QUESTION: Is black coffee good for weight loss? I usually drink it with cream and sugar, but I guess I’m willing to try it black. — Edward H
ANSWER: Coffee comes along with lots of useful health benefits for coffee drinkers to enjoy. This elixir for concentration and focus is also known to reduce the risk of liver disease and type 2 diabetes. Drinking coffee moderately is linked to all kinds of other health benefits, including reducing the risk of cancer, Alzheimer’s, and cirrhosis of the liver as well as helping with mood improvement and fighting off depression.
Coffee contains chlorogenic acid, which slows down the production of glucose in the body. The caffeine it contains boosts the metabolism and increases energy levels. The combination of extra energy and improved metabolic activity can lead to hunger suppression, lowering your calorie count and helping with weight loss.
Caffeine is one of very few known compounds to elevate basal metabolic rate, which is how fast the body naturally burns off calories when you aren’t physically active. That’s right, drinking black coffee will help your body burn calories quicker even while you sit on the sofa or rest. In addition to chlorogenic acid and caffeine, coffee is full of antioxidants, which also aid in weight loss.
One eight-ounce serving of black coffee is less than five calories. In fact, a regular cup of joe, brewed from ground coffee beans, typically has only two calories. A single one-ounce shot of espresso is only one calorie. If you are wanting to drink coffee for weight loss, the recommended amount to drink is three to four cups of black coffee per day, which equals approximately 400 milligrams of caffeine. This is the perfect amount of black coffee to boost your metabolism, increase energy levels, and suppress the appetite for under ten calories. If you make your coffee strong, you may want to limit yourself to two to three cups instead of four. Limit your coffee consumption to the mornings and early afternoons as well, as drinking coffee too late in the day could lead to restlessness and insomnia.
Unfortunately, many coffee drinkers habitually load up their morning cups with flavored syrups, sugars, and creamers, defeating the purpose of drinking coffee to promote weight loss. These extras can increase each cup’s calorie count to 700. That means if you can’t stomach the taste of black coffee, this weight loss approach may not work for you.
Limiting the amount of additives—or trying out less fatty or sugary options—like a few drops of honey or a splash of almond milk, instead of a bunch of sugar or syrups and creamers, can go a long way toward reducing the calories in each cup of coffee you drink, especially if you’re used to overly sweet or richly flavored coffee drinks. However, the very best way to prepare coffee for weight loss is to drink it black.
There are a few sugar substitutes available on the market with a reduced caloric impact. If you really need your coffee to be sweet, try some alternative sweeteners. Stevia and monk fruit extract are both all-natural, plant-based sweeteners with no calories. Sugar alcohols, like xylitol (40% less calories than sugar), maltitol (50% less calories than sugar), and erythritol (only 6% of the calories of sugar) all contain less calories than regular sugar. Yacon syrup can also work to sweeten your java while only adding a third of the calories of regular sugar.
If you cannot drink coffee without some form of creamer, choose half and half or milk over flavored coffee creamers. There is also a low-calorie, non-sweetened creamer called Nutpods that only adds 10 calories per serving, which is comparable to milk with about half of the calories of half and half.