Drinking coffee could help you lose weight, says new research.
So you go ahead and hit that morning latte hard.
A study from the School of Medicine at the University of Nottingham found that drinking a cup of coffee can stimulate ‘brown fat’, which burns calories to generate body heat.
Experts say people with a lower body mass index (BMI) tend to have a higher amount of brown fat, which is a different type of fat to ‘white fat’ – that one’s caused by consuming excess calories.
Professor Michael Symonds, who co-directed the study, explains: ‘Brown fat works in a different way to other fat in your body and produces heat by burning sugar and fat, often in response to cold.
‘Increasing its activity improves blood sugar control as well as improving blood lipid levels and the extra calories burnt help with weight loss.
‘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.
‘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.’
Researchers found a link between downing coffee and burning calories first by using stem cells, then moving on to tracing humans’ brown fat reserves as they emitted heat.
Professor Symonds said: ‘From our previous work, we knew that brown fat is mainly located in the neck region, so we were able to image someone straight after they had a drink to see if the brown fat got hotter.
‘The results were positive and we now need to ascertain that caffeine as one of the ingredients in the coffee is acting as the stimulus or if there’s another component helping with the activation of brown fat.
‘We are currently looking at caffeine supplements to test whether the effect is similar.
‘Once 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.’
A quick note on all this, though: We doubt any weight loss benefits will occur if your caffeinated beverage of choice is something packed with sugar and topped with whipped cream. You might want to stick to an Americano.
This latest bit of research is just another bit of pro-coffee evidence to convince you to fill your cup.
Studies also suggest that coffee could help to reduce your chances of developing Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, that two cups a day could make you live two years longer, and that the heart problems linked to drinking coffee are a ‘myth’.
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