That morning jolt of caffeine is considered by many to be an every day necessity – so much so that the FDA says about 80% of Americans have some sort of caffeine on a daily basis. Whether it’s a cup of joe, an energy drink, or a dietary supplement, we’re addicted to the stuff – literally. And while ample research shows how caffeine affects the central nervous system to increase alertness, some of the other claims about the “health benefits” of caffeine aren’t all that well supported.
In particular, weight loss and bodybuilding supplements frequently include caffeine, along with claims that caffeine acts as a weight suppressant and/or metabolism booster. But this doesn’t tell the whole story. Previous studies have shown that consuming caffeine can suppress appetite, but newer studies have taken a more comprehensive look at this phenomenon and found that not only is the effect temporary, but participants inevitably made up for the missed calories later in the day without realizing it.
Studies about caffeine as a metabolism booster are similarly flawed in that the research focuses on the epinephrine (adrenaline) boost that goes along with consuming caffeine. It’s true that adrenaline will act as a metabolism booster, but the more caffeine someone ingests, and the more regularly they do so, the more the body acclimates to the stimulant, and stops responding to it. Which means that in the long term, your body no longer experiences the same adrenal burst when you take caffeine, leaving you just with the negative side effects such as increased blood pressure if you keep taking it, or withdrawal symptoms like headaches, muscle aches, and irritability if you stop.
Overall, the best bet for your health is always going to be a healthy, balanced diet, and exercise that you enjoy.