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Does caffeine actually help you lose weight?

Maybe, but the effects are modest and the results are confounded due to combining it with other supplements. Read on for the details from this recent meta-analysis

Study under review: The effects of caffeine intake on weight loss: a systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

Introduction

Overweight and obesity are leading risk factors[1] for diabetes and cardiovascular disease, among other health conditions. As you can see in Figure 1, weight loss is one of the most efficacious interventions for reducing their risk. For example, in people who are obese, weight loss of one kilogram is associated with a 16% lower risk[2] of developing diabetes.

Lifestyle modifications, including diet and exercise, are leading interventions for promoting weight loss. In some contexts, they can be more effective than pharmaceutical interventions. For example, in the Diabetes Prevention Project[3], intensive lifestyle modification of non-diabetic adults reduced the incidence of developing diabetes by 58% compared to no intervention, while metformin therapy reduced the incidence by 31%.

In addition to dietary modification and exercise, there are other non-drug approaches that may augment weight loss. Caffeine has been investigated as a weight loss aid for decades due to its ability to increase energy expenditure[4] and fatty acid oxidation[5]. There have been several randomized controlled trials[6] that have studied the effect of caffeine on weight loss. However, there have been no systematic reviews or meta-analyses aggregating their data. The present study was a systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis examining the effect of caffeine on bodyweight, body mass index (BMI), and body fat.

Weight loss is one of the most effective therapies for reducing the risk of obesity related diseases. Caffeine has been investigated as a non-pharmaceutical weight loss aid in numerous randomized controlled trials. The present study was a systematic review and meta-analysis examining the effect of caffeine on bodyweight, body mass index (BMI), and body fat.

Who and what was studied?

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The big picture

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Other Articles in Issue #50 (December 2018)