Coffee as a beverage has been touted as a good way to suppress appetite and therefore lose weight. Is this actually true? Does caffeine or something in coffee suppress the appetite? Is using coffee for weight control a tenable solution? What kinds of coffee are best for suppressing your appetite? All of these questions are floating around, but there are not many definitive answers. Let’s take a closer look.
Does Caffeine Suppress Your Appetite?
When we think about the main ingredients in coffee that could potentially suppress appetite, our go-to ingredient might be caffeine. This is probably the primary reason most people drink coffee. They need that boost in the morning. A fair reason. Many see this as a win-win. They get their energy boost while at the same time having a little bit of appetite control. But does caffeine on its own help suppress the appetite? What does caffeine do exactly?
Caffeine, when consumed, will raise the body’s metabolism thereby diminishing hunger for a brief period of time. Caffeine will make the body perform thermogenesis, that is the body’s production of heat and energy from the digestive processes. In other words, since coffee promotes a higher metabolic response from your body, you will burn more calories for a brief time. But is frequent consumption of caffeine over a long period linked to substantial weight loss? Not really. But it may be used as a supplement to prevent weight gain. This is an important difference. If you are trying to tighten your belt loop another notch, caffeine in and of itself probably won’t get you there.
Does Coffee Suppress Your Appetite?
There seems to be no real scientific consensus as to whether or not coffee does suppress the appetite. Anecdotally, some say that they feel hungry when drinking coffee on an empty stomach. This may be because it promotes gastric emptying. Then again, others swear by their morning coffee as a remedy to stave off hunger and the desire to snack continuously. Subjective as it is, coffee is doing something to the appetite. This may be due to one of its main antioxidants, chlorogenic acid. Chlorogenic acid may inhibit glucose absorption. However, overall, there is simply inconclusive evidence and not enough scientific studies on a large scale to determine whether or not coffee suppresses the appetite. So, the jury is still out on coffee specifically.
What Is a Good Appetite Suppressant?
While coffee might not be the best choice to help you slim down, there are plenty of other foods and supplements that can help you control your appetite, some of which help increase your energy as well. Here are some of them.
This is off the table for anyone with a nut allergy. But for the rest of us, almonds can be a great way to snack without consuming a ton of bad calories. A single ounce portion of almonds contains 6g protein, 7.3 mg of Vitamin E, 4g of fiber, 76mg of calcium, as well as tons of antioxidants. Almonds are unmatched in these categories by virtually every other nut. Mixed nuts are a popular snack. But if you opt to eat more almonds, you are going to benefit more from the above-mentioned nutrients. The combination of protein and fiber helps with satiety.
There’s the old saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” While an apple certainly isn’t a cure-all for your health, it can help with appetite suppression and energy. Apples have about 3g of fiber and help regulate glucose in your body. Apples are sometimes held up as a morning coffee replacement as well. A medium-sized apple contains around 19g of natural sugar. This means that it will give you a jumpstart to the day all the while helping you feel satisfied due to the fiber content. It also can be a tad more laborious to eat since it requires a lot of chewing. This allows time for your stomach and hypothalamus to hold a discussion as to whether or not your body needs more food. Try an apple for a refreshing start to your morning!
Though we might only eat yams or sweet potatoes during the holiday season, consuming white sweet potatoes has definite health benefits. They have been linked to weight loss when used as a meal replacement. But we might be thinking that all the starch in these sweet potatoes would make us gain weight. While many starches can cause weight gain, it is usually because they are absorbed so quickly in the body. When the starches break down in the small intestine, they are converted to glucose. If this glucose does not get used, it can turn into fat. But sweet potatoes contain something called resistant starch. Orange sweet potatoes contain them too, but white-fleshed sweet potatoes have more. Since the starch is resistant to being broken down so easily, you can feel full for hours after eating.
We must place an emphasis on the word ‘dark.’ Dark Chocolate with 70% or more cacao content has been linked to appetite suppression in multiple studies. Milk chocolate did not seem to have any effect on appetite in these. If your guilty pleasure is eating sweets, it’s okay to cheat by eating a chocolate bar, it’s part of your plan for appetite control! But be careful since chocolate is still high in fat and calories.
Eggs are a known source of protein. It’s a go-to breakfast food that can be implemented in several ways. However, preparation can be an obstacle for some, especially for those of us who are early risers. You want something quick as you run out the door. Hard-boil 6-8 eggs and peel them. You will have about 7g of protein per egg ready to go when you are. The high protein content will give you energy to burn throughout the day.
Which Coffee Is Best for Weight Loss?
Maybe the suppression of appetite isn’t an issue for you. It could be that you’re adding creamer and all kinds of additives to your morning brew. In that case, try to simplify by adding only a small amount of cream and sugar. The healthiest way to drink coffee is black. Pumpkin spice lattes and mochas have coffee in them, but they also are full of sugar that usually goes unused which over time makes you a little soft in the middle. So, learn to enjoy the sweet nectar of coffee simply and largely unadulterated, and you will have more health benefits from it.
Coffee & Your Appetite: Conclusion
If you love your morning coffee and are also banking on it being the main thing in your diet that is going to save you a few pounds, you should reconsider. Caffeine or any other component in coffee on its own is not going to help you control your appetite. Consider lifestyle changes. Cleaning up your diet, getting more protein, and consuming more fresh fruits and vegetables will help you acquire more essential nutrients as well as feel fuller and more energized throughout the day. You might also want to try intermittent fasting, which can help break habits of incessant snacking throughout the day. You can still have your coffee first thing in the morning too!
Featured Image Credit: Decha Huayyai, Pexels