is cortisol, the stress hormone. You know, the one that gets accused of making people fat. Within the the first hour of waking, our cortisol levels are high. This is a good thing; the elevated cortisol levels help our brain and body wake up. Drinking coffee has been shown to keep cortisol levels elevated.
We want our cortisol levels to trend downward the a.m. Wait an hour or two before downing your joe. Go through your morning routine, get ready, make your food for the day, and maybe even hit a bodyweight workout.
Other coffee tips
Nix coffee and all other caffeine 10 hours before bed to ensure you get a good night’s rest.
Drink coffee in its purest form: black. If you just can’t do the brew au naturale, doctor it up with almond milk or cinnamon instead of creamer.
Make your intake consistent. When your intake is steady, your body adjusts. If you drink two cups of wakey-juice one day and four the next, your hormone levels will see an unpleasant flux.
More isn’t better. All the benefits can be erased if you overdo it. For a 150-pound-woman, the recommended caffeine intake is about 400 mg (two cups of coffee).
If you don’t feel well when drinking coffee, you get stomach issues, you feel jittery, or other side effects, put down the java. You’re better off without it.
- Adrian B. Hodgson, Rebecca K. Randell, Asker E. Jeukendrup The Metabolic and Performance Effects of Caffeine Compared to Coffee during Endurance Exercise Published: April 3, 2013 http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0059561
- Kazumichi Kurobe1,*, Saori Nakao2, Masato Nishiwaki3 and Naoyuki Matsumoto2 Combined effect of coffee ingestion and repeated bouts of low-intensity exercise on fat oxidation. Article first published online: 17 JUL 2015
- Sophie C. Killer, Andrew K. Blannin Asker E. Jeukendrup. No Evidence of Dehydration with Moderate Daily Coffee Intake: A Counterbalanced Cross-Over Study in a Free-Living Population. Published: January 9, 2014
- MAJ Melinda L. Carol , MC USA. Hydroxycut Weight Loss Dietary Supplements: A Contributing Factor in the Development of Exertional Rhabdomyolysis in Three U.S. Army Soldiers.
- Vernon Sivarajah, Quddus Abdul, Helen Pardoe, and Peter Lunniss. Ulcerative colitis associated with the herbal weight loss supplement Hydroxycut.
- Anna Gavrieli5, Mary Yannakoulia5,8,*, Elizabeth Fragopoulou5,Dimitris Margaritopoulos5, John P. Chamberland6, Panagiota Kaisari5,Stavros A. Kavouras5, and Christos S. Mantzoros6,7. Caffeinated Coffee Does Not Acutely Affect Energy Intake, Appetite, or Inflammation but Prevents Serum Cortisol Concentrations from Falling in Healthy Men1,2,3,4
- Tamara Bakuradzea, et. al. Four-week coffee consumption affects energy intake, satiety regulation, body fat, and protects DNA integrity. Food Research International. Volume 63, Part C, September 2014, Pages 420–427. 2nd Conference on Coffee Cocoa and Tea Science (CoCoTea2013)