The dark side of coffee

By January 27, 2020Food & nutrition

There’s nothing like a steaming cup of coffee to rev up your day – and for good reason water war. The beloved beverage is packed with a stimulant called caffeine which helps with mental alertness.

Besides this, coffee has also been given a health stamp approval which gives you even more reasons to reach for your morning cuppa.

Coffee is packed with health-boosting antioxidants and contains several important nutrients like magnesium, potassium, manganese and riboflavin. You’ll also be happy to know that your favourite cup of joe could also help you shed fat by giving your metabolism a boost. In fact, it could help burn fat up to 10% in obese individuals and 29% in leaner people.

Unfortunately, coffee could also make you pack on the kilos if you aren’t careful. Let’s look at why you should be sipping carefully.

Coffee and your waistline

For most healthy adults, four to five cups of coffee per day (about 400mg) is the maximum healthy limit that shouldn’t cause any negative effects. And in some people, this may be lower if you have a sensitivity to caffeine.

If you drink coffee regularly, while staying in the healthy limit then you could lose some weight. Studies have shown that drinking coffee regularly can lower inflammation and free-radical oxidative stress, both of which contribute to obesity. Coffee also stimulates fat burning, which aids in weight loss.

When it goes wrong

It all depends on what you’re adding to your coffee. Coffee itself doesn’t really have much impact on your waist, but if you’re adding litres of milk and several spoons of sugar to each cup, the story changes somewhat. Sugar and carbohydrates from the milk can cause a spike in your blood sugar levels.. When your blood sugar levels rise, your insulin levels also spike.

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As insulin is a storage hormone, it’s an expert at storing excess fat and especially around your middle. The more coffee with added sugar and milk you drink, the higher your blood sugar levels will be, along with your insulin.

When this happens, your cells become insulin resistant and aren’t able to absorb as much sugar from your blood after meals. If this continues, over time, you’ll also pack on more body fat as your body will have more sugar than it needs.

So, what now?

To date, the studies around coffee show that the benefits of the brew outweigh its risks, so there’s no need to ditch it completely. If you have a sensitivity to caffeine, then you should know what your upper daily limits are already!

If you enjoy your coffee on the sweet side, make the change to something like xylitol which won’t have the same impact on your blood glucose. Alternatively, gradually reduce the amount of milk and sugar you add to each cup to limit the impact on your waist!