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Caffeine and Metabolism

ElJeffeElJeffe Moderator, ClubPA mod
edited May 2008 in Help / Advice Forum
I know that caffeine pills are often used to quicken the metabolism for people looking to drop pounds quickly. What are the effects of 1 or 2 cups of coffee, or espresso drinks, per day?

I'm not trying to strategically augment my health regimen with caffeine, or anything, I'm just curious as to whether those sorts of caffeine levels have an appreciable effect. One or two cups of (fairly strong) coffee per weekday is about my standard.

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    ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    One to two cups is the sweet spot when it comes to coffee. Enough to get most of the benefits, and avoid most of the drawbacks.

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    UltimanecatUltimanecat Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Firstly, it's a bit of a dirty secret, but a shot of espresso usually has less caffeine than brewed coffee, since the caffeine has less time to leech out into the hot water.

    Secondly, people obviously have different tolerances, but two cups a day is probably just enough to get benefits. Coffee obviously has a diuretic effect, so make sure you drink other fluids.

    Caffeine is used almost universally where available, and 1000+ years of such widespread use have shown that it's one of the safest psychoactive drugs known. As long as you stick to natural sources, unpleasant side effects (jitters, nervousness, sensitivity to light/noise/touch, headaches, and irratability) rear up long before you reach harmful doses.

    Keep in mind, though, that the trap of caffeine (and other addictive drugs) is that consistent use will lead to tolerance and dependence, which may or not be a negative thing but does mean that the buzz weakens over time from the same amount. Luckily, a body can typically purge itself of this within a couple of weeks, so if one really wanted to stop, the physical issue is somewhat easy to remedy (psychological dependence can take much longer).

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    ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Secondly, people obviously have different tolerances, but two cups a day is probably just enough to get benefits. Coffee obviously has a diuretic effect, so make sure you drink other fluids.
    Coffee's diuretic effect is grossly exaggerated. If you don't drink it regularly, one cup of coffee is about as hydrating as 3/4ths of a cup of water. If you drink it regularly, the difference between a cup of coffee and a cup of water is negligible.

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    Dark MoonDark Moon Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Coffee obviously has a diuretic effect, so make sure you drink other fluids.

    Coffee still hydrates you, just not as much as a non-diuretic fluid might. The only reason coffee might necessitate other fluids is because it tends to leave the mouth feeling a bit dry.

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    UltimanecatUltimanecat Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Sure makes me piss!...or maybe I just notice because my piss smells like coffee :-P

    I still wouldn't recommend drinking it on a hot day while running a marathon.

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    ElJeffeElJeffe Moderator, ClubPA mod
    edited May 2008
    If the effect is significant, does that mean that, all things being equal, if I were to ever give up coffee I would expect to gain weight as my metabolism readjusts?

    I don't really plan on giving up coffee any time soon - I love it, and I have no discernable addiction to it (I can go a week without touching a cup without any withdrawal symptoms). But it would suck if I gave it up some day and suddenly gained ten pounds.

    Also, I suspected that coffee had more than espresso, though I assumed it was because the concentration of caffeine in espresso was countered by the fact that a cup of coffee is usually 3-4 times the volume. Interesting about the leech-time thing.

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    ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    If the effect is significant, does that mean that, all things being equal, if I were to ever give up coffee I would expect to gain weight as my metabolism readjusts?

    I don't really plan on giving up coffee any time soon - I love it, and I have no discernable addiction to it (I can go a week without touching a cup without any withdrawal symptoms). But it would suck if I gave it up some day and suddenly gained ten pounds.

    Also, I suspected that coffee had more than espresso, though I assumed it was because the concentration of caffeine in espresso was countered by the fact that a cup of coffee is usually 3-4 times the volume. Interesting about the leech-time thing.
    It's not a huge effect, but you might expect to gain a pound or two after giving it up.

