Eating too much of a healthy food is not, well, healthy. There needs to be some limits if your ultimate goal is weight loss or keeping the status quo. We drink coffee (a lot!) and coffee can be part of a healthy diet. “It contains caffeine that increases fat burn,” says Violet Santana of My Wellness Solutions. That means aside from keeping you alert coffee might aid weight loss. A diet of just coffee doesn’t equal an amazing body. You need to eat a well-rounded diet and exercise regularly, but coffee is part of the equation. The key is to prepare your coffee so the fat burning effects aren’t made null and void by sugar.
Most people we know need sugar in their coffees but there is great value to cutting down on added white sugar. All of that sugar – as well as sugar from processed foods - slows metabolism and gets turned right into fat. You’re the one in control of adding or not adding a teaspoon of sugar to your coffee. Even skipping this seemingly small amount of refined sugar can make an impact on the scale. Just give it a try. It might take some getting used to but if you’re drinking really good coffee then you will soon love the flavor without a sweetener. You’d also be wise to stop adding flavored syrups. Pumpkin spice, vanilla, hazelnut – whatever your add-in of choice – these syrups have huge amounts of sugar that you simply do not need.
Real sugar isn’t great but there’s actually something worse – sugar imposters! Dafna Chazin, a New Jersey-based dietitian, warns that sugar-free items, especially ones labeled as “carb-friendly”, usually contain sugar alcohols such as sorbitol, erythritol and xylitol. “Your body can’t absorb these artificial sweeteners so instead they get fermented in your gut,” she says. “The byproduct of this fermentation process is gas.” If there’s an ingredient on the box that end with “-ol”, it’s likely a sugar alcohol. Extra gas means belly bloat.
To make up for ditching sugar we add a dash of half-and- half to our mugs. Yes, half-and-half contains fat but it’s natural and less of a burden on your body than sugar. If you prefer whole milk or 1%, they work, too, but don’t use flavored dairy creamers or powders. They promise fancy flavoring but are loaded with sugar. Do try fresh cinnamon. Studies show that the antioxidants in cinnamon have potent anti-inflammatory activity. Eating spicy foods like cinnamon can reduce inflammation and kick start your metabolism because it causes a rise in your body’s temperature. It’s formally called thermogenesis – the way your body’s cells convert the energy from the foods you eat into heat. Just drinking a cup of hot coffee gets your body moving at a rapid pace. That means your entire body is engaged in creating and using energy that leads to weight loss.
Researchers at the University of Michigan Life Sciences Institute conducted a study on the effects of cinnamon on human fat cells. They used cinnamaldehyde, the compound that gives cinnamon its flavor and smell. When it came in contact with the cells, cells began creating more metabolism-boosting genes and enzymes, which caused them to burn instead of store extra fat. The freshest flavor will come from a cinnamon stick. Run one along a fine grater or zester and add the powder to coffee grounds (better: add it to whole beans before grinding).