The Potential Impact of Coffee on Weight Gain as You Age


Summary: A recent study suggests a modest link between coffee consumption and lower-than-expected weight gain. Researchers analyzed data from three large studies and found that increasing daily coffee intake by one cup was associated with 0.12 kg less weight gain over four years. Adding sugar to coffee, however, was associated with a slightly higher weight gain. While the study’s findings are intriguing, it’s important to approach them with caution, as the associations observed do not prove causation and the overall weight changes were modest.

A recent study conducted by researchers examined the relationship between coffee consumption and weight gain. The researchers combined data from three large studies, including two Nurses’ Health Studies and a Health Professional Follow-up study. Participants in these studies completed questionnaires regarding their food and drink intake every four years. The analysis of the combined datasets revealed that increasing unsweetened caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee intake by one cup a day was associated with 0.12 kg less weight gain than expected over four years.

On the other hand, the addition of sugar to coffee was associated with a slightly higher weight gain of 0.09 kg over the same time period. It’s important to note that the associations found were stronger in participants who were younger and had a higher body mass index at the beginning of the studies.

While the study’s findings are intriguing, it’s important to approach them with caution. The associations observed do not establish causation, and the overall weight changes were relatively modest. The average four-year weight gain averted based on one additional cup of coffee was only 0.12 kilograms, or about 30 grams per year. This may not be a meaningful change for most individuals seeking to manage their weight. Additionally, the study assumed a standard amount of caffeine per cup and did not account for the variability in caffeine content.

Caffeine, a natural stimulant found in coffee, has been shown to temporarily reduce appetite and increase alertness. This may lead to a short-term decrease in energy intake. Furthermore, caffeine has a mild diuretic effect, which can result in temporary water weight loss. However, it’s important to note that this is not fat loss, and the lost weight is quickly regained upon rehydration. Although coffee may have potential benefits in weight management, it should not be viewed as a substitute for regular physical activity and a healthy diet.

The study’s findings do not warrant a drastic increase in coffee consumption, as there are other factors that contribute to weight management. Most adults can safely consume around 400mg of caffeine per day, which is the equivalent of two espressos, four cups of instant coffee, or eight cups of tea. Pregnant or breastfeeding individuals should consult with their doctors before increasing caffeine intake, as caffeine can be passed on to the baby. For personalized weight guidance, it is recommended to consult with a GP or an accredited practicing dietitian.

Tags: coffee, weight gain, study, caffeine, health, appetite, diuretic effect, pregnancy, weight management