Coffee prevents weight gain

For many of us, the morning cup of coffee is indispensable. It kickstarts the day. But coffee consumption is often portrayed as harmful to health. No good reason exists for this; in fact, it's quite the opposite. Coffee has many good qualities. Among them, it activates the metabolism and is considered as a good scavenger against radicals, which helps to counteract the aging process.

Woman drinking freshly brewed coffee

In a recent study by the Hannover Medical School in Hannover, Germany, researchers reported more positive properties of coffee: Coffee drinkers have a lower Body Mass Index (BMI) and maintain their weight better than people who do not drink coffee. Coffee drinkers can rejoice, as coffee is one of the most popular beverages other than water, especially in the western world.

The study aimed to uncover which factors are important for long-term weight stabilization, including a look at different eating habits with results compared with those a general population sample.

Less weight gain through caffeine consumption

"There were significant differences, in terms of consumption of caffeinated beverages, between the 500 people who took part in the study and in the general population," explains Martina de Zwaan, head of the Clinic for Psychosomatics and Psychotherapy at Hanover Medical School, who ran the study.

The test group participants consumed significantly higher quantities of coffee and caffeine-containing beverages per day than in the general population. The same test group participants also successfully reduced their weight by at least 10 percent over one year and were able to maintain this reduced weight at least one year.

"Caffeine consumption therefore has a positive effect on weight reduction; that is, you gain weight less quickly after losing weight if you consume caffeine in larger amounts," says de Zwaan. In addition, there are indications that coffee drinkers have a lower Body Mass Index because caffeine has a stimulating effect on the metabolism: it increases energy consumption, promotes heat generation and improves fat burning in the muscle during physical activity.

Coffee can have a health-promoting effect

Classifying coffee consumption as harmful to health is wrong. On the contrary, drinking coffee even has health-promoting effects. Caffeine is not the only decisive factor here. Other ingredients of coffee play an important role. However, as with almost everything including coffee, benefits depend on the quantity. Moderate coffee consumption is considered to be an intake of about 300 mg of caffeine per day, with one cup of coffee containing between 40 and 120 mg of caffeine, depending on the type and preparation. Studies show a preventive effect even with higher intakes. Excessive consumption, however, can lead to undesirable effects. There are also large individual differences with regard to the tolerance of caffeine. If you get heartburn after your fifth cup of coffee in the morning in the office, you should reduce the amount as much as possible. If you can't sleep at night, it's a good idea not to drink caffeinated beverages after 2 pm.

The health benefits of coffee are largely triggered by the caffeine contained in coffee. The same benefits can't be achieved with decaffeinated coffee.

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