Nutrition Myths
Does caffeine help in weight loss?


  •  As long as you are not sensitive to drink caffeinated beverages, caffeine exerts some weight reducing effects in the short term.
  • However, in the long term, caffeine is not a reliable or effective weight loss remedy, due to decreased sensitivity to caffeine.
  • There are other more effective and efficient methods to lose weight, which should include lifestyle and diet modifications.


Does caffeine help in weight loss?

Weight loss effects of caffeine in the short term

  1. Caffeine is a stimulant that makes us more active and, therefore, may help indirectly to shed some weight.

    Caffeine’s stimulating effect comes from the blocking of a neurotransmitter called adenosine from binding to specific receptors in the brain. Adenosine promotes sleep sedation, relaxation and suppresses arousal.

    Caffeine fits to the same receptors and, therefore, takes the place of adenosine.

    Caffeine also causes an increase in dopamine and adrenalin production. (1)

  2. Does caffeine increase metabolic rate and burn fat?

    A higher metabolic rate allows us to control weight easier, since more calories are burned with less effort.

    The resting metabolic rate* increases by an average of about 7% with caffeine intake (200mg – about two cups of coffee) and remains elevated for up to 3 hours. (2)

    Another study showed that a 100mg caffeine dose increases the resting metabolic rate by 3-4% over about 2.5 hours.(3)

    Other studies have shown that caffeine increases the metabolic rate in people of normal weight and obese, but has less effect in the obese. (4, 5)

    It should be noted that caffeine’s effects on the metabolic rate are dose dependent.

    Higher doses of 400mg given to less frequent drinkers of caffeine have shown to increase the metabolic rate and to burn more fat cells compared to lower doses. (6)

    It is inconclusive, though, if the increase of the metabolic rate is greater in sedentary people or in athletes, since the results of the studies are mixed. (7, 8)

    *Resting metabolic rate – is a measurement of metabolism when we are at rest.

  3. Does caffeine make us eat less?

    There are some conflicting studies on the appetite suppression properties of caffeine.

    A caffeine dose that is equivalent to 2-3 cups of coffee (300mg caffeine), taken 30 minutes before a meal, resulted in an energy intake reduction of that meal by 21.7% in men but not in women. (9)

    Another study has shown, however, negligible effects in both men and women. (10)

    The possible conclusion from these studies is that caffeine is not a reliable appetite suppressant, and more studies are needed.

Weight loss effects of caffeine in the long term

In the long term, however, caffeine has shown to not be effective for weight loss.

By taking caffeine on regular basis, our bodies become desensitized and the effects of caffeine on the metabolic rate or fat burning is diminished. (1)

One study has proven that caffeine (average intake of 200mg per day measured over 2 years) has no long-term effect on weight loss. (11)

Why caffeine is not effective in weight loss

There are two possibilities to achieve weight loss with the help of caffeine. However, they are not efficient and not worth the effort.

  1. Provided that we are not used to drinking coffee or caffeinated drinks, those who start having caffeine frequently and on regular basis, benefit from a mild weight loss in the initial period, but soon become desensitized to caffeine’s weight loss properties.

    Weight loss programs are only effective if done over the long term.

    Although you might lose a few pounds in the initial stage of drinking coffee, your usual habits (if not changed) will make you eventually gain the lost weight.

  2. If we take caffeine intermittently – have periods of caffeine abstinence, are physically active and are on a proper balance diet – we can take advantage of some weight loss properties of the caffeine.

    However, this is not a very realistic option.

    If you like drinking coffee or other caffeine beverages, you drink it because of enjoyment and not because of its weight loss properties. Having abstinence periods of coffee on regular basis for the benefit of an irregular weight loss period sounds like a wasted effort.

Please note however that although caffeine is not effective in weight loss, there are many benefits of caffeine or drinking coffee, provided that your are not sensitive to caffeine. Caffeine sensitive people experience mostly negative effects of caffeine.

Also, see the effects of green coffee bean extract on weight loss.


You will find a summary of the most common nutrition myths and evidence-based nutrition facts here.

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