Scientists discover coffee could be the key to losing weight AND exercising more
- Caffeine helps burn off calories by boosting the release of oxytocin, experts say
- This hormone affects appetite and metabolism – allowing people to shed weight
- In trials on overweight mice, the stimulant was shown to help them slim down
- It made them eat less and inspired them to be much more active on a wheel By STEPHEN MATTHEWS
(Daily Mail) — Caffeine, the beverage’s main stimulant, helps to burn off calories by boosting the release of oxytocin.
This hormone affects both appetite and metabolism – allowing people to battle their bulging waistline, scientists suggest.
In trials on overweight mice who were given high amounts of caffeine, the drug was found to help them slim down.
It made them eat less and inspired them to be much more active on a wheel running machine, Chinese researchers found.
Caffeine consumption has long been linked to helping people shed the pounds, but the underlying process remained a mystery until now.
The latest findings shed light on the mechanisms involved, providing fresh insights into how caffeine regulates metabolism.
They may even lead to an anti obesity pill based on caffeine, the team at Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, believe .
Lead author Professor Guo Zhang said: ‘We found caffeine significantly reduced the food intakes and increased the wheel-running activities of diet-induced obese mice.
‘Together, the results demonstrate caffeine treatment ameliorates obesity through both the reduction of food intake and the promotion of energy expenditure.’
How it works
THE BENEFITS OF DRINKING COFFEE
Caffeine has been deemed safe for consumption in doses of up to 400 mg per day for the general population.
Studies suggest it can have a variety of health benefits, including combating liver disease and type two diabetes.
Research has even suggested it could even help people live longer.
It is the world’s most widely consumed stimulant and reports show it can boost daily energy expenditure by around five per cent.
Researchers have said combining two to four daily coffees with regular exercise would be even more effective at keeping the weight off.
A 2015 study showed just a couple of cups a day could help millions of dieters stay trim once they have achieved their desired weight.
One of the effects of caffeine is how it affects a molecule called adenosine, which plays a role in sleep and energy production.
When mice were dosed with caffeine, it blocked adenosine receptors in an area of the brain called the hypothalamus.
This is the central regulator of energy balance in mammals – who share many similar features with mice, researchers said in Nature Communications.
In mice, this triggered the release of oxytocin from brain cells, reducing levels of obesity in the lab animals.
‘A critical mediator’
Professor Zhang, who gave the mice two weeks of caffeine injections, added: ‘Oxytocin is a critical mediator of the anti-obesity effect of caffeine.
‘Hence, targeting adenosine receptors by caffeine or its derivatives could represent a relevant strategy to counteract obesity and related illnesses.’
However, the doses used were very high – 60mg/kg, estimated to be equivalent to between 24 and 36 cups of coffee in humans.
The new findings come after a Dutch report last month showed that drinking more coffee may help to stave off liver cancer.
Researchers found people who drink just one cup of coffee a day are 20 per cent less likely to develop the most common form of the disease.