Coffee has long since been a friend of people watching their weight. Why? Because caffeine is widely thought to help raise your metabolic rate.
The latest research in this area looks at coffee and body fat. And it suggests people who drink a few cups of coffee every day may have lower body fat than non-coffee drinkers.
But here’s the surprise – it doesn’t matter whether you drink caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee. In fact either way the result is the same, say researchers from Anglia Ruskin University in the UK.
The study – published in The Journal of Nutrition – found the effect was stronger in women than in men. The researchers found that total body and abdominal fat was:
• 4 per cent lower in women aged 45 – 69 who drank four or more cups of coffee a day, compared with those who didn’t drink coffee.
• 3 – 4 per cent lower in women aged 20 – 44 who drank two to three cups of coffee a day.
• 1.3 per cent lower in men aged 20 – 44 who drank two or three cups a day.
They came to these conclusions after analysing information from the US-based National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
So what’s in coffee that could be influencing body fat levels if it isn’t caffeine?
“Our research suggests that there may be bioactive compounds in coffee other than caffeine that regulate weight and which could potentially be used as anti-obesity compounds,” says Dr Lee Smith, one of the study’s authors.
That’s good news for people who are sensitive to caffeine, as it means they might get some of the benefits of drinking coffee even if all they drink is decaf.