Drinking coffee before exercise increases fat burning

A study suggests that drinking coffee before exercising may help burn more fat. There was already research showing an association between caffeine consumption and increased exercise performance. However, these data were limited on whether caffeine increases the body’s ability to burn fat. Using graded exercise tests in active men, scientists have further examined the effect of caffeine on fat oxidation during morning and afternoon workouts.

Researchers found evidence to suggest that ingesting an amount of caffeine equivalent to a cup of strong coffee 30 minutes before aerobic exercise led to increased fat burning, especially if the activity took place during afternoon. Caffeine is a stimulant found naturally in coffee beans, tea leaves and cocoa beans. Commercial energy drinks and many other foods also contain caffeine. Moderate consumption of this stimulant can increase alertness, cognitive function, and weight loss.

In general, healthy adults are recommended to consume no more than 400 milligrams (mg) of caffeine per day, which is equivalent to about 4 or 5 cups of coffee. However, some people metabolize caffeine differently and experience negative effects at lower levels of consumption.

In 201, a summary of 21 published meta-analyses suggested that caffeine could increase exercise performance by improving anaerobic power, aerobic endurance, and muscle strength. The data also showed that the positive effect of caffeine on these performance markers is more pronounced during aerobic exercise sessions than during anaerobic exercise.

Despite evidence showing that caffeine helps exercise performance, little research has been done on whether it helps the body burn fat. To investigate the ability of caffeine to enhance fat burning abilities, scientists from the Department of Physiology at the University of Granada (UGR) in Spain examined the effect of caffeine intake on peak oxidation rate body fat (MFO) of active men during a graded exercise test. The study took place between June and November 2019, and the results appear in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.

Does consuming caffeine help burn more fat?

The researchers recruited 15 active men whose average age was 32 years. All of these participants were non-smokers who had no health conditions likely to worsen with exercise and were not taking any medications or drugs. They also all had previous endurance training experience and consumed less than 50 mg of caffeine per day.

In this triple-blind, placebo-controlled study, each participant performed an exercise test four times – twice in the morning and twice in the afternoon, using a bicycle ergometer. A 7-day interval separated each test. 30 minutes before each test, participants consumed either 3 mg per kilogram of body weight of caffeine, which is equivalent to strong coffee, or a placebo of pure microcrystalline cellulose. The researchers measured MFO and maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) by indirect calorimetry and calculated the exercise intensity needed to achieve optimal MFO.

The results of the study showed that:

Participants who consumed the caffeine had an increase in MFO and VO2max during exercise tests that took place in the morning and afternoon. Afternoon exercise testing showed greater increases in MFO and VO2max than morning exercise testing. During the morning exercise sessions, caffeine consumption increased MFO to a level similar to that of the afternoon tests in participants who did not consume caffeine. Study results showed that acute caffeine ingestion 30 minutes before performing an aerobic exercise test increased peak fat oxidation during exercise. No matter what time of day.

Researchers therefore suggest that consuming a cup of strong coffee or an equivalent amount of caffeine shortly before a moderately intense afternoon aerobics session is the best scenario for maximum whole-body fat oxidation. .

What are the dangers of caffeine consumption?

As with any drug, excessive caffeine consumption can lead to unpleasant side effects. Including insomnia, restlessness, anxiety, rapid heartbeat, nausea and headaches. For people with certain underlying health conditions, such as an irregular heartbeat, caffeine can exacerbate symptoms related to their condition. People who are concerned that consuming caffeine may worsen their condition should consult a healthcare practitioner before consuming caffeinated products.


Caffeine increases maximal fat oxidation during a graded exercise test: is there a diurnal variation? Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition vol.

Wake up and smell the coffee: caffeine supplementation and exercise performance—an umbrella review of 21 published meta-analyses

* Presse Santé strives to transmit health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE, the information given can not replace the advice of a health professional.

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