The Tricky Way Coffee Might Be Preventing You From Losing Weight

Coffee: One day it’s good for us, the next day we’re supposed to avoid it like the plague. The reality of coffee’s health factor is that it probably lies somewhere in the middle. Drinking coffee (real coffee, not sugary lattes) has actually been correlated with healthier blood sugar levels and normalized insulin production, and some studies have even linked coffee’s antioxidant qualities to the prevention of cancer.

On the other hand, of course, coffee contains caffeine. Like any drug, caffeine can be addictive. And in large quantities, it can even be fatal. But rarely does anyone correlate coffee’s caffeine content with a related health drawback: Too much caffeine consumption can make it difficult to lose weight.

The Role of Cortisol In Weight Loss

Many people, especially women, gain weight (or are unable to lose it) due to an excess of cortisol production. Cortisol is a hormone that’s meant to elevate stress when appropriate, such as in a fight-or-flight situation or a scenario in which anticipating bad odds (that is, worrying) is biologically necessary. But unfortunately, many of us experience this stress response way too often in today’s modern world. It’s one of the factors that experts suspect may lead to adrenal fatigue.

Related: How to Lower Cortisol Naturally

Cortisol also plays a role in weight gain. It stimulates the body to maintain fat, primarily around the midsection. Many women of menopausal and postmenopausal age notice that they begin to retain weight in this area, and this has a lot to do with the fact that women’s hormones go a little crazy during menopause.

Cortisol and Caffeine

And here’s the big kicker: When you consume caffeine, your body produces extra cortisol. Which means that caffeine consumption may indeed lead to weight retention.

However, if you’re a habitual coffee drinker, your body could have developed a tolerance to caffeine that helps fight this effect. A study published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine found that “Cortisol responses to caffeine are reduced, but not eliminated, in healthy young men and women who consume caffeine on a daily basis.”

So, even if you have developed some tolerance to caffeine, the cortisol produced by your body still increases slightly when you drink coffee. If you have found that you retain weight around your midsection, you may want to consider reducing your caffeine consumption while you get your hormones back in order.

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Melania Padilla
Melania P1 years ago

I didn't know of this; I drink 2 cups of coffee per day. I guess I became immune because I am skinny. Everyone works differently when it comes to hormones. Thanks for posting!

Richard A
Richard A2 years ago

Thank you for this article. The cortisol angle is very interesting.

Margie F
Margie FOURIE2 years ago

Thank you

william M
william Miller2 years ago


Carl R
Carl R2 years ago


Elena Poensgen
Elena Poensgen2 years ago

Thank you

Elena Poensgen
Elena Poensgen2 years ago

Thank you

Harriet B
Harriet B2 years ago

Coffee makes the world turn.

First they came for my cigarettes. Then, my sweets. Then my booze.

They will NEVER take my coffee away from me.

Elizabeth H
Elizabeth H2 years ago

Haven't drunk coffee in many years and can't see how coffee can make you put on weight, it never did with me. Sorry not convinced.

Debbi -
Debbi -2 years ago

I might consider this if I hand't traded in my caffeinated coffee for decaf last December and have not lost an ounce but have gained even though cutting back on my inake.