Before you pour yourself another cup, learn what the latest research says about coffee drinking and your waistline.

Lisa Valente, MS, RD
May 18, 2020
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Many of us enjoy a cup of Joe in the morning. Not only can the help caffeine wake us up, but coffee is good for you too. Drinking coffee is associated with plenty of health benefits including a healthy brain, heart health, reduced diabetes risk and improved mood (those "Don't talk to me until I've had my coffee" mugs are onto something). The latest coffee study looks into the benefits that drinking coffee may have on our waistlines, especially for women.

A new review study published in The Journal of Nutrition found that women who reported drinking 2-3 cups of coffee daily had about 3% lower body fat than women who didn't drink coffee. It didn't matter whether the coffee was regular or decaf. Men who drank coffee also had less body fat and belly fat, but the numbers weren't as significant as those seen in women.

Dr. Lee Smith, Reader in Public Health at Anglia Ruskin University and senior author of the study, said in a press release, "Our research suggests that there may be bioactive compounds in coffee other than caffeine that regulate weight and which could potentially be used as anti-obesity compounds."

Now, before you get too excited about drinking coffee to bust belly fat, it's important to note that while the results were significant—they were still small. The study didn't also prove that drinking coffee lowered body fat, just that there was an association.

When it comes to pouring yourself a healthy cup, it's still important to be mindful of how much sugar and cream you're adding. Coffee is basically calorie-free, but what you add to it is not. And while coffee drinks (including the viral whipped coffee) are delicious, some can have more than added sugar than the daily recommendation.

Smith adds, "The study was at a specific point in time, so trends cannot be established. However, we don't believe that someone's weight is likely to influence their coffee consumption."

Cheers to your morning cup of coffee, but don't forget to take care of yourself and your health in other ways. Eat a well-balanced diet—plenty of vegetables, fruits, healthy proteins and fats (some foods are even linked with less belly fat). Exercise—walk, yoga, dance, spin—find something that works for you. Aim to get 7-9 hours of sleep (these tips from a sleep expert can help) and try not to stress too much (cortisol, a stress hormone, is linked to belly fat).