More Than 2 Cups Of Coffee Per Day May Lower Body Fat In Women
If you've been trying to cut back on your coffee consumption, you may want to think again—or even up your intake. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition found women who drink more than two cups of coffee per day have lower total body fat than those who drink less coffee.
Researchers from Anglia Ruskin University examined two years of data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). The survey included both males and females between 20 and 69 years old.
After studying the relationship between participants' coffee consumption and adiposity (aka total body fat), they found good news for coffee fanatics.
What did the research show?
Women between 20 and 44 years old, who drank between two and three cups of coffee per day, had 3.4% less body fat than infrequent coffee drinkers. Women between 45 and 69, who drank more than four cups a day, showed an even lower percentage of fat (4.1%).
Men who drank coffee regularly did have lower body fat than infrequent drinkers, but the relationship was less significant.
Though the researchers are uncertain why coffee lowers body fat, lead author of the study, Lee Smith., Ph.D., said in a news release, there may be bioactive compounds in coffee—other than caffeine—that regulate weight.
"It could be that coffee, or its effective ingredients, could be integrated into a healthy diet strategy to reduce the burden of chronic conditions related to the obesity epidemic," he said.
Is it possible to have too much coffee?
Exercise science and nutrition expert Shawn Talbott, M.S., Ph.D., views coffee as a "health food" but said there can be a danger in overconsumption.
Drinking too much caffeine (which for most people is 400 mg or four cups per day), can lead to anxiety, heart palpitations, and heightened cortisol, Talbott once told mbg.
Thankfully, decaf coffee had the same effects on body fat as caffeinated coffee, according to the study.
While there may be an association between coffee and body fat, it's important to monitor your caffeine levels and continue eating a balanced diet. This should not be used as a weight loss tool.
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Abby Moore is an editorial operations manager at mindbodygreen. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from The University of Texas at Austin and has previously written for Tribeza magazine. She has covered topics ranging from regenerative agriculture to celebrity entrepreneurship. Moore worked on the copywriting and marketing team at Siete Family Foods before moving to New York.