By Stefan Ianev
After water and tea, coffee is the next most popular beverage in the world.
Not only does coffee taste great, but it also contains high levels of antioxidants, and it has numerous health benefits.
Of course, coffee is also high in caffeine, which is responsible for some of its health benefits. However, drinking too much caffeine is not desirable either, as it can cause side effects such as anxiety, restlessness, insomnia, irritability, and GI distress .
If you limit your coffee intake to 2-3 cups a day, with your last cup no later than 4pm, you can reap the benefits without the unwanted side effects. There is no reason to absolutely cut coffee out of your diet.
So, without further ado, here are the top 5 benefits of drinking coffee.
Increased Energy and Motivation
As we mentioned, coffee contains caffeine, which is a powerful stimulant that has been shown to improve mood, increase motivation, and decrease fatigue [2,3]. This is a big benefit especially in the later states of a diet when fatigue and lack of motivation starts to kick in.
Increased Fat Burning and Energy Expenditure
In addition to increasing energy and motivation, caffeine also increases fat oxidation and drives up energy expenditure. Studies have shown that a single dose of 100-200mg of caffeine, which is equivalent to 1-2 cups of coffee, can increase resting energy expenditure by as much as 3-11% [4,5].
Once again, this becomes important in the later stages of a diet when metabolic rate slows down and weight loss plateaus.
Increased Aerobic and Anaerobic Performance
IIn addition to the thermogenic and psychological benefits, caffeine also increases both aerobic and anaerobic performance . This is important, especially in the later stages of a diet because improved performance in resistance training exercise helps spare muscle mass, while improved performance in cardiovascular exercise helps drive up energy expenditure from physical activity, in addition to the increased resting expenditure.
Reduces Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
Coffee consumption, including decaffeinated coffee has been associated with reduced risk of type 2 diabetes. A 2009 systematic review with data from 18 observational studies with information on 457,922 participants reported that every additional cup of coffee consumed in a day was associated with a 7% reduction in the excess risk of diabetes relative risk .
A 2019 systematic review looking at the effects of coffee consumption on glucose metabolism reported that coffee may improve the glucose metabolism by reducing the glucose levels and improving insulin sensitivity .
Lastly, coffee consumption has been associated with a 20-26% reduced risk of death in healthy populations, and a 30% lower risk of death in individuals with type 2 diabetes [9,10]. This effect is likely due to the high antioxidant levels which coffee contains.