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    RaslinRaslin Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Just stick with regular coffee. If you're drinking mocha's, etc, you'll gain more than you would ever lose because of the caffeine :P

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    UltimanecatUltimanecat Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Yeah, the doses that have any meaningful effect on your metabolism (such as in diet pills) are pretty high. For reference, a cup of coffee usually has about 80-120 mg caffeine, a 12oz cola around 40 mg, and espresso about the same (seriously, in some parts of Italy they drink espresso ALL day - do you really think they'd be functional if it had as much caffeine as brewed coffee?).

    Caffeine pills have 200mg each, and the dosage is like 4 a day.

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    CorvusCorvus . VancouverRegistered User regular
    edited May 2008
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    If the effect is significant, does that mean that, all things being equal, if I were to ever give up coffee I would expect to gain weight as my metabolism readjusts?

    I don't really plan on giving up coffee any time soon - I love it, and I have no discernable addiction to it (I can go a week without touching a cup without any withdrawal symptoms). But it would suck if I gave it up some day and suddenly gained ten pounds.

    Also, I suspected that coffee had more than espresso, though I assumed it was because the concentration of caffeine in espresso was countered by the fact that a cup of coffee is usually 3-4 times the volume. Interesting about the leech-time thing.

    Do you drink your coffee black with no sugar? If not, I sort of suspect that the loss of those calories (cofee, milk and sugar) in your daily diet might negate any potential weight gain from slowed metabolism from dropping coffee

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    KalTorakKalTorak One way or another, they all end up in the Undercity.Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Espresso also has less caffeine than normal coffee because the longer/darker a coffee bean is roasted, the less caffeine it has. Lighter roasts actually have the most caffeine.

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    PheezerPheezer Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited May 2008
    Guys

    If a shot of espresso has 40 mg of caffeine and a cup of coffee has 80-120, does that really mean espresso has less caffeine than coffee?

    No, it doesn't. It's got a significantly higher concentration by volume. And the difference in caffeine content by blend based on roasting time alone is virtually negligible. There are a lot of other variables involved.

    If you drink coffee black, it will help you maintain an elevated metabolism and that might help you lose a couple pounds but only if you're also exercising and eating right. It's not going to make you into one of those freaks that can eat a cake for dinner and still weigh 110 pounds at 6'1". If you eat healthy and exercise your impact from dropping caffeine from your diet won't be particularly huge either.

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    RaslinRaslin Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Pheezer wrote: »
    Guys

    If a shot of espresso has 40 mg of caffeine and a cup of coffee has 80-120, does that really mean espresso has less caffeine than coffee?

    No, it doesn't. It's got a significantly higher concentration by volume. And the difference in caffeine content by blend based on roasting time alone is virtually negligible. There are a lot of other variables involved.

    If you drink coffee black, it will help you maintain an elevated metabolism and that might help you lose a couple pounds but only if you're also exercising and eating right. It's not going to make you into one of those freaks that can eat a cake for dinner and still weigh 110 pounds at 6'1". If you eat healthy and exercise your impact from dropping caffeine from your diet won't be particularly huge either.

    It depends how much espresso you have.

    I assume a "cup" is 12oz. A 12oz espresso drink usually only has one shot in it. Basically, a 12oz coffee will have more caffeine than a 12oz latte, for example.

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    PheezerPheezer Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited May 2008
    A 12 oz latte would then have around 10 ounces of cream or milk, which goes directly to the "are you drinking it black" question, now doesn't it?

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    RaslinRaslin Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Pheezer wrote: »
    A 12 oz latte would then have around 10 ounces of cream or milk, which goes directly to the "are you drinking it black" question, now doesn't it?

    Fine, a 12oz americano.

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    UltimanecatUltimanecat Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Math be damned! I thought about that after my post, but my original point still stands: you're going to have to get a double or a triple to equal a normal cup o' joe. When you come down to it, espresso is probably pretty equivalent to strongly-brewed coffee for caffeine content. And that Americano you get is going to have far less than the brewed equivalent.

