Modern society puts an endless amount of pressure on us to lose weight every day. It's a constant struggle to fight those pounds while multinational corporations are shoving nothing but processed sugars down our throats.
It makes sense, then, that there are hundreds of different diets and thousands of different weight loss products on the market. If you can dream it up, there's probably a weight loss version of it. We've seen weight loss candy, weight loss cake, and weight loss jerky.
Now, one of the most recent weight loss fad products is weight loss coffee.
Coffee, you say? Coffee is full of sugar and cream, how can a beverage like that possibly help you lose weight? And, indeed, if you look up weight loss coffee online, you'll see two things. First, people selling it. Second, people calling it a scam.
Is weight loss coffee a scam? No, not really. Like any product, there are scammers trying to make a quick buck, but there's some truth to the product as well. Let's talk about it.
Does Coffee Have Weight Loss Benefits?
First, let's talk about coffee in general. Does coffee, as a standard, basic product, have any possible weight loss benefits? The answer is yes, potentially.
Coffee itself is little more than a ground bean steeped in water. The primary active ingredient, and the reason most people drink coffee, is the caffeine in the resulting beverage. Caffeine is known to have weight loss benefits, though it's not without a few side effects.
Coffee is also a very calorie-light beverage. A standard cup of plain coffee is basically just water; it has few if any calories at all.
The problem comes when you're taking your coffee with additives. If you're adding milk, a flavored creamer, sugar, or any of those fancy syrups or whipped creams or whatever you get at Starbucks, you're destroying any value the coffee might have. One cup of coffee on its own might help you burn a few dozen calories, but if you add in 300 calories worth of additives, you're taking in more than you're losing. You'll never lose weight with those fancy frappuccinos or white coffees.
Is Weight Loss Coffee a Real Thing?
That's all about regular coffee. What about weight loss coffee? Is weight loss coffee a real thing, and if so, what is it?
There are two different kinds of coffee we've seen labeled weight loss coffee. The first is simply coffee, but a specific kind of coffee. Specifically, light roast coffee. There are two benefits to light roast coffee:
- It's not as bitter or stale-tasting as dark roast coffee, which means you're less likely to want to add in milk, creamer, sugar, or other flavor additives that ruin the value of the beverage.
- It's high in phenols. Phenols are a type of antioxidant found in coffee that are beneficial to the body and help you lose weight. These phenols are destroyed in dark roasts.
High-phenol coffee can help reduce insulin production, which helps restrict the body's ability to store fat, and boost its ability to burn what fat you already have. Some phenols present in light roast coffee can also help inhibit carbohydrate absorption, for further weight loss. And, of course, the caffeine content helps energize and boost your metabolism.
The second type of weight loss coffee is called augmented coffee. These kinds of coffee products are typically based on a light roast coffee, so they're already starting out high in phenols. However, they also have additional additives, like green tea extract, ginseng powder, garcinia cambogia, spirulina, chlorella, glucomannan, and other ingredients.
You probably recognize at least a handful of those ingredients. Many of them have either beneficial nutritional properties, or are appetite suppressants and fat inhibitors. On their own, they may have a varying level of benefit, but when taken all together, they can form a kind of superfood to help you lose weight.
What Ingredients Are in Weight Loss Coffee?
Weight loss coffee – the real stuff, not just the high-phenol coffee – comes loaded with a bunch of supplements you typically find in weight loss pills and other products.
The specific range of ingredients varies, but here's what you'll typically find.
- Phenols. Phenols found in light-roast coffee (seen in the molecule above), often used as a base for weight loss coffee drinks, help boost metabolism, increase fat burning, and reduce caloric uptake.
- Caffeine. Caffeine is one of the most common weight loss supplements because it gives you energy and stimulates your metabolism. This is found in all non-decaf coffee drinks, so it's not specific to weight loss coffees.
- Yerba Mate. This plant, usually found as a tea ingredient or supplement, is rich in antioxidants and helps boost the metabolism. It also includes caffeine as a component.
- Garcinia Cambogia. This plant native to India is used as a food flavoring and weight loss supplement. It suppresses appetite and inhibits fat storage.
- Green Tea Extract. Green tea is already known to be a great beverage, so adding an extract of it to your weight loss coffee gives you much of the benefits of both in one. It's high in antioxidants and phenols, as well as catechins that regulate hormones.
- Siberian Ginseng. This root is called an adaptogen, which is thought to help regulate stress and keep kidneys healthy. Not to be confused with other forms of ginseng.
- Fennel. Fennel is a culinary herb with relations to carrots and anise. As a supplement, it has a range of nutrients and vitamins that help the body in a myriad different ways.
- Spirulina. Spirulina is a type of algae that is cultivated as a health supplement. It's packed with protein for its mass, as well as a whole bunch of useful vitamins and minerals.
