Does Coffee Boost Metabolism? An MD Breaks Down The Research
Drinking coffee is associated with a slew of health benefits, including mental clarity, memory, antioxidant support, exercise performance, and more. Who knew a simple cup of Joe wielded so much well-being power?
On a recent episode of the mindbodygreen podcast, William Li, M.D., adds one more bullet to coffee's résumé: According to the world-renowned physician and researcher, coffee is also a top-notch metabolism booster. Allow us to walk you through the science.
Does coffee boost metabolism?
"Coffee contains something called chlorogenic acid1 that lights up your metabolism as well as your health defenses," says Li. In terms of those specific health defenses, the compound has been shown to protect the circulatory system and reduce inflammation2.
But back to metabolic health: Research has shown that coffee and green coffee bean extract (which contains a high concentration of chlorogenic acid) have been associated with decreased weight and a healthy insulin response3. Another study showed that women who drink two to three cups of coffee each day have less body fat4 than infrequent coffee drinkers.
And another study published in the European Journal of Nutrition5 specifically looked at coffee's effect on metabolic syndrome: In the study, researchers found that participants who drank more than three cups of coffee per day had lower BMI, waist circumference, blood pressure, and triglycerides, as well as higher HDL cholesterol than study volunteers who drank less than one cup per day.
All this science jargon aside, it's safe to say that, yes, coffee can benefit your metabolism. It's no wonder Li considers it one of his key metabolism-boosting staples.
For what it's worth, caffeine itself has also been clinically shown to enhance energy utilization (calorie burn), thermogenic fat burn (lipolysis), and weight management6. So, matcha lovers, don't fret! In fact, tea has its own bevy of health benefits to note. That's why you can find sources of caffeine in some high-quality metabolism-boosting supplements.
Of course, the way you prepare your brew can easily sabotage those metabolism-boosting benefits—like, say, if you load up your drink with artificial flavors and sugar. Make sure to keep your cup of coffee as clean as possible; if you do enjoy a hint of flavor, try to opt for natural sweeteners, like cinnamon, agave, or vanilla extract.
And if you want to make your coffee even more gut-healthy? Try this doctor-approved hack to enhance your natural hunger cues.
According to Li, eating (or, uh, drinking) certain foods can actually light up your metabolism and help you maintain a healthy weight. He specifically touts coffee as a metabolism-boosting star, but diet is just one piece of the puzzle: Here, find our full guide to naturally speeding up your metabolism.
Jamie Schneider is the Beauty & Wellness Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare. In her role at mbg, she reports on everything from the top beauty industry trends, to the gut-skin connection and the microbiome, to the latest expert makeup hacks. She currently lives in New York City.