Coffee is one of the most popular daytime beverages in the world, and for good reason. Not only is it delicious and infinitely customizable, but it can also provide numerous health benefits, like improved focus and energy and even weight loss support.
Of course, when it comes to using coffee for weight loss, timing is everything. When's the best time to drink coffee for weight loss? It's pretty simple, and you're probably already doing it. Let's dive in:
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Coffee may help with weight loss by boosting metabolism, increasing energy, and curbing hunger.
Drinking coffee in the morning may be the best way to take advantage of the metabolic boost.
You may also want to strategically have a cup of coffee in the afternoon to ward off late cravings.
Why You Should Drink Coffee for Weight Loss
Before we dive into the specifics of when to drink coffee for weight loss, let's first take a look at how coffee can help with weight loss.
The primary reason coffee may be effective for weight loss is because it contains caffeine, a natural stimulant that can help boost your metabolism and increase your energy levels. When your metabolism is higher, your body is able to burn more calories, which can lead to increased weight loss.
A limited 2018 study found that participants who drank coffee over the course of two months had greater levels of metabolites present directly related to the amount of coffee they drank. In other words, coffee directly enhances metabolism, which can help you feel more energized and even burn more calories while at rest.
Caffeine may also help to dampen your appetite. This is especially true if you experience cravings or feel the need to snack due to low energy levels during the day.
A 2014 study found that participants felt more full and ate proportionately less each day just after four weeks of consuming coffee daily. According to this study and others, this may be because coffee helps to suppress ghrelin levels, a hormone that makes you feel hungry.
Additionally, coffee contains micronutrients, like niacin, magnesium, potassium, and a variety of antioxidants that can help to improve digestive health and support healthy muscle and circulatory function–all benefits to a good workout and dietary regimen.
Of course, if you use caffeine incorrectly, it can lead to a crash that may leave you even more hungry. That's why it's crucial that you understand how to best use coffee for weight loss, including the best time to drink it.
When to Drink Coffee for Weight Loss
If you're already drinking your coffee in the morning, you're on the right track.
The ideal time to drink coffee for weight loss is in the morning, sometime between 9:30 and 11:30 a.m.
In the mornings, our bodies naturally produce cortisol, a hormone that regulates our sleep-wake cycle and helps us wake up. Cortisol levels are highest in the morning. This is your body's way of shaking off the sleep–something that's regulated by adenosine and the hormone melatonin.
Cortisol is the opposite–it’s a hormone that helps your body get up and go. Drinking coffee in the morning when cortisol levels are at their peak can help to supercharge your metabolism, leading to an energy boost and increased weight loss potential.
Drinking coffee in the morning may also help to suppress your appetite, which can lead to consuming fewer calories throughout the day. Caffeine helps to signal to your brain that you're full, which can reduce your cravings and help you make better food choices throughout the day.
An Afternoon Dose May Help Too
Although the morning is an ideal time for your coffee boost, you may also consider adding another dose of caffeine in the afternoon. The effects of coffee can last between 4-6 hours, so if you have a cup around 10 am, you may start to feel the effects wear off as early as 2 pm.
This afternoon “crash” can lead to cravings and hunger, and can leave you feeling unmotivated to exercise or move your body. So, another dose can help stave off this tired feeling for a few hours.
The key is to make sure that you aren’t overconsuming caffeine, which can lead to a slew of side effects and dependence. Splitting your daily allowance into two doses is the best way to do this. Many sources suggest that up to 600 milligrams of caffeine per day is safe, but the FDA cites 400 milligrams a day as the maximum dose that is not generally associated with negative effects.
So, by that mark, you may consider 200 milligrams of caffeine in the morning and 200 milligrams 4-6 hours later. That’s roughly four standard (8 ounce) cups of coffee a day, with each cup containing about 95 milligrams of caffeine.
Don’t consume caffeine any later than 4 pm. It will take 4-6 hours for the effects to wear off. Remember, caffeine suppresses adenosine production, a natural chemical made by your body to help induce sleep. Proper sleep is crucial to supporting your weight loss efforts.
Coffee for Weight Loss Side Effects
So, the next obvious question is–are there any drawbacks to drinking this much coffee every day? What if you over consume? Or what about if you stay within the recommended dosage guidelines.
The answer is yes, there can be negative side effects to regularly consuming large amounts of coffee, including:
- Increased urination, which may lead to dehydration
- Dependence, leading to caffeine headaches when you skip a dose
- Increased heart rate
- Increased blood pressure
Luckily, many of these side effects can be avoided by adjusting your dosage (to stay below the maximum dosage guidelines of 400 milligrams per day), drinking plenty of fluids, and potentially pairing caffeine with L-theanine (or other nootropics), which we’ll discuss below.
