Does Caffeine Fasten Metabolism? (Detailed Explanation)

Coffee can fasten your metabolism.

Coffee is undoubtedly the most loved and widely consumed beverage around the world. One of the main reasons people widely choose this drink is the caffeine content.

Caffeine helps in getting the instant energy boost to go through a busy, stressful day. It helps in reducing the urgency to eat food for a while and helps in getting certain necessary nutrients.

However, coffee isn’t a healthy replacement for a balanced diet since it contains caffeine and the effect of the stimulant may differ considering the sensitivity of the body.

Have you ever wondered whether the drink can help in increasing your metabolism?

Short answer: The caffeine in coffee may aid in increasing the metabolism of the body for a while. For this metabolic boosting effect, a significantly high dose of caffeine is required.

The good reason here is that the metabolic boosting effect may aid in losing weight and to understand the reason better, go through the following sections.

Is Coffee A Food or A Drink?

Coffee can be considered both a food and a drink. Usually, it’s considered to be a beverage but the standard definition allows any nourishment, be it a fluid or solid be regarded as food.

However, even with several health benefits, coffee can’t be considered a functional food since it doesn’t meet a few of the necessary features.

As per FDA and several food regulators, coffee can be considered a food but since it lacks some of the nutritional content it’s not recommended to replace other healthy diets. Coffee serves the best when drank as a complementary along with a healthy diet.

Don’t forget that coffee contains the stimulant, caffeine and too much caffeine consumption is unhealthy and lethal.

It’s a mild stimulant that is said to help improve cognition and affect the way you feel and think. This is why experts encourage limited or occasional consumption of coffee.

It isn’t a food that is a must in your diet, so treat it like a beverage to boost your energy when needed.

How Long Does It Take To Metabolize Caffeine?

The effects of caffeine can be felt within 15 minutes of coffee consumption.

The stimulant can pass through the epithelial tissues from the very first sip and takes about 45 minutes for most of the caffeine content to be absorbed through the membranes. The caffeine gradually takes its peak in the bloodstream within the next 45 to 60 minutes and stays the same for several hours.

A study on The Pharmacology of Caffeine states that for healthy individuals, the half-life of caffeine ranges between 4 to 6 hours or 5 hours on average. This is why the average energy of the coffee’s effect lasts for more than 4 hours after drinking.

Your age, body condition, diet, and supplement intake will affect the overall rate of caffeine metabolism.

You should pay attention to the time while having the drink since it can take a longer duration to completely clear out the caffeine from your system. For people with low sensitivity, a high dose of caffeine may stay in the system for more than 10 to 12 hours.

Can Coffee Increase Metabolism?

A person eating food with a cup of coffee on the table

Coffee may increase the metabolism rate of your body when large doses are consumed. This study on the Comparison of changes in energy expenditure and body temperatures after caffeine consumption shows that the caffeine content can increase the resting metabolic rate by a significant amount during the first few hours of ingestion.

However, the extent to which the rate is fastening will depend on how the body is reacting to the caffeine. People with low sensitivity tend to take twice the time to metabolize the stimulant compared to those with higher sensitivity.

Moreover, this effect of metabolism is less pronounced in people who are obese or overweight.

The process of thermogenesis and lipid oxidation can be comparatively slower in the case of obese people and that’s why lean people tend to have an increased metabolism compared to obese ones due to the caffeine stimulation.

The interesting part is that this increase in metabolism is generally caused by a simultaneous increase in fat burning. Of course, this effect will depend on the age and health condition of the person.

How Caffeine Sensitivity Affects the Metabolism?

Caffeine is metabolized by the enzymes CYP1A2 in the liver and differences in the DNA sequence of the CYP1A2 gene influences the efficiency of a person in metabolizing and eliminating caffeine.

Humans metabolize caffeine in a step-by-step process. The rate of this process depends on the quantity of caffeine consumed and the caffeine sensitivity of the drinker.

The level of sensitivity determines how fast the caffeine will be metabolized and to what extent the stimulating effects will be experienced.

Based on this genetic data there’re are three distinct levels of sensitivity that express the extent of the response of the body to the stimulant.

These are:

  • Hypersensitive to caffeine
  • Normal sensitivity to caffeine
  • Hyposensitive to caffeine

Hypersensitive to Caffeine

People who’re hypersensitive to the caffeine content react even with a small amount of caffeine. For some people, 50-100 milligrams of caffeine can be enough to exhibit the overdose symptoms.

