Does coffee boost your metabolism?

Medically reviewed by Neka Miller, PhD on August 15, 2021. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.

Coffee is one of the most popular beverages in the world. According to the National Coffee Association, about 64 percent of adults in the U.S. drink coffee daily. The average American drinks about 2.7 cups of coffee per day.

A typical coffee drinker drinks their morning coffee for a lot of reasons. Many people love the varying tastes and aroma that come with different coffee beans and different brew styles, while others appreciate the jolt of caffeine that wakes them up in the morning. Still, others drink coffee, believing that it boosts their natural metabolic rate. So does coffee boost your metabolism? Read on to learn more.


What Is Metabolism?

Many have a lot of questions about metabolism like: what is metabolism? At what age does your metabolism slow down, and what is metabolic testing? Metabolism is the broad series of processes that involve breaking down everything that you eat and drink and turning that into usable energy. Most people associate this with weight loss and fat-burning exercise, and while metabolism does play a role in both of those things, it’s also a constant process necessary to your life.

Your body needs energy all the time, even when you’re technically at rest. Everything from breathing to blinking to producing metabolic hormones to building new cells requires energy. The amount of energy used up to perform all of these basic functions is known as your basal metabolic rate (and what most people refer to as metabolism). Your basal metabolic rate is largely defined by your age, your gender, and your general body composition.

Aside from your basal metabolic rate, you burn calories through a few other means. Thermogenesis, which refers to all of the processes involved with digestion, absorbing nutrients, and storing food components, accounts for about 10 percent of all the calories you burn. Physical activity takes up most of the rest of your caloric burn, and it’s also the most variable, meaning that the more you work out, the more calories you’ll burn.

Experts also point to non-deliberate forms of activity, referred to as non-exercise activity thermogenesis (or NEAT), as a calorie burner. NEAT comprises small things like fidgeting and walking from one room to another. You burn about 100 to 800 calories per day from NEAT.

Coffee and Metabolism

Many people wonder if regular coffee boosts metabolism and increases the calories that you burn. Part of that belief comes from the main active component of coffee: caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant, which is why your morning coffee jolts you awake and gives you that characteristic buzz.

The good news for regular coffee drinkers: they may actually have a point. Studies showed that subjects who drank four cups of coffee per day over a 24-week investigation reduced body fat by about 4 percent. This fat loss may come from caffeine increasing metabolism, leading to more calories getting burned. Other observational studies link coffee with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, but more research is necessary to determine if there is any link between coffee and sugar metabolism.

Does that mean that you should start chugging your cold brew coffee to lose weight and increase metabolism? While the findings do support coffee’s effect on metabolism, almost all experts agree that physical activity and calorie deficits would have a much more significant effect on your weight and metabolism.

Furthermore, it’s worth taking into account the potential side effects of caffeine. The average person can drink up to 400 mg of caffeine (roughly four cups of coffee) without problems, but if you’re not used to that amount of caffeine, you may experience a crash in the middle of the day. Alternately, you may experience sleep problems, and poor sleep is also associated with weight gain and metabolic issues.

Ultimately, drinking coffee in moderation won’t hurt you, but there are also better ways to boost your metabolism. If you think your metabolism is fluctuating, take the Everlywell Metabolism Test, which tests for key hormones that play a role in weight loss, energy, and possibly metabolic syndrome.

Everlywell makes lab testing easy and convenient with at-home collection and digital results in days. Learn More