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Take Anything... Just Leave My Coffee Alone!

The pursuit of a healthier me (or you) shouldn't involve losing everything we enjoy. However, it has been well-established that caffeine consumption confounds weight loss activities and most of us begin our day with a big, hot cup of it.

With that said, the secret to a successful weight loss pursuit is really all about balance. Maybe you'll read this article and decide to quit caffeine altogether. Maybe you'll read it and be careful to avoid extra caffeine. Maybe you'll read it and decide to blame me for all of your troubles!

Whatever you decide, just remember... this weightloss/fatloss journey is a voyage that will take time, committment and slow, steady progress.

Two aspects of caffeine's relationship to weightloss are cortisol production and dehydration. First of all, let's talk about cortisol.

According to Caroline MacDougall, founder of Teeccino, cortisol is what's known as a stress hormone and it's purpose is to activate many of the body's defenses. While doing so, corisol is responsible for shutting down other functions (digestion, immune system) in the name of energy conservation.

The hormone's purpose is to give us a quick boost of energy for a very short period of time, if we are in a dangerous or life-threatening situation. The problem is that caffeine causes the body to release cortisol into the blood stream, even when we are not in danger.

The effects of overexposure to cortisol include elevated blood sugar, higher cholesterol, higher blood pressure, higher appetite, and, with age, loss of cartilage, bone and muscle tissue. It doesn't take much reflection to realize that we need to seriously evaluate how caffeine is affecting us and our pursuit of a healthier body.

Teeccino makes an herbal coffee substitute that has a lot of body and flavor, and is caffeine free! If you think you can't break free from the grips of caffeine, get their sample pack and slowly substitute herbal coffee for your caffeinated brew over the course of a week. I'll bet you can do it!

Another product that tastes better than coffee and has none of it's "evil" properties is Green Tea Extract. Green Tea Extract is a dark colored liquid that is dispensed from a dropper into the bottom of a glass. Next, hot or cold water is poured into the glass and the beverage is ready to drink. The resulting concontion is slightly sweet and contains no caffeine.

Not only is it a great tasting alternative to coffee, it also contains antioxidants known as chatechins and polyphenols which help to prevent fats from being oxidized. Once fats are oxidized they become more difficult to remove from the body.

The second aspect we want to discuss this week is caffeine's propensity to dehydrate. Much has been written about the importance of drinking water while trying to lose weight. Because caffeine is a diuretic, it actually causes the body to flush water out of your system.

Water is integral if you are to have proper kidney function. The better your kidneys operate, the less the liver needs to become involved. The less your liver needs to do to help out the kidneys, the more it is available to metabolize stored fat. And that's what we're after, right?

Drinking coffee (because of the caffein) ends up creating a water deficit and makes your liver and kidneys work harder. Hopefully you will evaluate the sources and quantities of caffeine that you ingest, and weigh the alternatives. Caffein is simply one bad habit that, once changed, can dramatically improve your health and help you to burn more fat!

University of California Los Angeles

Michael Callen is the author of the Weekly Weightloss Tips Newsletter and the Chief Technology Officer for, an online retailer of dozens of health and wellness products.


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