Presse Santé

Drinking coffee before exercise increases fat burning

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

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

In general, healthy adults are advised not to consume 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-analyzes suggested that caffeine may 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 that caffeine contributes to exercise performance, little research has been done on whether it helps the body burn fat. To study the ability of caffeine to improve fat burning abilities, scientists from the Department of Physiology at the University of Granada (UGR) in Spain examined the effect of caffeine intake on the maximum oxidation rate. fat (MFO) of active men during a graduated 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 caffeine consumption help you burn more fat?

The researchers recruited 15 active men with an average age of 32 years. All of these participants were non-smokers who did not have any health problems that could be exacerbated with exercise and were not taking any medications or drugs. They also all had previous experience with endurance training 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 an exercise bike. 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 maximum 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 caffeine experienced an increase in MFO and VO2max during the morning and afternoon exercise tests. The afternoon exercise tests showed larger increases in MFO and VO2max than the morning exercise tests. During the morning workouts, caffeine consumption increased the MFO to a level similar to that of the afternoon tests in participants who did not use caffeine. The results of the study showed that acute caffeine intake 30 minutes before performing an aerobic exercise test increased maximal fat oxidation during exercise. Whatever the time of day.

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

What are the dangers of caffeine use?

As with any drug, excessive caffeine consumption can lead to unpleasant side effects. Notably insomnia, restlessness, anxiety, a fast heartbeat, nausea and headaches. For people with certain underlying health problems, such as an irregular heartbeat, caffeine can exacerbate their symptoms. People who fear that their caffeine use may worsen should consult a healthcare professional 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 volume.

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 EVENT SHALL THE INFORMATION GIVEN REPLACE THE CONSULTATION OF A HEALTH PROFESSIONAL.

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