A Cup Of Coffee May Be The Secret To Burning Fat, New Study Finds

mbg Contributor By Caroline Muggia
mbg Contributor
Caroline Muggia is a writer, environmental advocate, and registered yoga teacher (E-RYT) with a B.A. in Environmental Studies & Psychology from Middlebury College.
A Cup Of Coffee May Be The Secret To Burning Fat, New Study Finds

Many of us love a cup of coffee (or two or three) throughout the day. With 64% of Americans drinking a cup of coffee daily, researchers have attempted to get to the bottom of the question: Is coffee healthy?

Some research has linked coffee consumption to a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease and greater longevity, whereas other studies suggest coffee could lead to weight gain and increase blood sugar levels. While we won't get to the bottom of it today, a new study can be added to the list that gives coffee a thumbs-up.

The new study, published in Scientific Reports, found that drinking a cup of coffee stimulated brown adipose tissue, or "brown fat," in the body, a type of fat that has calorie-burning properties.

What is brown fat?

"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," explained Professor Michael Symonds, from the School of Medicine at the University of Nottingham and co-director on the study.

It was initially thought that brown fat was found only in babies and hibernating animals, but now scientists are aware it's present in adults in smaller quantities and found in places like the neck. It acts differently than white fat, which accumulates due to the body storing calories and can be found around the belly.


What's the connection to coffee?

The researchers saw that coffee did, in fact, stimulate the brown fat in humans, as thermal imaging showed that after someone drank a cup of coffee, the brown fat in the neck got hotter. More research is needed to understand whether it is the caffeine stimulating the brown fat or another property in the coffee.

"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," said Symonds.

With this information, it may be tempting to start drinking coffee or up your intake, but it's important to note that coffee doesn't agree with everyone's system. For some, coffee can improve digestion and focus, while for others, it can lead to even more fatigue, brain fog, and unpleasant digestive symptoms. Therefore, if you're new to coffee or want to grab another cup, be sure to tune in to how your body reacts to the drink and adjust accordingly.

The verdict is still out on how good coffee is for you, but this is yet another study that shows this beloved drink has health benefits.

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