is coffee good for weight loss and health

When it comes to fitness, health, diet and weight loss, opinions are all over the map. This is partially due to the fact that there is so much money to be made in the diet and health industry, so misinformation and disinformation abound.

When one business, company or individual has a diet or diet product they want to sell, they will generally try and discredit the diet advice of competitors. This can make things very confusing for consumers who just want to try and eat a healthy diet.

One thing that is certain, however, is that whole, natural foods that humans have been eating for centuries will almost assuredly be better for you than something that comes in a powder, packet or tablet. One food that has been debated over for decades is coffee.

Because coffee contains caffeine, it can have both positive and beneficial effects as well as negative effects in certain situations. The answer to whether coffee is good for you or not is dependent on several factors.

Here are some points to consider when deciding whether to include coffee as a part of a healthy diet plan or to aid weight loss.

Is Coffee Healthy or Unhealthy? 

Coffee, like most food, is neither healthy nor unhealthy in and of itself. It can have some positive health benefits or have a negative impact on health depending on how it is consumed. 

An image of  a cup filled with black coffee

The main ingredient in coffee that has many concerned is caffeine. Caffeine is a mild stimulant that can have many positive health benefits, such as suppressing appetite and speeding up your metabolism. For this reason, caffeine is one of the most common ingredients in most diet supplements.

That being said, however, it is important to limit or regulate the amount of caffeine you ingest. For instance, there are a number of other foods and beverages that also contain caffeine.

Having a few cups of coffee each day can have an overall positive impact on your health, but not if you also combine it with several sugary sodas that also contain caffeine throughout the day.

Additionally, drinking a cup (or several cups) of plain black coffee is very different from drinking a giant latte or several cups of espresso. Coffee by itself is essentially just flavored water, it has no fat or calories when consumed plain.

When you start adding milk, cream, sugar, syrups and/ or other sweeteners, however, then it can have a more negative impact on diet and health.

Is It Bad to Have Coffee Every Day? 

No, in a word, it is not bad to have coffee every day. There again, however, you have to consider what you put in your coffee and/ or how much coffee you are drinking every day.

Having a cup or two of plain, black coffee every day can be beneficial. Having a giant latte filled with fat and sugar may not be. In addition, plain, black coffee has a much lower caffeine content than espresso, so drinking several espressos each day will have a different impact than one or two cups of plain, black coffee.

This does not mean you can only drink plain, black coffee to be healthy, it just means you have to consider the difference between plain, black coffee and coffee with added fats and sweeteners when considering the health risks and benefits.

What Are the Negative Effects of Coffee? 

The main negative effect of coffee is simply drinking too much of it. Having a few cups of coffee in the morning can be beneficial because a small dose of caffeine in the morning can help give you an extra boost of energy and kick-start your day. 

An image of a coffee beans with orange color cup and saucer

That being said, caffeine is also an appetite suppressant, which can make it more difficult to remember to eat a good breakfast in the morning.

The word breakfast itself means to "break the fast" and it is an important part of a good, healthy diet. Your body "fasts" as it sleeps and shuts down metabolic function, including digestion. It needs food to get it kick-started back up again in the morning, so by skipping breakfast, you could actually be sabotaging your dietary efforts.

Be careful that you are not simply substituting coffee in the morning for a good, healthy breakfast.

Caffeine can also help you think more clearly and give your brain a boost. There too, however, too much of a good thing might not be. Caffeine is no substitute for a good night's sleep.

If you need a single cup of coffee in the afternoon to give you a little boost, that is unlikely to be an issue. If you find yourself on a never-ending quest for the coffee pot just to stay awake each day, that is an issue.

One last problem with caffeine is that it can actually keep you from getting the sleep that you need to keep you from needing too much coffee. Caffeine can build up in your system, so if you are hitting the coffee hard late in the day to stay awake, it can also keep you up at night.

When you aren't getting enough sleep, you are going to become more dependent on coffee to keep you awake. Drinking too much coffee can create a negative cycle that can be hard to break out of.

Is Caffeine Good for Weight Loss?

Caffeine can be excellent for weight loss since it both suppresses appetite and speeds up metabolism. That being said, however, it only has a positive impact when taken in moderation. 

For instance, if you drink a few cups of coffee in the morning and remember to eat a healthy breakfast, it can be highly beneficial. If drinking coffee keeps you from eating breakfast, however, you could actually be sabotaging your own weight loss attempts.

If you drink coffee in addition to taking diet pills containing caffeine, however, it can become destructive. When you ingest too many foods or products containing caffeine you can actually overdose on caffeine. Some of the more mild symptoms of caffeine overdose include:

  • Dizziness
  • Diarrhea
  • Increased thirst
  • Insomnia
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Irritability

Most of these symptoms will clear up fairly quickly if you simply stop ingesting caffeine. If you continue to ingest high doses of caffeine, however, you can develop much more severe symptoms that can lead to actual life-threatening health issues.

These more serious symptoms include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Vomiting
  • Hallucinations
  • Confusion
  • Chest Pain
  • Irregular or increased heartbeat
  • Uncontrollable muscle movements or spasms
  • Convulsions

If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to seek medical treatment immediately. It is also important to note that babies and children are much more susceptible to the effects of caffeine, so it is not recommended that women who are breastfeeding drink coffee or ingest caffeine and it is also never a good idea to give coffee to children.

It is not necessarily even a good idea for teens to drink coffee, thanks to some of the effects of caffeine.

Which Coffee Is Best for Weight Loss?

Plain, black coffee is always going to be the best for weight loss because when you start adding in fat and calories via milk, cream or sweeteners, you may be sabotaging your dietary attempts. It should also be noted that coffee is not a "diet" product in and of itself.

While coffee may help you stick to a healthy diet, it has not been shown to have any long-term positive effects on weight maintenance.

For instance, if you get the craving for a sugary snack in the afternoon, having a cup of coffee may take away the craving for the snack and be better for you than the snack. It will not, however, have any specific benefit long term.

If you look around, you will most likely notice just as many avid coffee drinkers that are overweight as those that are slim and slender.

So, while drinking coffee can have a positive effect on helping you stick to a diet, it is not a diet product in and of itself.

When taken in moderation, coffee can definitely have a positive impact on overall health. In addition to the above-mentioned benefits, caffeine may also help stave off age-related illnesses like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease and can even help alleviate a headache.

Coffee can help you stay alert in the short term and can even help you get a better workout. There is no doubt that a few cups of coffee each day can be highly beneficial, but it can be just as destructive to overdo it or drink too much. If you're drinking too much coffee today may be the day to start cutting back.

If you don't drink coffee, today may be the day to start taking advantage of its benefits!

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