Caffeine for Weight Loss - How Effective Is It?

Jenna Hilton
January 10, 2024

Caffeine is a natural substance found in cacao, coffee, tea, and guarana. It is the primary ingredient in one of the world’s most popular beverages – coffee. Many people swear by its beneficial effect on their mood, mental acuity, and weight management, and the substance appears in weight loss and metabolism-boosting supplements.

This article explores whether caffeine can help people lose weight and recommends consumption methods for the best results.

Caffeine for weight loss

Does Caffeine Affect Weight?

Caffeine is a stimulant that affects the central nervous system and increases mental alertness. Enhanced energy levels may motivate consumers to exercise more and control their appetite. However, research provides conflicting evidence regarding caffeine’s influence on weight. Some studies suggest it can promote weight loss, while other data shows it stimulates weight gain.

Here are some of the ways caffeine affects weight loss:

Caffeine and Fat Loss/Gain

Caffeine stimulates the release of dopamine and noradrenaline, increasing energy levels, motivation, and exercise performance. It also increases the release of adrenaline, the hormone responsible for fat breakdown.

However, some studies show caffeine can increase cortisol and disrupt the sleep hormones melatonin and adenosine. This potentially leads to weight gain due to stress and lack of sleep.

Note: Find out more about sleep hormones and how to treat hormonal insomnia.

Caffeine and Metabolism

Research shows caffeine moderately increases the metabolic rate – the rate at which our bodies process food into energy for essential bodily functions. That’s why caffeine is often used in supplements designed to speed up metabolism and help manage weight.   

Note: Discover the best weight loss products that help control cravings, stimulate physical activity, and reduce body mass.

Caffeine and Appetite

Caffeine affects the sympathetic nervous system, helping to suppress appetite, increase satiety, and accelerate fat breakdown. However, more studies are needed to confirm these results.

Note: Find out what are the best appetite suppressants to manage food cravings.

How to Consume Caffeine for Weight Loss

Coffee works for many people as a weight loss aid. However, it can only help if consumed without sugar, milk, cream, and other ingredients that add calories. A cup of plain black coffee contains only a few calories, and drinking it helps enhance energy and reduce appetite. Consumers can use fat-free milk, plant-based milk, stevia, and other alternatives to the usual additions to make the beverage tastier without increasing the calorie count.

Other products that contain caffeine and may help stimulate weight loss include black and green tea and dark chocolate.

Supplements containing caffeine are among the most effective “fat burners.” They usually contain 200 mg of caffeine, equaling approximately two cups of coffee, and include other stimulants that work synergistically with caffeine to help consumers shed extra pounds.

Risks of Using Caffeine for Weight Loss

According to the FDA, most consumers can safely drink four cups of brewed coffee daily, which means approximately 400 g of caffeine.

Caffeine can cause health problems in some consumers who have caffeine sensitivity.  The risks include:

Sleep problems – Caffeine may block the effects of sleep-promoting hormones. Consumers are advised to avoid caffeine consumption later in the day.   

Increased nervousness – Consumers who drink more than four cups of coffee to enhance weight loss may experience increased heartbeat, restlessness, and anxiety symptoms.

Digestive issues – Taking caffeine in high doses can lead to nausea, vomiting, and an upset stomach.

Withdrawal symptoms – Regular consumers who suddenly stop consuming caffeine may suffer from withdrawal symptoms, including headaches, fatigue, irritability, and depression. They usually last up to one week.

An overconsumption can lead to caffeine tolerance, reducing its stimulant effects. If you decide to take a caffeine supplement, make sure to keep count of the amount of caffeine you are consuming from other sources, such as coffee, tea, and caffeinated soft drinks. Be particularly careful of energy drinks, some of which contain as much as 350 mg of caffeine per can.


Caffeine shows promise as an effective solution for weight loss. Existing studies recognize its potential in improving metabolism and regulating appetite, but data only demonstrates modest weight reduction. Consumers need to combine caffeine use with proven weight loss tips, such as a balanced diet and regular physical activity, to achieve results.

Jenna Hilton
Jenna Hilton has been a practicing PA since 2009, specializing in Family, Internal Medicine and Medical Aesthetics. She attended Arizona State University where she received her Bachelor's Degree and graduated magna cum laude. She received her Master of Science degree in Physician Assistant Studies from A.T. Still University.

Jenna has been injecting neurotoxin and dermal filler since 2013. She received certification as a Master Injector in 2017 through Empire Medical in Los Angeles, California. She is currently working on a Fellowship Program in Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine through the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine. Her special interests include use of PLLA, Ablative/Non ablative skin resurfacing, PDO threads, hormone therapy and nutritional therapies to improve cellular regeneration and medically supervised weight loss.

Jenna Hilton believes in a multi-factorial approach, considering internal factors that accelerate aging and disease development. She always enjoys teaching. She co-founded Vibrant EDU courses at Vibrant Skin Bar and regularly performs one-on-one training with fellow injectors. She teaches Aesthetic and Advanced Injectable Courses at National Laser Institute. She has been named Preceptor of the Year and is an Adjunct Faculty Member at Midwestern University. She was born in Iowa, and lives with her husband and three children in Phoenix, AZ.

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