Caffeine and L-Theanine May Be a Magic Solution
Research shows that L-theanine may help to reduce some of the most common side effects associated with caffeine use, like increased blood pressure, anxiety, and jitteriness.
One study found that L-theanine may help to prevent the dilation of blood vessels after consuming caffeine, effectively reducing its impact on blood pressure and anxiety levels. Another study found that L-theanine can improve and protect slow-wave sleep cycles against the effects of caffeine, which may help to prevent sleep caffeine-associated disruptions.
Plus, research shows that the two may pair together to offer significant benefits, like improved reaction times, improved word recognition, improved attention, and improved ability to switch between tasks, with greater accuracy upon completion. With all these potential benefits at hand, taking L-theanine with our daily caffeine dose is a no-brainer.
Related article "How Much L-Theanine to Take with Coffee"
Coffee for Weight Loss: Other Things to Consider
It's important to note that while coffee can be a helpful tool for weight loss, it's not a magic solution. Drinking coffee alone won't lead to significant weight loss, but rather should be used in conjunction with a healthy diet and regular exercise routine.
Another important factor to consider when it comes to drinking coffee for weight loss is how you take your coffee. Adding sugar and cream to your coffee can add extra calories and negate the weight loss benefits of the caffeine. Instead, try drinking your coffee black or with a small amount of almond milk or unsweetened coconut milk.
It's also important to consider your caffeine tolerance when drinking coffee for weight loss. If you're not used to drinking caffeine, drinking too much coffee can lead to negative side effects, such as jitters, anxiety, and difficulty sleeping. It's recommended to start with a small amount of coffee, such as one cup per day, and gradually increase your intake as your body adjusts.
Conclusion: Best Time to Drink Coffee for Weight Loss
The best time to drink coffee for weight loss is in the morning, sometime between 9:30 and 11:30 a.m. Drinking coffee during this time can help boost your metabolism, suppress your appetite, and lead to consuming fewer calories throughout the day.
However, it's important to remember that coffee should be used in conjunction with a healthy diet and regular exercise routine, and should be consumed in moderation. Additionally, how you take your coffee is important, as adding sugar and cream can add extra calories and negate the weight loss benefits of the caffeine.
You may also pair your coffee with other functional nootropics that can help support your weight loss goals, like L-theanine (which may help negate any side effects from caffeine) or energy supporting functional mushrooms, like cordyceps and lion’s mane.
In fact, a mushroom + nootropic coffee blend may have more weight loss-supporting potential than you ever imagined. You may want to read these to learn more:
Mushroom Coffee + Nootropic Benefits
Our Lucid stack contains moderate doses of caffeine, plus four powerful mushrooms and nootropics like BCAA’s, L-Theanine, L-Tyrosine, Ginkgo Biloba, and more. This functional formula can help boost your performance, improve immunity, support healing, and increase energy to support weight loss goals–a slew of benefits that most energy drinks and coffee blends just don’t provide.
When it’s all said and done, this nootropic + mushroom super blend adds up to offer these benefits and more:
- Increases endurance
- Improves athletic performance
- Helps to manage fatigue
- Boosts immunity
- Improves neurogenesis
- Enhances focus, learning, and memory
- Supports a healthy stress response
- Promotes relaxation
- Supports a balanced mood
Want to learn more? Read more about our Ingredients and Quality, or check out one of our three delicious formulas:
- “Metabolomic response to coffee consumption: application to a three-stage clinical trial” https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/joim.12737
- “Four-week coffee consumption affects energy intake, satiety regulation, body fat, and protects DNA integrity” https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0963996914003378
- “Ghrelin” https://connects.catalyst.harvard.edu/Profiles/display/Concept/Ghrelin
- “Cortisol” https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/22187-cortisol#:~:text=The%20level%20of%20cortisol%20in,different%20times%20of%20the%20day.
- “Spilling the Beans: How Much Caffeine is Too Much?” https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/spilling-beans-how-much-caffeine-too-much#:~:text=For%20healthy%20adults%2C%20the%20FDA,associated%20with%20dangerous%2C%20negative%20effects.
- “A double-blind, placebo-controlled study evaluating the effects of caffeine and L-theanine both alone and in combination on cerebral blood flow, cognition and mood” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4480845/
- “L-theanine partially counteracts caffeine-induced sleep disturbances in rats” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22285321/
- “The effects of l-theanine, caffeine and their combination on cognition and mood” https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0301051107001573?via%3Dihub
- “Acute effects of theanine, caffeine and theanine-caffeine combination on attention” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26869148/
- “Psychological effects of dietary components of tea: caffeine and L-theanine” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18254874/
- “The combination of L-theanine and caffeine improves cognitive performance and increases subjective alertness” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21040626/