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Study: Caffeine does not help you eat less or lose weight

A new investigation has found that caffeine is not effective as an appetite suppressant or a weight-loss aid. Study participants who drank caffeine consumed around ten percent less food in the morning, but this effect did not last throughout the day or change their perception of how hungry they felt.

Study lead author Leah M. Panek-Shirley is a professor in the Department of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences at SUNY University.

“Caffeine is frequently added to dietary supplements with claims that it suppresses appetite and facilitates weight loss,” said Professor Panek-Shirley. “Previous research has speculated that caffeine speeds metabolism or affects brain chemicals that suppress appetite.”

“In addition, epidemiological evidence suggests that regular caffeine consumers have a lower body mass index (BMI) than non-consumers. The purpose of our study was to determine whether caffeine can in fact be linked to reduced food intake or suppressed appetite, and if the results vary by BMI.”

The study was focused on fifty healthy adults between the ages of 18 and 50, who were observed once a week over the course of a month. Some individuals drank juice with caffeine added, which was either the equivalent of four or eight ounces of coffee, and others drank juice with no added caffeine as a placebo.

Thirty minutes later, participants were instructed to eat as much as they wanted from a breakfast buffet. The individuals recorded everything they ate throughout the rest of the day as well, and documented their appetite each time.

The study revealed that participants who had drank juice with a low dosage of caffeine consumed about 70 fewer calories at breakfast. However, they were found to compensate for the calories later in the day.

There were no changes in appetite reported by those who had consumed caffeine, and no association was found between BMI and appetite or calorie intake.

“This study, by nature of its rigorous design, reinforces the importance of good eating habits and not relying on unsupported weight loss aids or unhealthy practices,” said study co-author Carol DeNysschen.

The research is published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

By Chrissy Sexton, Staff Writer

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