One aspect of social media is the ability to spread news fast. This especially rings true when it comes to research studies that show the health benefits of things that many of us do. In the case of coffee consumption, 74% of Americans drink this beverage daily. So, when a study came out linking coffee intake to weight loss, the news spread like wildfire.
Before you start spending more money at Starbucks, let’s dig into the details of the study to see just how impactful coffee consumption is for shedding weight. The study was published on October 1 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. This large study included 48,891 people from the Nurses’ Health Study, 83,464 people from the Nurses’ Health Study II, and 22,863 people from the Health Professional Follow-up Study. All participants were asked to fill out questionnaires regarding their food and beverage consumption during the past year as well as over the next four years.
Data was collected for how much coffee they drank — both caffeinated and decaf, as well as what they chose to add to it. The researchers then analyzed the data to determine what relationships existed between coffee intake and people’s weight throughout the course of the study.
The results? They found that an increase in coffee consumption of one cup of unsweetened coffee was linked to a decrease in weight of around 0.12 kilograms (0.26 pounds). On the other hand, when people increased their daily sugar intake by one teaspoon in any food or drink, they gained 0.09 kilograms (0.20 pounds).
So, basically the conclusion of the study was that drinking an extra cup of unsweetened coffee a day could result in “weight loss”. BUT…the amount of weight loss? MINIMAL. The most likely reason for the weight loss is the extra caffeine intake. Caffeine is linked to a higher fat burning impact.
My take on all of this: If someone is seeking to shed 10, 20, 30 or more pounds, believing that drinking more coffee will help you with this is a mistaken thought process. Now, if a person drank coffee instead of the 2-3 glasses of wine they had been drinking daily, yep, lots of weight loss will occur…but it ain’t the coffee, but rather the elimination of alcohol.
Despite social media and other news outlets promulgating sensationalistic stories, in the weight control arena, there is never “magic” to be found. Dedicated focus on dietary and behavioral changes are needed to achieve long-term weight control.
And I will end this entry with ‘Ol Blue Eyes” (aka Frank Sinatra) singing “The Coffee Song”.