To lose weight you need to stop drinking coffee (kinda).
In our fast paced world coffee is our number 1 favorite beverage. It picks us up when we are down and the world becomes a much better place after the morning brew.
For a while now I have had the feeling that coffee and caffeine is making us fatter. Just a hunch that I have never been able to explain. But lately I have been able to get a grip on what is going on and more importantly what to do about it. And it doesn’t only relate to coffee, more importantly it relates to stress in general and all those times we tried to lose weight but never succeeded.
It goes something like this.
When you place your body under stress, any type of stress, the body’s response is to release Catecholamines; Adrenaline, Noradrenalin, the Fight or Flight response etc. This is why we feel good after the morning coffee. We get that shot of Adrenalin and we are ready to take on the day. However something similar happens when we diet. When we fast or our energy levels begin to drop the body gets stressed and releases Noradrenalin to liberate free fatty acids from our fat cells to be used as energy in working muscles.
But the unfortunate thing is that most of the time these free fatty acids float around unused. The noradrenalin that was released is a potent vasoconstrictor and will shut down blood supply wherever it can. In order to actually burn the mountain of free fatty acids that have been released into the blood stream we need oxygen. Without oxygen our muscles can’t use this extra fat and need to rely on the anaerobic energy of burning blood glucose. So even though there is a massive amount of energy available, if you are stressed, or have been relying on coffee, your blood vessels are constricted and oxygen cannot get through. The the fats must wait to be processed by the liver and then converted into glucose before they can be used again. Processing by the liver is quite a sluggish process. It is why your blood glucose can sometimes drop to dangerously low levels even though your body still holds an unlimited supply of energy. It is why starving yourself into weight loss will never work.
, your stress levels rise and so do your noradrenalin levels. When you shut down oxygen supply to muscles your resting metabolic rate actually decreases and your muscle fibers start to waste away because they are not getting any blood flow. Subsequently This is why whenever you diet you can never get any thinner. When you start to eat less, you release stress hormones, these stress hormones cut off blood supply and your total energy burn drops. Ultimately you will pile back on all the weight.
You begin to eat less and starve your body automatically shuts off bloodflow and begins to burn even less. You feel crap because your blood glucose has dropped, and you may even start to binge eat. Consuming caffeine or coffee to assist here makes it even worse. Caffeine will release fatty acids (stored energy) but while increasing your stress levels it also happens to be what is called an Adenosine antagonist. Adenosine is the first mechanism to restore blood flow to areas without oxygen and being an Antagonist means that it blocks this action. So not only have we shut down blood flow with noradrenalin but we have also turned off the muscles' first line of defense in trying to restore it. The longer this goes on the more your whole body oxygen consumption will drop (Vo2).
The best way to fix this and to bring your aerobic energy systems back online is to consume Nitrates and Vitamin C. The Nitrate molecule is a potent vasodilator and will keep your blood vessels open to allow more oxygen and fats to your muscles whenever it is in your system. When you do vigorous exercise your body makes its own Nitric Oxide from amino acids to allow more blood flow, oxygen and fats to your muscles. (This is why even just a small amount of exercise will accelerate weight loss). It is possible to give your body extra Nitrates to help increase your fat burn even while sitting still. Consuming a Spinach, Beetroot and Orange smoothie for breakfast before your morning coffee will allow you to vasodilate and help you to burn all the extra energy that the coffee has released into your bloodstream. And the best part is you don’t even have to move. Simply providing a better oxygen supply to your muscles will make them burn more energy. Your body will start to become warmer and your resting metabolic rate will be higher without even exercising.
Take away points.
· Starvation leads to noradrenalin release and vasoconstriction reducing blood flow and oxygen levels.
· Coffee blocks adenosine and increases to noradrenalin release, making it twice as strong at blocking bloodflow. (think high blood pressure)
· Even though noradrenalin releases large amounts of Free Fatty acids into the blood stream, low oxygen stops fat burning and aerobic metabolism.
· Spending too long with limited oxygen supply to muscles will detrain aerobic muscle fibers and waste them away. This is why we normally see a big reduction in performance when athletes try to lose weight.
· Drinking coffee and working a high stress job will eventually make you fat. You will detrain all your aerobic muscle fibers and reduce your resting metabolic rate.
· Your body can make its own Nitrates (Nitric Oxide) when you do vigorous exercise.
· The more oxygen and bloodlfow you can supply the muscles the more fat you will burn.
· Supplementing Nitrates and Vitamin C will massively increase blood flow to all areas, even without exercise, and allow you to burn fat as a fuel source while sitting still. Nitrates + Vit C + Coffee will supercharge your metabolism.
Here are some smoothie recommendations to test out.
Thank you to James Nitis, the leanest man on the planet, and his frozen spinach smoothie addiction for giving me the inspiration to write this blog.