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Black Coffee for Weight Loss : New Study Highlights Benefits Without Sugar

Unsweetened Coffee’s Potential Link to Weight Loss

Coffee holds a special place in the hearts of people all over the world. It is estimated that a whopping 74% of American indulge in drinking this wonderful warm brew on a daily basis.(1) Interestingly, scientists have applauded this coffee-loving habit, associating moderate consumption with lower incidences of various health conditions, such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular issues.(2)

Now, a recent study featured in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, dated October 1, 2023, has shed light on yet another potential benefit of drinking this beloved beverage: coffee’s connection to weight loss. There is, however, a crucial stipulation – it should be consumed without added sugars.(3)

This intriguing finding not only adds another positive aspect to coffee’s repertoire of health benefits but also emphasizes the importance of savoring it in its pure, unsweetened form. It’s yet another reason for coffee aficionados to relish their daily cup, knowing that it might just be contributing to their overall well-being.

Study Unravels the Relationship between Coffee, Additives, and Weight Management

In the comprehensive study mentioned above, researchers delved into the relationship between coffee consumption and weight management. Researchers paid particular attention to the various additions people often include in their coffee, such as sugar, sweeteners, cream, or non-dairy creamers.

This extensive investigation involved a sizable cohort, comprising 48,891 participants from the Nurses’ Health Study, 83,464 from the Nurses’ Health Study II, and 22,863 from the Health Professional Follow-up Study. These individuals provided detailed information about their dietary habits over the course of a year and the subsequent four years.

The research team meticulously examined data related to both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee consumption, along with any accompanying additives. Their analysis revealed noteworthy correlations between coffee intake and changes in participants’ weight.

Specifically, they discovered that for every additional cup of unsweetened coffee consumed, there was an associated decrease in weight of approximately 0.12 kilograms (0.26 pounds). Conversely, an increase of one teaspoon of sugar in any food or beverage led to a weight gain of about 0.09 kilograms (0.20 pounds). Interestingly, cream and non-dairy creamers showed no discernible impact on weight.

Furthermore, the study revealed that alterations in coffee or sugar intake had a more pronounced effect on weight, particularly among individuals classified as overweight or obese, as well as those in younger age groups. Caffeine, too, played a role in weight management. An increase of 100 milligrams of caffeine, equivalent to a standard cup of coffee, was associated with a reduction in weight gain by approximately 0.08 kilograms (0.18 pounds).

Based on these findings, the researchers concluded that while higher coffee consumption was linked to weight loss, the addition of a teaspoon of sugar counteracted this effect. This underscores the importance of consuming coffee without sweeteners for those seeking its potential weight management benefits.

Many Ways in which Coffee Influences Weight and Weight Loss Efforts

Many experts have shed light on the various ways in which coffee can impact weight. Firstly, coffee contains caffeine, which stimulates thermogenesis, a process that generates heat and burns calories. This thermogenic effect can lead to increased energy expenditure.(4)

Secondly, caffeine has been shown to have appetite-suppressing properties, potentially reducing overall caloric intake.(5,6)

Additionally, coffee contains bioactive compounds like chlorogenic acids and polyphenols, which have been associated with metabolic benefits. These include improved insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism, factors that could influence body weight regulation and contribute to weight loss.(7)

Moreover, caffeine can enhance physical performance by improving endurance and exercise capacity. This indirectly supports weight loss efforts by increasing calorie expenditure during physical activity.

Beyond coffee itself, the choice to consume unsweetened coffee can also have a significant impact on weight loss. Often, people load their coffee with sugars, sweeteners, and creamy additives, adding significant calories. For example, a medium black coffee with sugar-free syrup contains only 5 calories, while a caramel macchiato packs 250 calories and 33 grams of sugar. Making simple switches, like opting for sugar-free options, can make a notable difference in calorie intake and potentially aid in weight loss efforts.

Keeping Health Risks in Mind when increasing Coffee Consumption

It is important to keep in mind that while coffee offers numerous health benefits, it may not be suitable for everyone.

In some individuals, especially those sensitive to caffeine or those who consume large amounts, coffee can lead to issues like insomnia, anxiety, jitteriness, palpitations, and gastrointestinal discomfort.(8) Remember also, that if a significant portion of one’s daily fluid intake comes from coffee, there is a risk of missing out on essential nutrients, particularly if coffee replaces more nutritious beverages like water or herbal tea.

Moreover coffee can also interact with certain medications and supplements, including anticoagulants, antidepressants, iron, and calcium.(9)

As a precautionary measure, it is recommended that you consult a doctor before increasing your coffee intake, especially if you have any medical condition or you take certain medications that could be affected by caffeine. You should also strictly monitor your caffeine consumption and avoid having coffee close to bedtime or on an empty stomach.

For pregnant women, high caffeine intake during pregnancy has also been associated with an increased risk of preterm birth and low birth weight. This is why it is generally advised for pregnant individuals to limit their caffeine consumption.


This recent study highlighted the association between unsweetened coffee consumption and weight loss, offering some valuable insights into a simple, yet potentially effective dietary adjustment. This research underscores the multifaceted benefits of coffee, showcasing its potential as a tool in weight management when consumed without added sugars. As with any dietary habit, moderation and mindful consumption remain crucial. By savoring unsweetened coffee, individuals may find a tasteful way to complement their overall wellness journey. However, it is important to remember that a balanced diet, regular exercise, and personalized healthcare advice should always be central to any weight management strategy.


  1. Allen, L. (2022). 2022 Coffee Statistics: Consumption, Purchases, and Preferences. [online] www.driveresearch.com. Available at: https://www.driveresearch.com/market-research-company-blog/coffee-survey/.
  2. Henn, M., Glenn, A.J., Willett, W.C., Martínez-González, M.A., Sun, Q. and Hu, F.B., 2023. Changes in Coffee Intake, Added Sugar and Long-Term Weight Gain–Results from Three Large Prospective US Cohort Studies. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
  3. Mendoza, M.F., Sulague, R.M., Posas-Mendoza, T. and Lavie, C.J. (2023). Impact of Coffee Consumption on Cardiovascular Health. Ochsner Journal. doi:https://doi.org/10.31486/toj.22.0073.
  4. Hoffman, J.R., Kang, J., Ratamess, N.A., Jennings, P.F., Mangine, G. and Faigenbaum, A.D., 2006. Thermogenic effect from nutritionally enriched coffee consumption. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 3(1), p.35.
  5. St-Onge, M.P., 2015. Coffee consumption and body weight regulation. Coffee in health and disease prevention, pp.499-506.
  6. Schubert, M.M., Irwin, C., Seay, R.F., Clarke, H.E., Allegro, D. and Desbrow, B., 2017. Caffeine, coffee, and appetite control: a review. International journal of food sciences and nutrition, 68(8), pp.901-912.
  7. Perrone, D., Donangelo, R., Donangelo, C.M. and Farah, A., 2010. Modeling weight loss and chlorogenic acids content in coffee during roasting. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry, 58(23), pp.12238-12243.
  8. Chaudhary, N.S., Grandner, M.A., Jackson, N.J. and Chakravorty, S., 2016. Caffeine consumption, insomnia, and sleep duration: Results from a nationally representative sample. Nutrition, 32(11-12), pp.1193-1199.
  9. Pereverzev, A.P. and Ostroumova, O.D., 2021. Interaction of drugs and coffee. Consilium Medicum, 23(10), pp.777-783.

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Sheetal DeCaria, M.D.
Sheetal DeCaria, M.D.
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Sheetal DeCaria, M.D. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:November 29, 2023

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