Medically reviewed on November 1, 2023 by Morgan Spicer, Medical Communications Manager 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.
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Coffee is one of the most common and versatile beverages across the globe, with an estimated 176 million 60-kilogram bags being consumed in 2021-2022.  In the United States alone, nearly 75% of all adults aged 20 or older consume coffee on a regular basis.  Many of us drink coffee for the caffeine kick, although there are many other motivations for consuming the beverage, such as socialization, mood improvement, taste, and so on.  Whether you prefer hot coffee or iced coffee, with cream or without cream, and caffeinated or decaffeinated, there have been a number of studies dedicated to learning about the effects of this widely loved drink. Let’s dissect any potential benefits of coffee and talk about how coffee may aid in weight loss.
Coffee contains many minerals and bioactive components, including caffeine, chlorogenic acids (CGAs), calcium, potassium, magnesium, and others.  Research has been done on many of these minerals and CGAs to determine if there is merit to potential health claims associated with coffee. Studies have shown that compounds in coffee are linked with antioxidant, antiviral, antibacterial, anti-cancer, and anti-inflammatory effects. [4-5] Some research shows that coffee consumption may have a positive effect on liver enzyme levels, liver histology, and other liver outcomes in both healthy individuals and individuals with specific kinds of liver diseases, specifically chronic liver disease, liver cancer, liver damage, and liver scarring. [6,7] Additionally, some research shows that coffee may be involved in lowering the risks of various health conditions, including [8-10]:
There are also some risks and side effects associated with coffee consumption, such as sleep disorders, anxiety, and migraine headaches, especially when daily caffeine intake exceeds 200 mg.  It’s important to note that these health effects are a result of the chemicals and other components found in coffee itself. Including high amounts of sugar and cream in the diet on a regular basis can have the opposite effect, potentially increasing the risks of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and other conditions. [11-12]
We’ve established that coffee can have positive (and some negative) health effects, but is coffee also good for weight loss? A few studies have researched the effects of coffee on weight loss, yielding many interesting results. Most recently, a study published by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reviewed the associations between coffee consumption, caffeine intake, and weight changes.  Researchers also took the use of sugar, cream, and nondairy coffee whiteners into consideration. Results showed that a daily increase in unsweetened coffee, either caffeinated or decaffeinated, was associated with a decrease in weight gain.  However, adding sugar to coffee had the opposite effect, causing an increase in weight gain over a four-year period. Researchers also concluded that adding cream or other non-dairy options was not significantly linked to any weight changes. 
There are some things to keep in mind with this study. For example, the change in weight was very minimal, resulting in a difference of less than 1 pound.  There are also outside factors and habits that may result in weight changes, such as someone having a preference for added sugar in other areas of their diet, lifestyle habits, etc.  Even with these caveats in mind, other studies seem to support the findings, suggesting that regular coffee consumption may be associated with obtaining a lower body weight, maintaining weight loss, improving metabolism, and decreasing levels of hunger. [14-17] Learn more about coffee and metabolism
The key takeaway from this information is that coffee may support weight loss goals, but coffee consumption alone will not cause weight loss to occur. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the best way to lose weight healthily is to maintain healthy eating patterns, regular physical activity, and stress management.  It’s important to remember that many other factors can also contribute to weight management, including sleep, age, genetics, disease, and others.  If you’re having a difficult time losing weight, you should speak to your healthcare provider about additional resources. Depending on many factors, such as chronic conditions, underlying disease, or a disability, you may qualify for federally approved medications, devices, or weight loss surgery, such as bariatric surgery. 
Another diet trend you may have heard of is drinking black coffee with lemon for weight loss. Not only does the combination of lemon and coffee not sound very tasty, but there is little evidence to suggest that this concoction will actually result in weight loss.  A few studies have focused on the properties of lemon in weight reduction, but intervention periods are either very short, statistically insignificant, or haven’t been replicated in human studies. [19-21] Some data does show that lemon extract has an effect on insulin sensitivity and lipid breakdown, however, this does not guarantee that drinking lemon coffee will lead to a reduction in body weight.  As both lemon and coffee are very acidic, there may also be some risks associated with the combination, including potential heartburn and dental erosion. [19,21,22]
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition study found that both decaf and caffeinated coffee were associated with a decrease in weight.  It’s clear that there may be a link between some of the chemicals in coffee and weight loss, but what about caffeine? Some researchers have studied the effects of caffeine alone on weight loss. A Cochrane review concluded that caffeine intake may promote a reduction in body fat, BMI, and weight.  Caffeine has also been found to increase metabolic rate, aka metabolism.  A faster metabolism may lead to an increase in weight loss as more calories are burned during a given time period.  Read more about caffeine and weight gain. Keep in mind that there are some risks and side effects associated with caffeine intake, including sleep disruptions, anxiety, and migraine headaches, especially when daily caffeine intake exceeds 200 mg. 
Losing weight can be a long and complicated process. If you do have questions or concerns about your weight, you should speak to a healthcare provider. There are a lot of factors that can influence weight loss, including genetics, nutrition, physical activity, and more. At Everlywell, you can speak with a healthcare provider about your weight loss options through virtual care visits or our Weight Care+ program. Weight Care+ gives you access to regular virtual meetings with a licensed clinician, access to prescriptions if you qualify, and lifestyle content and support for your health-related conditions.