A very small amount of caffeine is enough to give the boosting start to the day. This is why this section of people takes as much as twice as long for the stimulant to be metabolized in the body.

Normal Sensitivity to Caffeine

Healthy individuals normally belong to this section of sensitiveness. People can usually drink coffee or caffeinated foods containing 200-400 milligrams of caffeine in a day without having any adverse side effects.

The recommended daily safe dose of 400 milligrams of caffeine has been set considering the tolerance of this section of people.

Hyposensitive to Caffeine

These people are not much responsive to the caffeine content and can drink the coffee whenever they feel, without exerting any adverse effects on the body.

They can go for high doses of caffeine like more than 400-500 milligrams without experiencing any altering side effects. This is why they are prone to larger doses for getting the desired effect as the caffeine content is metabolized quickly.

Does Coffee Promote Weight Loss?

Caffeine can help in promoting weight loss of the body.
Caffeine can help in promoting weight loss.

Coffee can help in promoting weight loss. Caffeine takes part in stimulating the nervous system and increases the levels of adrenaline. This leads to the process of fat breakdown as the adrenaline or epinephrine travels through the blood to the fat tissues and helps the fat to break down.

Remember that this process of fat burn is short-lived and very large doses of caffeine are needed to boost the metabolism for losing weight.

Consumption beyond the body’s tolerance level and the recommended safe intake leads to unwanted side effects such as headache, anxiety, insomnia, jitteriness, and irregular heartbeat.

Moreover, if you’re not on a healthy lifestyle habit, coffee alone can’t help. It surely works as an appetite suppressor and makes you feel full for the time being, but if you aren’t expending more calories then it won’t work.

How Much Caffeine is Required for Weight Loss?

To promote weight loss, a significantly large dose of caffeine is required. Research shows that to shed extra weight, doses higher than 400 milligrams of caffeine are needed.

An average cup of coffee contains 95 milligrams of caffeine. Consumption of more than 3-4 cups of caffeine stimulates the nervous system for a longer period, suppressing the urgency and need for food.

Another study showed that a caffeine dose of 4.5 mg per pound of body weight can increase metabolism by about 13%. This is equivalent to a larger dose of about 650-700 mg.

The findings from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggest that even if coffee is considered to be a trigger for fat loss, it took more than half of the year for the drinkers to lose a small percentage of body fat.

Can Coffee Burn Fat?

Coffee aids in burning fat as it contains caffeine.
The caffeine in coffee helps in burning body fat.

The caffeine present in the coffee stimulates the nervous system and signals the fats cells to break. This leads to the breakdown of fat.

After consumption of coffee, the caffeine reaches the bloodstream within 15 minutes and sends a signal to the nervous system. Caffeine then promotes lipolysis that causes the fatty acids to be produced. These fatty acids transport to the blood and then in the muscle to be used as energy.

This energy expenditure process is directly connected with caffeine’s fat-burning ability.

However, releasing fatty acids in your blood won’t have magical effects if you’re not on a healthy diet and exercising regularly.

If you want to burn body fat, the healthiest way is to adopt a balanced nutritious diet with the proper amount of exercise.

Can Morning Coffee Be a Weight-loss Tool?

Drinking coffee on the regular basis in the morning can aid in promoting weight loss.

This is because the caffeine helps in:

  • Reducing body mass
  • Suppressing appetite for a brief period
  • Enhancing the metabolic rate

Your body’s cortisol level is low during the mid to late morning schedule. This is the best time to drink coffee after having a healthy breakfast.

The boost gained in the morning may help you in going on with your daily schedule effectively. For the weight loss effect, you need to consume more than 3-4 cups and this can harm your health as well.

Alongside caffeine consumption, a modest calorie-restricted diet is needed to get more effective results in losing weight.

What’s The Best Time To Drink Coffee For Boosting Metabolism?

The best time to drink coffee is usually between mid to late morning.

This is because the cortisol level is generally low throughout this period and drinking coffee when your cortisol level is already high may lead to an impaired immune system.

However, people who are habitual drinkers, tend to increase their tolerance so the caffeine-induced increase in cortisol tends to reduce in their case.

Moreover, the caffeine boost in the morning may help with your study or work throughout the day. Having the drink after evening or before bedtime will affect your biological clock.

Which Coffee is Best for Your Metabolism?

Drinking black coffee can achieve higher calories burned compared to other varieties and is the best for enhancing the metabolic rate.

