Caffeine is a stimulant that activates your central nervous system, increasing alertness and is the most popular legal psychoactive agent in the country. Caffeine can be found in the beans, leaves, or fruit of more than 60 plants. Therefore, it can’t be listed as an ingredient on supplements, but you might see things like:
- Camilla sinensis
- Kola nut
- Guarana berries
These plant-based sources of caffeine also contain other stimulants, such as theobromine and theophylline.
The most common uses of caffeine is to increase mental alertness, decreasing mental fatigue. However, there are several other things that caffeine can be used for as well, such as fighting off the fatigue (mental and physical) that comes with training, support the re-synthesis of glycogen, and support other issues that come with exercise. In addition to coffees and sodas, you can find caffeine in energy drinks, headache medications, and even weight loss products.
In the US, caffeine is GRAS, or generally recognized as safe. Still, the ability to tolerate caffeine is different from one person to the next. There are some people who can drink coffee all day long and never have a problem (though it’s probably not the best idea), while others have negative side effects after consuming a very small amount of caffeine.
According to experts, consuming 250 to 300 milligrams or more of caffeine each day can result in difficulty sleeping or rapid/irregular heartbeat. They also warn that ingesting extreme amounts of caffeine, that is 10 to 14 grams/day, can lead to death. Women who are pregnant should consume less than 300 milligrams of caffeine each day because too much can lead to premature birth, spontaneous abortion, or low birth weight.
Additionally, there are some individuals that should avoid caffeine, such as those who have:
- High blood pressure
- Anxiety disorders
- Cardiac disorders
When used with some OTC (over the counter) or prescription medications, the risk of adverse side effects is increased. These medications include:
It’s recommended that you check with your doctor if you have any concerns about the amount of caffeine you’re consuming or how it will interact with your medications/supplements or medical conditions. Keep in mind that many supplements/beverages don’t list how much caffeine they contain. If you have any concerns, feel free to contact the company and find out.
How Does Caffeine Support Calorie Burning?
There are three ways that caffeine supports the burning of calories:
- Supports the increase of lipolysis, which is the breakdown of fat
- Supports metabolism boost, which increases calorie burning. Of course, you must keep in mind that this effect is diminished in those who consume large amounts of caffeine habitually
- Works with green tea synergistically and this combo has been suggested to circulate norepinephrine, which breaks down stored fat and carbohydrates
How to Increase Calorie Burning?
Below, you will find a few tips that will help you increase the amount of calories you burn each day:
Increase daily physical activity
You might be surprised at the amount of calories you’ll burn when you increase your daily activity; clean your car or home, walk instead of drive, or take the stairs instead of the elevator. Even if you spend an hour in the gym every day, it’s critical that you are physically active all day, especially if you have a sedentary job.
If you do cardio, consider adding a couple of interval sessions each week. When you increase the intensity, or vary the intensity, of your workouts, intervals help you burn calories quickly.
Increase protein consumption
Your body will burn more calories when digesting protein than it does when digesting fat and carbs. Therefore, increase your protein consumption to ultimately lose more weight. Of course, we do need all three, so consider your diet and substitute protein for carbs or fats if you’re overeating either.
When you increase your muscle mass, you’re going to burn more calories, even when resting. Sure, most of the time, the amount of calories you burn while at rest is exaggerated, but even a few extra calories a day will help with weight loss over time or help you maintain a healthy weight.
The truth is, the most ideal way to lose weight is through a solid diet/exercise program; you can’t depend on caffeine alone. Of course, when used properly, caffeine can contribute to helping you reach your overall weight loss goals.