The Relationship Between Coffee and Hunger
A group of researchers have wondered if drinking coffee makes you more or less hungry. Find out the relationship between coffee and hunger in the following article. The results will surprise you!
Coffee, the Most Popular Drink
There are facts that show that our hunger and appetite are controlled by complex systems and are affected by what we eat or drink (including coffee). A group of scientists wanted to find out if the most popular drink in the world also has an impact on our hunger.
Many people use normal coffee to control their appetite. It’s true that coffee gives you a good amount of energy and makes you more alert. It even improves physical performance and suppresses appetite. However, there are studies that show that if you want to lose weight, it’s best to drink decaffeinated.
Be careful, you can’t spend the whole day drinking coffee because you will be too awake to rest, for example. Experts on the subject state that in order to lose weight, it’s best to drink green tea extract.
So, is coffee healthy? It depends. Not everyone metabolizes coffee in the same way. What you do have to know is that this drink modifies your neurotransmitters and hormones (especially cortisol and insulin). That is why coffee “wakes up” some people and puts others “to sleep”. This can change according to how much you drink, the time of day, your age, your physical build, etc.
Does Coffee Make You Hungry or Not?
Your hormones influence your appetite and satisfaction. For that reason, you may be more hungry at certain times of the day more than others. Women, for example, eat more when they are hungry or on their period. Men may eat more when they are under a lot of pressure or stress.
There are three hormones in charge of hunger: ghrelin, leptin, and peptide YY. The first is secreted in the stomach, the second is synthesized in fat cells, and the third is found in the intestine.
In regards to coffee, it can help you lose weight or not. How? By modifying the production of each hormone. The same thing happens with your mood. Have you ever noticed that when you are hungry, you get mad or short-tempered, but after you eat, you are happy? Remember the popular saying: “a full stomach makes for a happy heart.”
Researchers have considered two hypotheses to find out what the relationship is between coffee and hunger:
- Hypothesis #1: coffee (decaffeinated or caffeinated) reduces hunger, leptin, and ghrelin and increases satisfaction and peptide YY.
- Hypothesis #2: The same effects as in the first hypothesis, but with the exception that they only last for 60 minutes after eating or even during the 120 minutes the body takes to digest.
A group of volunteers drank coffee and then explained their feelings for three hours afterwards. The conclusions they came to are:
- While caffeine is used to suppress appetite, the decaffeinated kind caused the lowest levels of hunger (along with the two hormones) and an increase in peptide.
- More amounts of peptide YY means less hunger. The people that did the experiment stated that they didn’t have an appetite for three hours, however their levels of PYY reduced after an hour and a half.
- Another interesting finding was that the reduction of hunger and the increase in peptide stayed the same until after consuming glucose. What can be assumed form this is that some of the components of coffee do not modify digestion.
Perhaps the reason why coffee takes away hunger is because it modifies the satisfaction hormone.
It is worth mentioning that coffee has a lot of antioxidants, which are beneficial for your heath. However, some of the components are negative for certain people, especially if they drink too much of it. If you are “trusting” caffeine to suppress your appetite, you should start to consider another strategy.
In the first place, drink decaffeinated coffee and then eat other healthier foods that have the same effect on your body. For some people this is an apple, for others a cereal bar; some like a banana and others go for a tomato.
On the other hand, you should remember that there are other factors that make you hungry. For example, a deficient breakfast that doesn’t include fruits, dairy products, and grains; when your stomach is used to eating at any time (“snacking”); being bored or lacking motivation; anxiety or stress; hormonal or gland changes (pregnancy, menstrual period, thyroid problems), etc.
You cannot expect coffee to be a magical solution for your appetite. If you don’t eat properly every day, it is more likely that your stomach asks for more and more food.