While coffee may have once been presented as a vice, increasing numbers of studies have shown that a morning cup of coffee is a boon to health, rather than a detractor from health. Nevertheless, many of those studies have focused on black coffee, rather than evaluating how many people actually drink coffee, and how that morning coffee can be optimized to increase weight loss possibilities and improve health. Can you add foods items and supplements to coffee to improve your metabolic rate and generally improve the health benefits of this magical little bean?
First, let's discuss how exactly coffee and weight loss are related.
Does Coffee Lead to Weight Loss?
Although coffee consumption alone is not going to cause weight to magically melt off of anyone, clinical studies have demonstrated that the consumption of coffee can help reduce body weight. One study in particular did acknowledge that additional studies were needed, to determine how strong or weak the evidence actually is regarding the association between coffee consumption and weight loss.
Another study determined that consuming coffee (at a rate of 3 x 250 mL per day) was associated with decreases in body fat percentages for the duration of the study period. That same study also found that drinking coffee promoted feelings of fullness and increased satiety, and prompted protective effects for DNA. According to this trial, black coffee is valuable for a host of health benefits.
One meta-analysis compiled data from 12 different epidemiological studies. In conjunction with one another, these studies suggested that higher coffee intake could be (modestly) associated with a reduction in obesity, especially in men. This meta-analysis drew from these studies to determine whether or not coffee could be included as part of a comprehensive weight loss plan, and preliminary findings suggest that it is the case.
Studies evaluating the health effects of coffee have also found that coffee is rich in antioxidants, which are compounds known to offer substantial benefits to health. The benefits of coffee include weight loss, but also include some of the effects frequently associated with antioxidant-rich food and drink items, including improved cellular health.
Benefits of Adding Ingredients to Coffee for Weight Loss
As the aforementioned studies can attest, a cup of coffee can contribute to overall weight loss efforts. If you already have a cup of coffee in your hand, however, why not add in some natural ingredients to help with weight loss? Some ingredients may prove unpleasant to the taste, but many can be added to hot coffee or cold without a significant change to taste or texture.
What are the potential benefits of adding items to your morning cup of coffee? The most common benefits of adding fatty acids, spices, and more to your coffee may include:
- Increased metabolism
- Improved digestion
- Reduced cravings
- Appetite suppression
- Improved energy levels
- Improved focus and concentration
What to Add to Coffee for Weight Loss: 8 Things to Try
What could be better than reducing your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and even a high waist circumference every morning, all while enjoying something you likely already have as part of your morning routine? The presence of compounds that further support and magnify those efforts, of course! The most common additions to reduce caloric intake throughout the day include:
- Cinnamon is a frequent addition to cups of coffee, as it pairs so well with so many other flavors (coffee included). In addition to its delicious taste, however, cinnamon has been linked to lower blood sugar, decreased cholesterol, and fewer triglycerides.
Cinnamon is a spice that blends very well with coffee. Moreover, it can help lower blood sugar, cholesterol and triglycerides.
Ginger is a useful little root, both on its own and as an addition to coffee. The consumption of ginger on its own has been shown to promote feelings of satiety while increasing your metabolic rate. Ginger can be added to coffee during the brewing process or after, and can be combined with other flavors to create a robust flavor profile.
- Garcinia Cambogia
In years past, garcinia cambogia was given a great deal of weight as a powerhouse for weight loss, and although it does not receive the same level of notoriety it once did, it does still provide benefits for those looking to increase their health quotient. As a weight loss supplement, garcinia cambogia can be added to regular coffee without significantly masking or changing the taste of coffee to increase weight loss benefits.
- Coconut oil or milk
Coconut oil has been linked to increases in thermogenesis and satiety, and it has been argued that coconut oil and even coconut milk can support efforts to lose weight as a result of that increased thermogenesis and satiety. Because coconut oil (or MCT oil) is an oil, it is often better in iced coffee or coffee that has been blended, to avoid separation within the drink.
