Some say it has a positive effect, others say it has a negative effect. So I thought I’d clear this up for you and give you my advice.
Let’s take a look at the main negative effects of caffeine first…
1. CAFFEINE INCREASES YOUR APPETITE
If you start your day with all intentions of sticking to your diet, but by mid afternoon you’re reaching for the biscuit tin then caffeine might be the culprit. If you’re trying to stick to a diet or limit your calorie intake then the last thing you want is erratic hunger cravings.
2. CAFFEINE CAUSES STRESS
Caffeine causes your stress hormone cortisol to rise so it can leave you feeling physically, mentally and emotionally stressed. Caffeine-induced stress can actually interfere with how you feel about yourself and trigger emotional eating or a need for comfort eating.
3. CAFFEINE PROMOTES FAT STORAGE AROUND YOUR BELLY
When your cortisol levels are high it raises your blood pressure and heart rate. This then tells your body to increase your energy stores. This is why you get sweet cravings when you’re having a coffee. And of course, sweet, sugary foods cause you to hold onto body fat around your waist.
4. CAFFEINE LEADS TO INSOMNIA AND SLEEP DEPRIVATION
Caffeine is a stimulant and it makes you feel more alert. It does this by blocking sleep-inducing chemicals in the brain and increasing adrenaline production. So if you find it hard to switch off and relax on a night too much caffeine may be the problem. And lack of sleep can lead to a reduced metabolism and a higher risk of holding on to body fat.
Now, the positive effects of caffeine …
1. CAFFEINE IS A STIMULANT
If caffeine is used in the right way it can be beneficial. It can make you feel more alert and may spur you on to have a more active lifestyle and burn more calories. However, too much caffeine has the opposite effect.
2. CAFFEINE IMPROVES FOCUS
If you time your hit of caffeine correctly it can improve your focus during workouts. If that is the case then your workouts will be more predictive and effective, meaning you will burn off more calories and body fat.
My advice for you …
Limit Your Coffee Intake To One Per Day
If you’re having more than one per day then try to cut down so that you avoid sugar cravings.
Drink Black Coffee
Avoid coffees with milk or cream, lattes full of syrups and don’t use sugar or sweeteners as this will bump up your calorie intake and prevent you from losing weight.
Time Your Caffeine
The best time to have a coffee is about half an hour before your workout to make you more alert and focused. You’re more likely to push yourself harder during the workout if you’re alert. On days that you don’t have a workout scheduled, mid morning is the best time to get a caffeine hit as this is usually when most people have a dip in concentration.
Avoid Caffeine Close To Bedtime
Personally, I don’t drink coffee after 4pm because I’m wide awake come bed time. If you find it hard to get to sleep on a night try reducing your caffeine intake, especially in the afternoon.
When cutting down on coffee you may experience headaches for a couple of days (depending on how much caffeine you consume). So make sure you stay hydrated by drinking at least 2 litres of water per day. You can also have 2 to 3 cups of green tea per day so that you still get a small caffeine hit.