    Oh, and a cup of coffee is 6-8 oz. A 12oz cup would be up near 200 mg.

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    RaslinRaslin Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Ahh.

    I have a tendency to drink two 20oz iced coffee's a day, with a lighter, more caffeinated blend, plus two shots of espresso. The ice, of course, takes a lot of that space, but I used to do two to three 24oz hot coffee's of the same blend.

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    ElJeffeElJeffe Moderator, ClubPA mod
    edited May 2008
    Raslin wrote: »
    Just stick with regular coffee. If you're drinking mocha's, etc, you'll gain more than you would ever lose because of the caffeine :P

    Like I said, I'm not really basing my diet on coffee consumption at all; I was just curious. My "diet" consists of eating less shit and playing racquetball thrice per week, which has allowed me to lose 12 pounds in the past six months, fwiw.

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    SeptusSeptus Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    I looked before but was unable to find any info on this: What's the connection between coffee or caffeine(it's just coffee for me) and increased bowel movements?

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    nexuscrawlernexuscrawler Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Coffee acts as a mild laxative so yeah is makes you poop more.

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    HewnHewn Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Is there really any evidence drinking coffee would boost the metabolism enough to lose weight?

    I have to assume it's not conclusive, as I can't imagine the coffee sellers not advertising and promoting the hell out of this health benefit.

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    UltimanecatUltimanecat Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    I'm pretty sure that it could...but the amounts you have to consume to start getting really noticeable effects are definitely in the "what the hell am I doing to myself" territory.

    I run alot, and I occasionally drink a Rockstar (again, about equivalent to a cup of coffee) beforehand. It absolutely is effective in perking me up and making those last few miles not drag out as much.

    As far as I'm concerned, and to paraphrase Ben Franklin, "Caffeine (and beer) are proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy".

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    Durandal InfinityDurandal Infinity Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    As a full blooded Long Island italian, espresso ESPECIALLY when it is made from espresso bean contains about 45-60mg of caffeine now consider most people drink a double shot. Also consider that coffee is generally consumed in the course of 20min+ or so, while 2-4 ounces of espresso is just pounded.

    slowely drink a bear or take a shot of vodka, when it comes down to it you are consume the same alcohol by weight yet one will have a greater effect.

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    kaliyamakaliyama Left to find less-moderated fora Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    I tried those pills. I was working on losing weight via exercise at the time, so I honestly have no idea how to quantify the impact of using them. On the other hand, I more or less became addicted to them - they were mood-altering when I took them and I crashed HARD for a day or two when I stopped taking them. If you're making progress without them, I wouldn't bother.

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    HewnHewn Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    I'm pretty sure that it could...but the amounts you have to consume to start getting really noticeable effects are definitely in the "what the hell am I doing to myself" territory.

    I run alot, and I occasionally drink a Rockstar (again, about equivalent to a cup of coffee) beforehand. It absolutely is effective in perking me up and making those last few miles not drag out as much.

    As far as I'm concerned, and to paraphrase Ben Franklin, "Caffeine (and beer) are proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy".

    Yeah, I really do love coffee.

    And much like yourself, I'll drink coffee right before a run. Caffeine is, after all, a controlled substance for most athletics. However, what I read, is that the gain is minimal and only found in the most demanding of sports. So I'm likely not getting a performance boost, but I do know it makes it feel that way, which is really half the battle.

    Anyway, more back to the point, it would be interesting to see if there's any research going on with coffee and metabolism.

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    nexuscrawlernexuscrawler Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Hewn wrote: »
    Is there really any evidence drinking coffee would boost the metabolism enough to lose weight?

    I have to assume it's not conclusive, as I can't imagine the coffee sellers not advertising and promoting the hell out of this health benefit.

    Not sure about metabolism effects but caffeine, like pretty much all stimulants, acts as an appetite suppressor.

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