But first, coffee. That’s how we feel every single morning. The day cannot and will not commence until the glorious scent of java fills the air. And coffee isn’t just an indulgence. “It contains caffeine that increases fat burn,” says Violet Santana of My Wellness Solutions. Sweet! A morning mug not only gives your mental clarity a boost, it might aid weight loss. The key is to prepare your coffee so the fat burning effects aren’t made null and void by sugar.
We’re not going to preach about sugar being the enemy but there is value to cutting down on added white sugar wherever you can. All of that 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. To make up for ditching sugar we add a dash of half and half to our cups.
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.” And that’s why your midsection is mountainous. Chazin says to skip anything sugar-free in general: soda, mints, gum, ice cream and protein shakes and bars that contain sugar alcohols. If there’s an ingredient on the box that end with “-ol”, it’s likely a sugar alcohol.
Now for what you should add to coffee: cinnamon. It’s sweet and spicy at the same time. 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. That’s the thermogenesis we just told you about!
“Cinnamon also slows the rate at which the stomach empties after meals, reducing the rise in blood sugar after eating,” says Alex Caspero of Delish Knowledge. She adds cinnamon to her coffee grounds in the morning before brewing for a healthy burst of flavor. 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).