- Chlorella. Similar to Spirulina, Chlorella is another algae used as a supplement. It is, again, packed with vitamins and other nutrients you'll find beneficial to your body.
- Whey. Whey protein is used to add bulk to a beverage, which has the added benefit of making you feel full without having to eat as much. In a weight loss beverage like this, it's used as an appetite suppressant.
- Glucomannan. This ingredient is a kind of dietary fiber supplement. Much like Whey, this helps you feel full after drinking your weight loss coffee, suppressing the urge to snack or eat fattier, less wholesome foods.
- Ascorbic Acid. This is a water-soluble and thus easily absorbed version of Vitamin C, which helps keep you healthy and is used in a variety of bodily processes.
- Zinc Citrate. This is an easily-absorbed version of Zinc, which is widely used throughout the body and is a critical mineral for health.
- Nicotinamide. Not to be confused with nicotine, this ingredient is actually niacin, a form of Vitamin B3 that is commonly used as a supplement and has beneficial nutritional effects.
These are just some of the ingredients we've found in various weight loss coffee products out there. Different products will have different amounts and different selections of these ingredients. For example, a decaf version of a weight loss coffee will eliminate ingredients like Yerba Mate, which include caffeine themselves.
As with any supplement or health food you want to start using, make sure to check the ingredients of the product you're buying. Always know what you're consuming to the best of your ability.
The Benefits of Weight Loss Coffee
So what are the benefits of a weight loss coffee? Well, weight loss, for one. Assuming you're taking the product correctly, and you're combining it with dietary changes and exercise, you can use it as a supplement to help you lose weight.
Other benefits may include:
- Reduced appetite. Many different ingredients in weight loss coffee are meant to suppress your natural appetite, so you have less desire to snack when you're not actually hungry. Additionally, the fiber and protein in some ingredients helps fill you up and make you feel fuller for longer, to reduce how much you eat later.
- Reduced sugar intake. Weight loss coffees tend to be relatively sweat and light rather than the dark bitterness of a dark roast coffee. This means you're less likely to pack it full of sugars just to make it tolerable to drink.
- Boosted energy. Caffeine gives you energy in a semi-artificial way, but many other ingredients in a weight loss coffee also have energy-boosting properties, even just getting vitamins your body needs.
- Increased vitamin and mineral intake. There's a reason multivitamins are so popular; no one ever seems to get the right array of nutrients from their diets alone these days. A supplement-infused coffee can help boost your intake of key nutrients to make you feel healthier.
In addition to all of the above, there's a certain element of convenience. If you're already taking a variety of weight loss pills or supplements, and you're already having coffee in the morning or throughout the day, why not combine the two? A weight loss coffee allows you to dial back or stop the other supplements, since you're getting them in your coffee already.
How to Take Weight Loss Coffee Safely
If you're interested in taking a weight loss coffee, you need to do it correctly. Here are some tips you'll want to consider.
Make sure you're getting a real weight loss coffee. There are a lot of people out there picking up on the fad of weight loss coffee and trying to sell their own products, when those products are nothing more than basic coffee, or even coffee with extra caffeine added to it. While the caffeine does have some beneficial properties for weight loss, it's not the only ingredient in a real weight loss coffee. Don't find yourself spending $50+ for something that should only cost you $10 based on the ingredients.
Make sure you aren't drinking too much. Weight loss coffee products include some ingredients you should avoid over-consuming. Things like vitamins and minerals are not likely to cause any issues with an overdose, but caffeine in particular can be detrimental if you drink too much of it. If the coffee product has usage instructions, follow them. Don't simply replace your five-cups-a-day with weight loss coffee and assume you're going to be fine.
Be aware of any sensitivities you might have to ingredients. Caffeine is the big boogeyman here. In large doses it can cause jitters, and withdrawal can lead to headaches and other negative symptoms. Other ingredients, such as the algae products, are allergens that some people are sensitive to. Make sure you know your own body and how it reacts to the ingredients in the coffee you're using.
Combine your weight loss coffee with healthy habits to improve your weight naturally. Replacing a cream-and-sugar packed coffee with a weight loss coffee is a good place to start, but it won't help you truly melt off the pounds. For that, you're going to need to make other healthy dietary changes, like cutting out processed sugars and carbs, as well as picking up some form of exercise. Weight loss coffee is most effective when consumed shortly before working out.
Avoid people who are trying to get you to sell the coffee as well as use it. This shouldn't have to be said, but there are plenty of people out there selling a weight loss coffee product as something you buy and re-sell to other people. These are most often pyramid schemes. If you're buying the product for anything more than your own use, be very careful that you're not losing money or being swayed by promises that will never come to fruition.
And, of course, discontinue use if you experience any significant side effects of the weight loss coffee product. Losing a few pounds isn't worth hurting your liver or other organs.