- Green tea extracts
Green tea is a true powerhouse of health improvements, including weight management. Just as the caffeine in coffee helps spur metabolic increases, the caffeine and catechin combination in green tea has been linked to beneficial effects on body weight management. We utilize the benefits of both through our product here, to harness the incredible benefits of green tea and coffee beverages, offering the rich taste and benefits of coffee for coffee drinkers alongside the long list of beneficial components found in green tea.
- Collagen peptides
Collagen peptides are tied to anti-obesity effects, recent studies found. Frequently singled out for their ability to improve the health of skin and joints, collagen peptides can easily be added to a morning cup of coffee (hot or cold) to reap a slew of potential health benefits including improved cardiovascular health, improved weight, and improved energy.
- Cocoa powder
While many consider cocoa powder an item best suited for a baking cabinet, it can be added to coffee to improve both the taste and the health benefits of coffee. Studies have shown that cocoa powder can actually reduce body fat, making it a tasty and useful addition to your daily coffee without the risk of health issues that can accompany high-sugar additions to coffee.
- While less conventional than some of the other options here, flaxseed is another food that has been tied to effective weight management. Placed in blended coffee drinks, flax seed can be a largely tasteless contribution to coffee, and flaxseed oil may be added to coffee without the gritty texture of the seeds themselves to contend with.
What Not to Add to Coffee for Weight Loss?
- Sugar and artificial sweeteners
For many, the thought of their morning coffee without added sugar and artificial sweeteners is unheard of, or non-negotiable. Unfortunately, both can lead to weight gain. Artificial sweeteners have been promoted as effective ways to fulfill sugar cravings without adverse effects, but increasing bodies of evidence have actually linked artificial sweeteners to increases in appetite, cravings, and eventual weight gain.
Instead of using these potentially unhealthy additions, you can use any of the components listed above, or simply add healthy milks to help temper the sharp bitterness or acidity of unsweetened and unflavored coffee.
While tasty, creamers are usually high in both calories and undesirable fats, which can lead to weight gain. They also usually have added sugars, which can further contribute to weight gain and even exacerbate some of the issues associated with high weight levels, such as inflammation. Homemade creamers can limit some of these unhealthy components, but still may add some problematic amounts of fats, carbohydrates, and sugars that hinder efforts to lose weight.
- Syrups, like creamers, are high in sugar and calories, which can lead to weight gain. While maple syrup and honey are often seen as natural (and therefore acceptable) sweeteners, they too contain high levels of sugar and calories, and can also negatively contribute to weight. Sugar free syrups and other flavored syrups may not contain the same levels of fat as creamers, but are still extremely high in sugars (or sugar alternatives) that can lead to weight gain.
Current evidence supports the idea that coffee can be a useful part of individuals' weight loss efforts. While most encourage people to consume coffee in moderation, or limit coffee to one cup of coffee per day in order to limit its negative effects, many of those guidelines do not take into account the benefits of coffee consumption, and the most effective and healthy ways to consume coffee as a health-supporting beverage. Like tea and cocoa, coffee has often been derided as a problem, but can actually be a rich source of health and a reliable source of energy, provided that it is consumed responsibly and as part of a healthy, weight loss-centered diet, rather than as a high-sugar drink or a meal replacement.
Many of the "side effects" of coffee (think jittery feelings, withdrawals when coffee is removed, and damage to sleep schedule) can be mitigated by concurrent food intake and responsible consumption practices. With a half life of approximately five hours, coffee should not be consumed as a later afternoon drink, to prevent coffee-instigated lack of sleep. Coffee should also be imbibed as part of a meal, rather than drinking in isolation, and can be combined with other healthy items (such as coconut oil) to increase the intake of healthy fats and reduce the likelihood of a spike in cortisol and subsequent dependence.
On its own, coffee can be an excellent addition to increase weight loss, but when used as a partner with other health-boosting and weight-loss-boosting foods and supplements like green tea, coffee can be an even stronger aid for weight loss. As a commonly consumed beverage, many find it easy enough to add coffee to their daily routine, and enjoy a small boost in metabolism even in the absence of other changes. While coffee cannot help drinkers "outrun" a diet high in unhealthy ingredients or a sedentary lifestyle, it can be a useful and beneficial component in an overall weight maintenance and health supporting diet.