I don’t know about you but what’s better than the smell of freshly roasted coffee first thing in the morning? I know I love it
and I’m amongst thousands of others up and down the country who like to wake up to that first coffee. It has had a bit of
a bad rap in recent years but used wisely it can be extremely beneficial.
How’s that? I hear you say.
Can it really help you burn more calories AND lose fat?
A simple cup of coffee can actually help you lose fat, it's loaded with compounds that have been shown to:
- increase metabolic rate
- make you more efficient at burning fat
- improve exercise performance
- increase satiety (the feeling of being full)
- and supress cravings
............. and that can only be a good thing! Even with good diets and training programs, our bodies ‘fight’ to keep us at certain body-fat levels and this is often referred to as ‘body fat set point’ (the point at which you tend to stabilise in bodyweight).
Coffee can help fight this set point by increasing the metabolism, helping you to burn more calories even when you're not training. In studies, the metabolic rate of those consuming caffeinated coffee was raised 3 to 11% for three hours post consumption as opposed to drinking decaf which for obvious reasons had no effect!
And there’s more......
Now this bit may get a little ‘sciencey’ but please bear with me as it’s important.
Chlorogenic acids (CGAs) found in coffee which are basically compounds, known as antioxidants, have been shown to ‘slow the release of glucose’ (that’s sugar) into the bloodstream after a meal. In studies feeding rats CGA, the plasma glucose dependent insulinotropic peptide (GIP) response was blunted and had a lower peak blood glucose concentration 180 minutes after a meal. GIP is glucagonotropic, meaning it encourages the production of glucagon – a hormone that promotes the breakdown of glycogen and conversion to glucose and to a certain extent hormones are the key to fat loss. This is beneficial for people trying to get lean because glucagon initiates neural signaling to your brain that contributes to satiety.
So what about Caffeine and Training?
During the later stages of most fat-loss diets, the hypocaloric (ie reduction in calories) effect tends to cause
fatigue and a feeling of slight weakness when training. Caffeine ingestion leads to increased rates of lipolysis which is glycogen sparring, allowing you to improve your time before exhaustion. Meaning you can train harder for longer and there are plenty of studies to back this up. It also promotes catecholamine release (neurotransmitters such as epinephrine and dopamine) which help you cope with the stress created from exercise. Well-trained individuals have a higher capacity for catecholamine release than untrained individuals in response to physical exercise across intensity levels, which partly accounts for their higher levels of physical performance during tests. Even if you're not yet a well-trained athlete, increased catecholamine release from caffeine will allow you to train at a higher level than you would otherwise.
So which coffee do you choose?
Robusta has been shown to have a bit more caffeine and chlorogenicacid (compounds that slow the release of glucose) than Arabica, but both have enough to provide beneficial effects with Aribica having a better taste generally while Robusta is usually reserved for espresso. The roasting process of coffee decomposes chlorogenic acid. The longer you roast the more you lose, so stick to a medium roast and you'll be able to keep about 50% of coffee's chlorogenic acid component.
It's ALL about the bean!
When and How Many?
Different people have different levels of sensitivity to caffeine. The longer you drink it and the more you drink the less sensitive you become. For fat loss and hunger suppression, ‘cycle’ caffeine to make its effects more pronounced during your fat loss phase. Basically this means ‘try and only use it when in the last stages of a fat loss program’. I drink mine black before a training session and make it in a café tier from good quality ground coffee.
Another method is to use a good quality fat burning supplement such as Liberate Define. This contains caffeine amongst other fat burning properties in an easy to take capsule. I like coffee so that’s why I tend to drink mine. Don’t have any too late in the day as coffee has a half-life of about 8hrs which means it stays in your system for quite a while after ingesting. Cut all other forms of caffeine out as well such as diet sodas which have no nutritional value whatsoever and shouldn’t be in your program. Coffee when used wisely can be another ‘weapon’ in your arsenal against the war on body fat!