Don’t hold back on that figgy pudding — just have four cups of coffee first! According to a new study, drinking coffee can help offset weight gain, a serious problem haunting the holidays. So if you’re concerned about the Christmas pounds, don’t skimp on the caffeine.
Scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign claim that consuming caffeine can limit weight gain and cholesterol production, even for those eating a diet high in fat and sugar, Fox News reported.
Researchers in the study fed a group of rats a diet consisting of 40 to 45 percent carbohydrates and 15 percent protein for four weeks. The rats were also given a tea rich in phytochemicals, flavonoids, and amino acids. The caffeine content varied from 65 to 130 milligrams. The researchers also gave them other sources of caffeine.
The rats that consumed caffeine had a significantly lower amount of body fat at the end of the study. The researchers determined that caffeine reduced fat absorption by 22 percent and reduce weight gain by 16 percent.
Humans are not rats, of course, but the researchers concluded that drinking four cups of coffee a day could help prevent weight gain.
“Considering the findings, mate tea and caffeine can be considered anti-obesity agents,” Elvira Gonzalez de Mejia, a co-author of the study, told SWNS. “The results of this research could be scaled to humans to understand the roles of mate tea and caffeine as potential strategies to prevent overweight and obesity, as well as the subsequent metabolic disorders associated with these conditions.”
“The consumption of caffeine from (tea) or from other sources alleviated the negative impact of a high-fat, high-sucrose diet on body composition due to the modulation of certain lipogenic enzymes in both adipose tissue and the liver,” the researcher added.
Color me skeptical. Many of these studies are questionable, to begin with. Furthermore, humans are very different from rats. Coffee and similar drinks may offset some of the weight gain associated with a high-carb diet, but that doesn’t mean coffee is a wonder drug that will keep you thin while you eat whatever you like.
Caffeine may help decrease weight gain, but it would still be wise to eat in moderation, even on Christmas Day.
Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.