You might have heard that caffeine will speed up your metabolism and help you lose weight, or that it functions as a diuretic, causing at least short-term water weight loss. These things are true. But is it a good long-term weight tool?
Let’s look at the diuretic property of caffeine. It’s true that you’ll lose a little water weight with 500 mg of caffeine a day. But you won’t lose any fat. And you might end up with a potassium deficiency. So, unless you’re a wrestler who needs to make weight in a particular category, using caffeine as a diuretic is not a good strategy.
As for the speeding up of your metabolism, that’s called thermogenesis. Caffeine and certain spices (e.g. cayenne pepper) work the same way, making your heart race and your metabolism work to burn more calories. But it isn’t going to lead to any significant weight loss.
In excess, caffeine is well-known for causing sleeplessness, heart palpitations, anxiety, irritability and addiction. For serious coffee drinkers, it’s easy to take in too much caffeine. Five or more cups a day will put you over the 500 mg line. And that doesn’t count the caffeine you take in with diet sodas and chocolate. For most people, 300-500 mg/day is where caffeine turns from being generally safe to being problematic.
But people’s reaction to caffeine vary. And it’s common to build up a tolerance for caffeine, so you don’t feel the effects as readily if you’ve been consuming a lot of it over a long period of time. In addition, depending on your weight, you may be able to tolerate a larger amount of caffeine without experiencing the negative effects.
Caffeine isn’t an effective tool for weight loss, but it can have other positive effects, if limited to 2-3 cups a day. At those levels, it can increase general alertness and improve one’s ability to remember new information.
For healthy, sustainable weight loss, take a look at the Spatz3 adjustable gastric balloon. Partnered with a healthy diet under the care of a nutritionist and a strategy for adding movement to your life, it’s a much healthier way to go.
Rebeca Espinoza writes about health, fitness and weight loss for Spatz Medical, makers of the Spatz3 Adjustable Gastric Balloon. You can find her on Google+ or at firstname.lastname@example.org.