Last Updated on June 30, 2022 by Monica Nelson
If you’re looking for long-term weight loss, two factors must be on point: diet and exercise. A clean, whole-foods diet and a solid training program will provide your body with the substrates to ignite fat loss pathways and metabolic adaptations that support weight loss.
However, for people who struggle to lose weight and keep it off, diet and exercise aren’t enough—and that’s where supplements come into the picture.
While it’s widely accepted that caffeine can help torch calories and fat—hence why we see high-stim supplements everywhere—what if you’re sensitive to caffeine, or what if you’re not into the idea of lighting up your nervous system?
For anyone looking for actual results without the side effects of caffeine, this article is for you. We’ll cover the basics of caffeine and weight loss, why caffeine isn’t always the answer and the top reasons you should go for stim-free weight loss.
Caffeine And Weight Loss: What’s The Connection?
If there’s one ingredient widely used in fitness supplements, it’s caffeine—a central nervous system stimulant that’s proven to increase energy, boost fat oxidation, improve endurance, and increase speed and power . While there’s ample research that caffeine can improve exercise performance, what about its role in weight loss?
As a CNS stimulant, the most prominent role of caffeine is in arousal. The caffeine molecule is structurally similar to another molecule in the brain called adenosine, responsible for inducing drowsiness.
But because caffeine can loosely bind to adenosine receipts in the brain, it inhibits adenosine’s action and increases arousal . But it’s not all cognitive effects—studies show that caffeine may promote reductions in weight, BMI, and body fat percentage .
There are a few areas where caffeine may be helpful for weight loss:
- Speeds up metabolism: One study found that caffeine increased energy expenditure by about one calorie per mg of caffeine, equating to roughly 100 calories per day . Other studies suggest it significantly affects energy balance, may stimulate thermogenesis, and can increase calorie burn by 8-11% .
- Reduces perceived exertion during exercise: If you don’t feel tired at the gym, could you train harder and burn more? With a bit of caffeine, you might be able to. Studies suggest that 3mg of caffeine/kg body weight may reduce received exertion [6, 7].
- Increased fat burning during exercise: Knocking back some caffeine before a workout may not help you burn substantially more energy, but it does change what you burn. Generally speaking, the harder you work at the gym, the more carbs (glycogen) you’ll burn through, but studies find that 3mg of caffeine/kg body weight (the same amount to reduce RPE) can shift calorie burn more towards oxidizing fat and may increase the rate of fat burn relative to carb-burning . Instead of burning through stored carbohydrates, people who took caffeine before exercise burned through more stored fat.
- May prevent weight gain: If you’ve lost a significant amount of weight and aren’t interested in having it creep back on, a little caffeine may go a long way. While caffeine won’t cause weight gain without other lifestyle modifications, one study found that 5mg/kg of caffeine helped prevent women from re-gaining weight after weight loss .
The Downsides Of Caffeine
With all that said, there’s no concrete evidence that caffeine will support weight loss when combined with a good diet and training program, but it certainly can’t hurt. That said, the dose is important, as excessive amounts of caffeine can counteract all of your weight loss efforts.
The average person consumes about 300mg of caffeine daily from coffee and other caffeinated beverages, which equates to a venti Americano . But contrary to what most people think, long-term excessive caffeine intake can work against you if you’re trying to lose weight.
Large amounts of caffeine, and for some people even small quantities, can seriously damage your blood sugar. Five of seven studies looking at the acute effects of caffeine on insulin sensitivity and glucose control show that caffeine intake can cause blood glucose levels to rise—and stay high .
High blood sugar also leads to spikes in insulin; insulin is an anabolic hormone that signals fat storage, especially in the abdomen. Chronically elevated insulin can reduce insulin sensitivity and lead to a condition called insulin resistance. And because caffeine can make cells more insulin resistant, it can increase the risk of fat gain .
That said, these results are often dose-dependent. If you’re drinking a cup of coffee daily, it won’t do much damage. But if you’re knocking back six or seven per day, it can profoundly impact blood sugar and insulin.
3 Reasons To Go Stim-Free
When combined with a well-planned diet and training routine, non-stim fat burners may earn their place in your weight loss journey. That said, diet and exercise will always be the largest contributors, but foregoing the stimulant from a caffeine-free alternative may be more effective. Here’s why.
1. Reduces Sleep Disruptions
Sleep and weight loss go hand in hand. You can be doing everything else right—diet, exercise, stress, etc.—but if you’re not sleeping enough, you will not see the weight come off.
Because caffeine is a CNS stimulant with a half-life ranging from 1.5 to 9.5 hours, it interferes with circadian melatonin rhythms and can impair your ability to fall asleep . It’s also been shown to delay sleep onset and reduce sleep duration, efficiency, and satisfaction levels .
Sleep is one of the most important regulators of neuroendocrine function and glucose metabolism, and inadequate sleep can result in metabolic and endocrine alterations like poor glucose tolerance, decreased insulin sensitivity, high evening cortisol, increased levels of ghrelin, decreased levels of leptin, and increased hunger and appetite .
2. More Stable Energy
One of the big draws of caffeine for exercise performance and weight loss is its ability to increase arousal; it makes you more alert and more ready to get your sweat on. But if you’ve taken a hefty dose of caffeine pre-workout, you’re probably familiar with the post-workout effects: a severe crash.
But when you take the stimulant out of the equation and replace it with ingredients that naturally elevate energy without sending your body into overdrive, you get the same effect with none of the after-effects.
3. Amazing Results
If you think you can’t achieve the same results with a stim-free blend, think again. With a solid ingredient lineup like what’s in Burn Lab Pro, you really can’t go wrong:
- Forskolin: Promotes fat breakdown and utilization by activating adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) and increasing the production of hormone-sensitive lipase (HSL)
- HMB: A leucine metabolite with powerful anti-catabolic properties that helps burn fat while protecting lean muscle tissue
- Capsaicin: Stimulates thermogenesis to ramp up calorie burn and regulate appetite
- GTF Chromium: Enhance insulin sensitivity by binding to insulin and enhancing its action to regulate blood sugar and prevent fat storage
- Black pepper extract: Enhances metabolic performance and prevents fat gain by increasing the secretion of catecholamines and triggering thermogenesis in resting muscle tissue
These ingredients combine to increase fuel substrates to power active muscle tissues. They work synergistically to buffer muscles during intense activity, stimulate growth factors, and increase anabolic hormone secretion and muscle protein synthesis (MPS) after training to help muscles recover stronger and faster.
The result? More lean muscle mass and less fat mass. It’s the most effective way to lose weight, burn fat, and maintain your gains.
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