Drinking two or three cups of coffee every day can reduce both total body fat and belly fat in women and older people, a study has found.
Coffee owes its anti-obesity effect to many active compounds such as caffeine, polyphenols, diterpenes, and chlorogenic acids.
Previous studies have found that body temperature will typically increase for at least 3 hours after drinking caffeinated coffee, making the body burn more calories.
The active ingredients, such as caffeine, cause a stimulation in the metabolic rate and so enhances fat burning.
One study suggests that the difference in reactions to caffeine in men and women could be related to steroid hormone circulation.
Sex steroid hormones are important in regulating the amount of fat (adipose tissues) and how these tissues are spread within the body.
This appears to be the case as the new study suggests that daily coffee drinking decreases central obesity or abdominal obesity in women and the elderly.
This greater effect of fat loss in women compared to men is probably related to the regulation of sex steroids.
Age affect the levels of hormones, since women between 20- and 44-years-old who drank coffee two or three times each day had the lowest levels of abdominal obesity (a high concentration of fat in the abdominal area).
They had 3.4 percent less abdominal fat than those who didn’t drink.
Women who were between 45- to 69-years-old had to increase the level of coffee to at least four cups a day to get similar results in losing belly fat.
Overall, women of all ages who consumed two or or three cups of coffee a day had a reduction of body fat of 2.8 percent.
Drinking coffee also had an positive outcome on men but the weight loss effect wasn’t as strong as it was for women.
Men who were between 20- to 40-years-old who consumed coffee two or three times daily had 1.8 percent less trunk fat and a reduction of total body fat of 1.3 percent.
Dr Lee Smith, the study’s Senior author, said:
“Our research suggests that there may be bioactive compounds in coffee other than caffeine that regulate weight and which could potentially be used as anti-obesity compounds.
It could be that coffee, or its effective ingredients, could be integrated into a healthy diet strategy to reduce the burden of chronic conditions related to the obesity epidemic.
It is important to interpret the findings of this study in light of its limitations — the study was at a specific point in time so trends cannot be established.
However, we don’t believe that someone’s weight is likely to influence their coffee consumption.”
About the author
Mina Dean is a Nutritionist and Food Scientist. She holds a BSc in Human Nutrition and an MSc in Food Science.
The study was published in The Journal of Nutrition (Cao et al., 2020).