Loyal to Coffee? The Impact of Caffeine on Eating Behavior
You drink it every morning without even thinking how that extra energy boost affects your eating patterns and the whole body. In recent years, while being advertised as beneficial, caffeine gets blamed left and right. Besides, there’s more and more info out there on the connection between coffee and hunger. Now, the question of the day is: does caffeine increase appetite?
Effects on the Body
It’s fun to hang out with people in a local coffee shop while tossing mugs of fancy beverages – just like in my favorite TV-show, “Friends”. But, let’s talk about how exactly the energy booster affects your overall health. Here comes the nerdy part:
- Not a natural source of energy – caffeine is a stimulant. It doesn’t GIVE energy but pushes the body into increased work rate.
- True, coffee boosts metabolism. It accelerates thermogenesis – the release of fatty acids into the blood. In simple words, your body burns more calories.
- Moderate daily energy booster intake could improve heart function and blood pressure.
- Might prevent from type 2 diabetes and dementia.
Don’t get too concerned. You need to consume about 80 cups of coffee in 24 hours to get caffeine poisoning – on average 1,000 mg of pure stimulant. It’s quite a challenge, isn’t it?
Seeking for the way to stay awake – allegedly, coffee will do the job.
- Turning and tossing in bed – the well-known stimulant interferes with adenosine, the hormone responsible for sleep. The result is: adenosine receptors are blocked, so we can’t fall asleep.
- Have energy booster every day – body starts producing more of that same “sleepy” hormone to make up for the lack of it in the bran. Caffeine is a legal drug. Once you start upping the doze, that’s the time to claim yourself addicted.
- Jitteriness and anxiety – even a cup of tea could cause spikes in adrenalin and insulin levels which leads to an increased heart rate and the release of energy.
Connection Between Caffeine and Hunger
You know that appetite is the desire to eat. But, let’s dig a little deeper:
There are over a dozen of hormones that control hunger. Ghrelin regulates appetite by sending signals to the brain indicating hunger; leptin suppresses appetite and peptide YY stimulates satiety. Serotonin and dopamine reinforce pleasure from food; insulin lowers blood glucose.
So, does caffeine increase appetite? Let’s see:
- Yes, by dropping ghrelin levels, this stimulant suppresses hunger. Unfortunately, satiety lasts only 60 to 120 minutes.
- Decaffeinated coffee has been claimed to keep appetite on the low level longer than caffeinated substances.
- Recently, doctors have been blaming the stimulant for causing weight gain. Caffeine makes you hungry by affecting leptin Since most weight loss supplements contain this stimulant, better throw your diet pills in the garbage!
- Vitamin deficiency – caffeine interferes with iron and magnesium absorption. Low levels of magnesium increase the chance of weight gain.
How to Take Your Coffee
Concerned about calories intake – try to have a cup of joe only on a rare occasion. Although, if you are a creature of habit, follow a few tips and your body will be grateful:
Remember, this stimulant is a diuretic. The symptoms of hunger and thirst can overlap. A gurgling stomach isn’t always a sign of hunger. Stay hydrated – 6 - 8 oz of water before your morning mug of brew is the way to go.
Monitor Caffeine Intake
According to dietitians, 300 mg of this stimulant a day is a reasonable amount (about 4oz of espresso). Prepare your morning joy at home. When you make it yourself – the consumption is under control.
Keep in mind, your favorite energy booster is a stimulant. Drink it too close to your bed time – you might lose a few hours of precious rest. Sleep deprivation causes hormone imbalance: ghrelin levels climb, hunger increases and here comes an unnecessary pound or two. Not enough sleep for a few nights in a row – even 5 mugs of café noir won’t keep you from craving a donut.
Don’t skip breakfast
A cup of coffee is not breakfast. While we sleep, ghrelin keeps rising; ergo we feel hungry in the morning.
- Try a high-protein breakfast. It will increase leptin activity which will result in suppressed appetite.
- Wholegrain toast with avocado or oatmeal will keep your hunger in check for a while.
Don’t Go Cold Turkey
Decided to quit your intake of daily energy boost after all? Do it by tapering the doze. Coffee withdrawal symptoms are real:
- Lack of concentration
If you quit gradually, these symptoms will occur from mild to none.
Natural Source of Energy
- Fruits – fructose gives you a boost by raising blood sugar levels.
- Try Matcha. Phytonutrients in this Japanese green tea are proven to control hunger.
- Coconut water is rich in electrolytes and it’s much healthier than Gatorade.
- Turmeric, cinnamon and red pepper– these spices are known to help suppress appetite and body fat accumulation.
Don’t hope too much – if coffee alone could help suppress appetite, we would have been drinking gallons of it. Don’t starve yourself and don’t take lattes instead of having a nice dinner. Be gentle to your body – eat right, exercise, get enough rest and consume your demitasse in moderate amounts. Enjoy and stay active!