Let’s have a look at the caffeine and calorie content of some popular varieties of coffee:

Variety of CoffeeServing SizeCaffeine ContentCalorie
Black Coffee 8 oz. fl. 95 mg5
Cappuccino16 oz. fl.173 mg130
Espresso1 oz. fl.64 mg1
Latte16 oz. fl.154 mg160
Decaf coffee, instant8 oz. fl.3 mg5
Cold Brew, black16 oz. fl2005
A table containing the caffeine and calories content of some popular coffee varieties

Reviewing the above table, black coffee seems the best option for metabolism. Not only has it got a moderate caffeine quantity but also has a low-calorie intake. You can read more about black coffee in this article I wrote if you’re interested.

Also, some of these varieties are consumed along with whipped cream or coffee whiteners. The calorie intake increases due to the additives which may aid in gaining weight.

Black coffee is simple. It doesn’t contain added sugars or fats. This is the wisest choice of drink for hypersensitive people. Do limit your intake within 2-3 cups at best to avoid digestive issues and other alarming side effects.

Here goes a quick video on the benefits of black coffee along with the recipe.

Can Coffee Help in Losing Weight in the Long Term?

Since the tolerance of caffeine increases over time, coffee won’t be a beneficial tool for long-term weight reduction.

The increase in metabolic rate by caffeine is short-lived. Gradually, people tend to increase their body’s tolerance, and to get the desired boosting effect more and more doses of caffeine are needed.

This is another reason why caffeine is considered a psychoactive drug. It isn’t detrimental as other addictive drugs such as cocaine or heroin but it creates a sense of dependency on the beverage.

Moreover, the sudden withdrawal from the drink will also cause your body to face caffeine withdrawal symptoms that include:

  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Poor concentration
  • Drowsiness

In the long run, if you aren’t burning more calories than you’re ingesting, it’ll blunt the metabolic effects of the caffeine over a while.

The appetite-reducing effect is also not profound in all individuals. As a result, some people may show no effect in their meal consumption while having coffee.

Caffeine can lead to more consumption of food abruptly when you’ve been starving yourself for food for a longer period. This is why experts always suggest eating in a controlled manner. Instead of starving yourself and replacing a balanced diet with coffee, opt for healthier alternatives and exercise more often.

Are There Any Possible Side Effects?

Yes, coffee can be bad for you and exert side effects in certain circumstances. The possible side effects range from mental issues such as anxiety, depression to physical drawbacks such as headache and chest pain. The commonly experienced side effects also include vomiting, nausea, irregular heartbeat, frequent urgency, insomnia, and so on.

Coffee generally boosts your metabolism and helps you with better cognition, improved cardiovascular health, and enhancing the endurance of the body.

However, as mentioned earlier, people have different sensitivity to caffeine, and developing caffeine dependence can affect the body in many ways.

This video shows the common possible side effects of caffeine.

Before going into depth with side effects remember that most of these are the outcome of an overdose of caffeine. A moderate intake can rarely affect an individual.

  • Coffee can trigger your gastrocolic reflex due to its laxative effect
  • Coffee may deplete calcium in your body due to its diuretic effect
  • Coffee may trigger the histamine reaction in your body
  • Coffee can inflame the stomach lining and gut
  • Additives added in the coffee like syrup, cream or milk can level up the calorie intake

Most of these side effects are the result of caffeine in your system. Other chemical compositions of coffee contribute little to this outcome.

The effects are profound in those who are hypersensitive. You need to pay attention to how your body is adjusting the caffeine content and choose an ideal quantity accordingly.

In Conclusion

Caffeine can boost your metabolism in the short term.

The effect is short-lived because, with time, your body gradually develops an enhanced tolerance to caffeine. To get the same effect, more and more caffeine is desired by the body.

For lean individuals, the metabolic effects are maximum, and to get the best outcome a proper cycle for coffee drinking habits should be managed.

The effects of caffeine are complex and even if it suppresses the appetite for a brief period, you may start binging on sugary content as soon as the stimulant diminishes in your blood. So, balance the caffeine content with other potassium enriched food along with healthy fibers.

There’re plenty of health benefits from coffee consumption when drank in moderation. Enjoy your drink in the proper amount and at the proper time.

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Matt Marshall

As I learn more and more about coffee and coffee products I want to share all my learnings with you here on this website. I hope you find my articles useful and entertaining to read.

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