Few foods or drinks speed up your metabolism like a cup of coffee in the morning. Not only does the comforting beverage deliver a quick (and necessary!) burst of energy on sluggish days, but it has actually been proven to help you burn a few extra calories faster.
Not a bad deal — but there’s a catch.
One of the most popular additives that we include in our coffee isn’t doing us any favors where our metabolism are concerned. This is the one coffee mistake that actually slows down your metabolism in the morning.
You can credit coffee’s caffeine content with its ability to increase your metabolism, thanks to a process called thermogenesis in which your body heats up and burns calories faster. Coffee is also a great source of antioxidants that protect cells from damaging free radicals.
On its own coffee is bitter and perhaps in need of a little sweetening. But if you are relying on heaps of sugar to make your cup palatable, you are taking away from some of the benefits of this drink.
Few ingredients have the power to mess with your metabolism quite like sugar. Added sugar in beverages, like coffee, have been shown in studies to decrease the body’s metabolic efficiency. And when your metabolism is compromised, your body is more likely to store fat instead of using it for energy.
Unfortunately, artificial sweeteners that contain chemicals like saccharin, aspartame, and sucralose aren’t much better than actual sugar.
“Studies of artificial sweeteners are mixed, with some indicating that people using them eat fewer calories and lose weight or maintain a stable weight,” reports Harvard Health Publishing. “However, in a few studies, artificial sweeteners were associated with weight gain, which might increase the risk of developing insulin resistance—a condition in which body cells do not respond properly to insulin and thus cannot easily absorb glucose from the blood-stream.”
If all of this sounds like terrible news because you love nothing more than a sweetened cup of coffee, don’t panic — there are other, healthier ways you can dress up that cup and take away its bitter taste.
Healthier coffee additive alternatives include a drop of anti-inflammatory raw honey. agave, Stevia, or even a dash or two of cinnamon and unsweetened cocoa powder.
And if those ingredients just won’t do, try swapping out three tablespoons of sugar for half or a quarter of that amount. Once you get used to drinking coffee without all of that sugar, you may never look back.