Coffee offers a wealth of health benefits — there’s its well-known ability to temporarily boost concentration and alertness, and drinking coffee might also lower your risk of liver disease and type 2 diabetes, explains the Linus Pauling Institute. Black coffee is a healthier alternative to coffee flavored with calorie-laden cream and sugar, and it might also help you lose weight. Just make sure you don’t overdo it — too much caffeine can have negative health effects.
Cut Calories, Lose Weight
If you drink coffee, serving it black is your best option for weight loss. Black coffee is calorie-free — it’s the cream and sugar that can pack on the pounds. A single cup of coffee with 2 teaspoons of sugar and an ounce of half-and-half has 69 calories. And because the average American drinks roughly 3 cups of coffee a day, that adds up to an extra 207 calories. If you were to switch from coffee with sugar and cream to black coffee every day for a year, you’d save more than 75,000 calories — the equivalent of almost 22 pounds of fat.
Potential Benefits from Caffeine
Caffeine might also offer some calorie-burning benefits that help your weight-loss efforts, but it’s too early to say for sure. One laboratory study, published in Food & Function in 2012, found that caffeine boosted thermogenesis — a phenomenon that helps you burn more calories. And a study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2009 found that caffeine also boosted thermogenesis in people, although this study was small and included only seven test subjects.
A report from the International Journal of Obesity, published in 2010, noted that thermogenic compounds — like caffeine — might work better in some people than in others, or they might only work effectively under some circumstances. So while there’s some potential for the caffeine in coffee to help you lose weight, you shouldn’t count on coffee alone as a weight-loss strategy, at least until more research has been done.