We’re hot in the middle of iced coffee season. And it doesn’t matter if you prefer Starbucks, Dunkin or your neighborhood coffee shop—the temptation is there. But what’s at risk? Could it be that your coffee is to blame for stalling or even reversing your weight loss?
Diet plans that include coffee—are the benefits real?
Coffee doesn’t have the bad reputation that it used to, partly due to new studies and coffee companies’ big-time marketing efforts. Parents and doctors talk less about caffeine stunting growth and more about how “a little bit” is okay in your diet if consumed in moderation with only 1 – 2 cups per day.
Some recent, popular studies suggest there are no links between caffeine consumption and heart disease or risk of cancer, and that the antioxidants in coffee beans may be a valuable source of nutrients, somehow supplementing your diet plan. There is evidence to the contrary, however. It’s been shown that coffee can contribute to heart disease by raising total cholesterol, specifically LDL cholesterol, the so called “bad” cholesterol . And extra calories from syrups and sweeteners aside, coffee might be causing you to put on some extra pounds.
What is a healthy diet?
A diet and exercise plan is key: focus mostly on foods that are low calorie and nutrient dense (i.e. plants!). Then, throughout your day, take some time to move around. Intensity is good, but frequency (a few times a day) and duration (20 – 30 minutes) are also important.
These are just the weight loss plan basics. So, how does caffeine thwart your efforts?
For one thing, caffeine is a stimulant. It is an addictive substance that will encourage you to consume more and more, and then you’ll experience withdrawal effects (like headaches, shaking, or exhaustion) when you don’t. Hunger pangs when your body is not actually hungry (i.e. it requires nutrients) are another withdrawal symptom. Commitment to weight loss plans and results suffer when people start to crave, and then crumble, as they give into excessive or impulsive eating.
Secondly, by eating plenty of nutrients and fewer calories in a plant-based diet your body will reap the benefits. Phytonutrients in plants support a strong immune system and DNA repair. Low calorie diets have also been linked to greater longevity in humans. But inadequate sleep has not. And by indulging in the stimulant effects of caffeine from coffee, you are shortchanging yourself (and your life!) when you’ve worked hard to shop, prep, or lay out a gorgeous, healthy meal for your family.
So, what can you do? Try limiting and spacing out your caffeine consumption. Drink your cup (1) of coffee in the morning then wait a few hours. If you go iced, then choose a smaller size. Skip the add-ons like syrups, drizzles, chips, whips, etc. And make sure you eat a ginormous salad for lunch. ☺
How much coffee do you drink in a day? Are there tips you have for cutting back on caffeine? Let us know!