Many people have the popular misconception that caffeine will help them lose weight. Unfortunately, the opposite is true. Drinking caffeinated beverages or taking pills containing caffeine ultimately stimulates increased appetite for sweets and fatty foods. Caffeine triggers a roller coaster ride of elevated blood sugar and stress hormones that thwarts people's efforts on a diet to stick to their regime.
Teeccino Herbal Coffee, the best selling brand of coffee alternatives, is recommended by well known doctors and health educators in a number of popular weight loss diets for several reasons:
Caffeine Increases Stress
Caffeine from coffee drinking aggravates stress, including physical, mental, and emotional stress, which can affect your mood and your health. Caffeine intake elevates the stress hormones cortisol, epinephrine ( also known as adrenaline) and norepinephrine. (Robertson et al, 1978) (Lane et al, 1990) (Kerr, 1993) (Lane et al, 2002)
If you are trying to lose weight, it is a good idea to avoid coffee and other sources of caffeine in order to reduce potential stress. Caffeine increases the reactivity of the body to the stress of everyday life and increased levels of stress negatively affect weight loss. (Lane et al, 2002)
Caffeine Stimulates Appetite
Although caffeine is included as an ingredient in many weight-loss aids, it actually stimulates appetite, and organizations including the Mayo Clinic (Mayo Clinic, 2003) discourage the use of caffeine as a weight-loss aid. Initially, caffeine may decrease appetite through its central nervous system response. However subsequently, higher levels of cortisol caused by caffeine consumption stimulate appetite. (Takeda et al, 2004) (Epel et al, 2001)
Caffeine triggers hypoglycemia through the activation of the sympathetic nervous system and the adrenal glands, causing an immediate and sustained constriction of blood vessels, decreased circulation to the brain and a heightened feeling of low blood sugar. (Kerr et al, 1993)
The body’s reaction to hypoglycemia results in food cravings and increased appetite. People often crave higher fat foods resulting in increased caloric intake, further interfering with the body’s ability to maintain a healthy weight (Strachen et al, 2004) (Dewan et al, 2004)
Increased Stress Leads to Overeating
A chronic state of increased stress is associated with a markedly increased tendency to overeat. Anxiety caused by caffeine stimulating the central nervous system increases the tendency of people to overeat or binge-eat and abuse laxatives and diet pills. (Krahn et al, 1991) (Livermore, 1991)
Coffee drinking increases physiological measurements of stress, and although this effect is greater with increased caffeine levels, decaffeinated coffee may also influence stress as factors other than caffeine in coffee are associated with stress. (Quinlan et al, 2000)
Elevation of stress hormones leads to fat cravings (Castonquay, 1991)
Elevated levels of cortisol increase appetite (Takeda et al, 2004)
Increased Cortisol Levels Lead to Abdominal Obesity
Chronically elevated blood cortisol levels that are caused by frequent stress or regular caffeine or coffee intake lead to an increased buildup of fat in the abdominal area; this type of weight gain further stimulates the release of additional stress hormones. (Dallman et al, 2004)
A well documented relationship exists between chronically elevated levels of stress hormones and deposition of excess fat in the abdomen leading to obesity as well as increased caloric intake, particularly increased ingestion of fats and sugars (Bjorntorp, 2001)
Caffeine Interferes with Calming Neurotransmitters
GABA (Gamma-aminobutyric acid) is a neurotransmitter naturally produced in the brain and nervous system as well as the heart. It plays an important role in mood and stress management and influences a person's sense of well-being.
Caffeine has been found to interfere with binding of GABA to GABA receptors, preventing it from performing its calming function (Roca et al, 1988) GABA’s role in stress management is compromised in the presence of caffeine, and increased physiological and psychological stress lead to overeating as well as difficulties losing weight.
Reference (by alphabetical order)
NIH Publication No. 03-4158. Copyright July 2003
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Dallman, M.F., la Fleur, S.E., Pecoraro, N.C., Gomez, F., Houshyar, H., Akana, S.F. 2004. Minireview: glucocorticoids--food intake, abdominal obesity, and wealthy nations in 2004. Endocrinology. 145(6): 2633-8.
Dewan, S., Gillett, A., Mugarza, J.A., Dovey, T.M., Halford, J.C. and Wilding, J.P. 2004. Effects of insulin-induced hypoglycaemia on energy intake and food choice at a subsequent test meal. Diabetes/metabolism research and reviews. 20(5):405-10.
Epel, E., Lapidus, R., McEwen, B. and Brownell, K. 2001. Stress may add bite to appetite in women: a laboratory study of stress-induced cortisol and eating behavior. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 26(1):37-49.
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Lane, J.D. 1994. Neuroendrocine Responses to Caffeine in the Work Environment. Psychosomatic Medicine. 546:267-70.
Lane, J.D., Adcock, R.A., Williams, R.B. and C.M. Kuhn. 1990. Caffeine effects on cardiovascular and neuroendocrine responses to acute psychosocial stress and their relationship to level of habitual caffeine consumption. Psychosomatic Medicine. 52(3):320-36.
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Takeda, E., Terao, J., Nakaya, Y., Miyamoto, K., Baba, Y., Chuman, H., Kaji, R., Ohmori, T. and Rokutan, K. 2004. Stress control and human nutrition. Journal of Medical Investigation. 51(3-4): 139-45.
A number of diets such as The Fat Flush Plan by Ann Louise Gittleman, The Rosedale Dietby Ron Rosedale, M.D., and The Perricone Prescription by Nicholas Perricone, M.D. advise their followers to quit caffeine as a part of their weight loss program.