Can Drinking Espresso Help You Lose Weight?
Many have asked this. I am hardly the first, but I’m asking it now.
I’ve enjoyed tea all my life; primarily white tea for anti-cancer, because I’ve always found coffee too bitter. I grew up in a family of constant coffee drinkers, who tried a number of additives to seduce me into enjoying coffee, but it never worked and just added calories.
Who isn’t concerned about losing weight? I certainly am. Being a therapist, I sit on my bottom most of the day, with clients often back to back and hours of paperwork, treatment plans and process notes, not to mention blog & web maintenance, afterward. What, you thought we just got to listen, intervene and go home? Not a chance.
Recently I had an eye opening experience in Williams Sonoma when an employee offered me coffee and I refused, telling him I’ve never liked it. That challenged him, as he asked if he could please make me his own favorite pod choice, as he was sure I’d like it? I tried, but failed, to politely decline. This charming young man made me a cappuccino, which was actually good. As unknowledgeable as I am, I didn’t realize it was actually an espresso with some low fat steamed milk. He claimed that Nespresso made the best coffee pods, many quite mild in taste, and the pod process makes it a no brainer even for people like me or those in a rush or who live with someone who prefers different tasting espresso.
This tasting experience was pleasantly surprising, but I didn’t think much of it until later in the day when I realized it was several hours past lunch and I was neither hungry nor tired. It must have been the cappuccino, as that is very unusual for me.
That experience sparked my curiosity and started me on considerable research, including trying the drink as plain espresso at Sur La Table with no milk. Again it was good. I also tried Starbucks, whose employee told me firmly there is no such thing as a milder tasting espresso; theirs wasn’t as good and neither was another coffee store I tried – the same with Keurig pods at my bank.
My research turned up conflicting claims about whether coffee can help with weight loss. There are many studies that show it does, others show decaf beats regular for that purpose, and some show no help. I concluded, after a few hours of work on this, that the effect of caffeine varies by the individual.
Few argue that caffeine affects the peptide PYY, found in the lower bowel/intestine, lowering appetite and also the peptide Leptin, found in (fat) tissue (primarily) as well as GI tract & other places, reduces hunger. No studies, as yet, seem to show exactly why that is or exactly how coffee helps some people lose weight.
Clearly it is a stimulant. Besides waking us up in the morning, or perking us up in the afternoon, the pluses seemingly agreed on are decreased risk of type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease, plus tea has been linked to lower risk for some cancers, which is why I’ve used iced white tea and hot Earl’s Grey for so many years.
However, too much coffee or caffeine can also have numerous negative effects, which most of us are well aware of. Coffee might increase the risk for heart disease in some, and coffee is subject to addictive abuse, which is how my father used it.
I wondered: If coffee can reduce appetite and increase energy in most people, and if most folks use caffeine, then why are folks in the US getting so fat? Many sources claimed it was because many developed a habit of piling on the sugar, cream, flavorings, etc. in the drink and also having sweets and white carbs with the cuppa Joe. Maybe that explains it.
One medical affiliated article suggested using 23andme DNA testing to see if one’s markers showed a likely tendency for coffee to become a problem, or even addictive. Since I had ordered a report from them only last month, here’s what I found:
“Caffeine Consumption: Find it hard to keep those eyes open in the morning without that cup of coffee? Always have a cup of tea or a can of Coca Cola nearby? You’re not alone. 90% of people consume caffeine on a daily basis worldwide, making it the most commonly used stimulant. Tea is most popular, but coffee is more commonly consumed in developed countries, with 150 million regular coffee drinkers in the United States alone. Besides giving us a kick start in the morning, coffee consumption has been linked to decreased risk of type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease, and tea has been linked to lower risk for some cancers. However, too much coffee or caffeine can also have negative effects. Coffee consumption may also increase the risk for heart disease in slow metabolizers of caffeine.” This is a direct quote from my 23andme page, which shows my caffeine consumption and risk of Genotype CC is average, with no expected problems “on average”.
I realize everyone’s body and metabolism is different. It’s also possible that the positive effect I’ve experienced will wear off.
So, what am I going to do? I will likely buy the Pixie Nespresso machine and Aerocino (milk frother). Their offerings of the milder espresso blends were clearly better than the others I tried – for my taste buds.
What are your thoughts?
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