Want to lose weight? Drinking coffee can help your body burn calories, new study says

Tuesday, 25th June 2019, 14:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 25th June 2019, 15:00 pm
Good news for coffee addicts (Photo: Shutterstock)

Do you rely on your morning cup of coffee to wake you up? Or maybe an afternoon caffeine boost to get you through the day?

Well here’s some good news: according to a new study, drinking a cup of coffee can help you lose weight.

What does the study say - and what is ‘brown fat’?

Nottingham University researchers have found that drinking a cup of coffee can stimulate something called “brown fat”, which could be the key to shedding unwanted weight.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

This study was one of the first to have used humans to try and find the components which could have a direct effect on the function of brown fat.

Brown fat is an important part of the human body and plays an important role in how quickly we burn through our calories - this is known as brown adipose tissue (BAT) and is one of the two types of fat that is found in humans and other mammals.

According to the Mayo Clinic, brown fat is a “special type of body fat that is turned on (activated) when you get cold”. It produces heat to help maintain your body temperature in colder conditions.

Its main function is to generate body heat by burning calories - this is the opposite action undertaken by white fat, which is the result of storing excess calories.

‘The potential implications are pretty big’

The research began with a series of stem cell studies to find out if caffeine would stimulate the brown fat - once the correct dose had been found, the study then moved on to humans to see if the results were consistent.

Study co-director Professor Michael Symonds said: "This is the first study in humans to show that something like a cup of coffee can have a direct effect on our brown fat functions.”

Professor Symonds added: “The potential implications of our results are pretty big, as obesity is a major health concern for society and we also have a growing diabetes epidemic and brown fat could potentially be part of the solution in tackling them.”

There are further plans in mind regarding the results with the researchers now looking into whether caffeine supplements could have a similar effect.

“One we have confirmed which component is responsible for this, it could potentially be used as part of a weight management regime or as part of glucose regulation programme to help prevent diabetes,” Professor Symonds said.

While the health benefits of coffee are being researched, it’s best to keep in mind that if you plan to incorporate coffee into your daily regime, you’re unlikely to see results if it’s full of sugar and cream.

This article originally appeared on our sister site Edinburgh Evening News