We here at Sprudge love you just the way you are; you come here to read about coffee news and culture with us, and we couldn’t ask for anything more. You don’t need to change, not for us, not for anyone. But, if you are looking to physically alter your appearance by shedding a few unwanted pounds—which is okay too, be your best self, whatever you deem that to be—coffee may be able to help you with that. New research suggests that coffee may have a “fat-busting effect.”
As reported by CNN, a study published by researchers at the University of Nottingham found that coffee may help stimulate brown fat cells, “which play a key role in how quickly we can burn calories.” According to the article, there are two different types of fat cells in the human body, brown fat and white fat, and they serve very different metabolic purposes. White fat cells store fat, which can then be harnessed as energy when needed. Brown fat cells generate heat, particularly by burning sugar and fat, per professor Michael Symonds, the study’s co-author. Brown fat has previously been known to exist in high levels in children, a recent discovery of the cells in adults has brown fat as a new subject of scientific research in hopes of finding a new means of fighting obesity.
For the study, University of Nottingham researchers asked five women and four men to drink coffee and then used thermal imaging to see if these individuals’ necks—where most brown fat is stored—showed signs of increasing heat in the brown fat cells. They found that there was indeed a heat increase in the thermal images, leading researchers to posit that coffee can activate brown fat cells and thus, their fat-burning properties.
The research is still in the early stages and researchers have yet to identify what exactly in coffee is having this effect on brown fat cells (the leading candidate is of course caffeine), but the results from the limited sample size appear to indicate that coffee, via the activation of brown fat cells, can help improve blood sugar control and blood lipid levels as well as burn extra calories that can help with weight loss.