Caffeine is a compound found in the leaves, seeds or fruit of a number of plant species, including coffee, tea and cocoa. It is a strong stimulant which acts on the central nervous system, speeding up messages to and from the brain.
Caffeine is more commonly associated with weight loss rather than weight gain, being used in a number of weight loss medications to stimulate the metabolism, however the long term safety and effectiveness of most of these drugs are very questionable.
There are a number of ways in which caffeine intake could contribute to overweight and obesity, and these relate to the form in which caffeine is ingested. Drinking several cups of coffee as cappuccinos or lattes with sugar, will add significant kilojoules to your daily intake, as will hot chocolates or chocolate bars. Caffeine is also found in a number of cola beverages, which generally have a high sugar content to balance the flavour. A recent study suggested that if caffeine was removed from these sugary drinks it would be possible to remove as much as 10% of the sugar without changing the taste.
So if your caffeine comes from cappuccinos, chocolate or cola soft drinks then it is very likely that this is contributing to excess body fat levels. If you can’t kick the caffeine habit, reduce your intake over time and enjoy it in green tea instead.
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