Welcome to my science based guide that will show you exactly how to use caffeine for weight loss for the highest possible fat burn boost.
(This guide focuses on taking caffeine for weight loss. For a more general guide on the effects of caffeine on your mental and sports performance - and its potential side effects, go here.)
While most people rely on caffeine to kick-start their day, caffeine is also one of the rare few fat burners that have actually been proven to work by modern science.
But if caffeine can actually help you lose weight, then why isn't every coffee lover on this planet proudly walking around in a zero-fat body?
Before we turn to science for answers, here's a quick overview of everything that you can expect to learn from this guide:
Let's dive right in.
Lose 1-2 lbs (0.5-1 kg) of weight with caffeine overnight
The good news is, caffeine has been scientifically proven to help you lose some extra weight pretty quickly.
In one study, people drank water mixed with caffeine. On average, caffeine helped the people in the study lose 1-2 lbs (0.5-1 kg) of weight in just 24 hours.
But you'd run into two problems if you wanted to get similar weight loss results with caffeine yourself:
The first problem is, the doses of caffeine used in that study were extremely high. In other words, you'd have to drink down about 7 cups of coffee to get in that much caffeine, which is way above the FDA's recommendation of 1-2 cups per day.
The second problem with losing weight with caffeine this quickly, brings us right to the next question...
Does caffeine only make you lose water weight?
Yes, the people in the study above only lost some water weight, meaning that they didn't necessarily get rid of any extra body fat at all.
Besides, in another study, they wanted to see if smaller doses of caffeine can still help people lose some water weight. The doses were still high, but people got in "only" about 2-3 cups of coffee. In these doses, caffeine was no longer powerful enough to help people get rid of any water weight.
So there you go. While it's possible to get rid of some water weight with caffeine, you can only do it with dangerously high doses. Besides, losing water weight can't really help you in the long run. As soon as the levels of caffeine in your body drop, that lost water weight will come back in no time.
What you really want, is to learn how to use caffeine to laser-target that stubborn body fat. So let's take a look at the science behind that.
Scientific proof that caffeine actually works for weight loss
One study has shown caffeine increases your calorie burn rate by 10-12%.
This calorie burn boost will last for at least three hours after you get that caffeine in.
Another study has shown that caffeine can increase the number of calories you burn away by 8-11%.
Now, before we take a look at how many calories you can expect to burn away in total, there's one more weight loss benefit of caffeine you need to know about.
Caffeine releases calories from your body fat reserves
Yes, caffeine can boost the release of calories from your body fat stores. Those calories are released into your blood as something called "free fatty acids".
Here's a study that proved caffeine can literally double the release of free fatty acid from your body fat reserves.
This is pretty awesome, because if you wanted to release body fat from your reserves this quickly without caffeine, you'd first need to enter a state of ketosis.
But there's a catch.
But does this mean you're actually losing any body fat?
On its own, releasing more calories from your body fat reserves doesn't mean you'll actually burn all of those calories away.
Because, if you take caffeine and then go lie on the couch, most of those released calories will simply return to your body fat reserves over time.
So try to take caffeine before any activity that will actually help you burn those calories away. Running, cycling, swimming, walking, or just about any similar activity can help you wipe out those newly released fat-calories.
But ok, how many calories can you realistically expect to burn away with both of these weight loss benefits of caffeine (the extra calorie burn and the extra calorie release)?
How many calories does caffeine burn per day?
According to one study, caffeine can help you burn away between 80 and 150 calories per day.
Your actual number depends on how much weight you still need to lose.
If you only need to get rid of a few extra pounds, then caffeine is going to help you burn away more calories (you'll be falling closer to 150 calories per day). But if you have a lot of weight to lose, then caffeine won't work as well (you can count on burning away closer to 80 extra calories per day).
But keep in mind that the doses of caffeine they used in the study were pretty high (about 6 cups of coffee per day). So, when you're thinking about the weight loss benefits of caffeine, make sure to think about your health as well.
Here's one more benefit you could enjoy, if you're thinking of taking caffeine for weight loss.
Caffeine brings down your appetite and hunger
In one study, they discovered caffeine can help you eat less calories.
When men drank down caffeine before their meals, they automatically started eating 22% less calories.
Why do I only mention men? Because for the women in the study, caffeine didn't help reduce their appetite (if you're a woman reading this, then I'm sorry).
But it is true that the women in the study ate 40% less calories than men (even when neither of them took caffeine). So their low desire for food from the get-go could have been the reason why caffeine couldn't drop their appetite any further.
Let's take a look at yet another benefit of caffeine for weight loss.
Caffeine helps you stay away from fattening junk
Science says, caffeine can also help reduce your impulsivity.
In other words, the next time you're on a weight loss diet, caffeine could save you from ruining your fat loss progress by deciding to stuff your face with fattening junk on impulse.
And while this can't directly help you burn away more calories, any psychological advantage that can improve your chances of staying on the wagon is more than welcome.
On to how much caffeine you actually need to speed up weight loss.
How much caffeine should you take per day for weight loss?
According to one study, taking 50 mg of caffeine won't be enough to burn ANY extra calories.
The scientists discovered that you need at least 100 mg of caffeine to trigger the calorie burning process in your body.
On the other hand, FDA says healthy adults can safely take up to 400 mg of caffeine per day  (though the recommended dose still stands at 200 mg).
Knowing the minimum effective dose and the maximum safe dose, the final answer is:
You should take 100-400 mg of caffeine per day for weight loss (1-4 cups of coffee).
On to one of the most common mistakes people make when taking caffeine for fat burn.
Can caffeine actually make you gain weight?
If you're not careful about how you're getting your caffeine in with, you could easily ruin any benefits of caffeine for weight loss.
Adding just a few tablespoons of sugar to your morning coffee could bring way more calories to the table than caffeine could ever help you burn.
If you enjoy your coffee with whipped cream, you should know that whipped cream can contain even more calories than pure sugar.
So, to avoid any nasty surprises, always make sure you're getting your caffeine in with as few calories as possible.
Does caffeine have any calories on its own?
No, without anything added to it, caffeine does not have any calories. But like I said, that doesn't mean you can't get in a lot of calories with drinks/foods that contain caffeine.
To avoid this problem, drink your coffee black, if you can. Or at least add a low-calorie sweetener like Splenda to your coffee.
If you're a fan, you can also pick any low-calorie energy drink like Rockstar Zero Carb (yep, that one's a personal favorite).
Whenever possible, check the nutrition labels to find out how many calories you'll actually be getting in with your caffeine.
As you saw, plenty of research has been done to prove that caffeine and weight loss actually do go hand in hand.
And while caffeine can double the release of calories from your body fat reserves, boost your calorie burn rate, and reduce your appetite and impulsivity, you still can't expect any overnight weight loss miracles.
You also have to be careful about how many calories you're getting in with your caffeine.
Put a little too much sugar (or cream) in your coffee, or drink an energy drink with too many calories in it, and you could easily ruin any weight loss benefits of caffeine.
Other than that, caffeine remains one of the rare few weight loss supplements that have actually been proven to work for weight loss.