Study indicates compounds in coffee may have anti-obesity properties

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Women who drink two or three cups of coffee a day have lower total body and abdominal fat than those who drink less, according to a new study published in The Journal of Nutrition.

Researchers examined data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, organized by the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC), and looked at the relationship between cups of coffee consumed per day and both total body fat percentage and abdominal adiposity.

They found that women ages 20 to 44 years old who drank two or three cups of coffee per day had the lowest levels of adiposity, 3.4 percent lower than people who did not consume coffee. Among women between 45 and 69 years old, those who drank four or more cups had an adiposity percentage 4.1 percent lower.

Overall, the average total body fat percentage was 2.8 percent lower among women of all ages who drank two or three cups of coffee per day.

The findings were consistent whether the coffee consumed was caffeinated or decaffeinated, and among smokers or non-smokers and those suffering from chronic diseases when compared to those in good health. In men, the relationship was less significant, although men ages 20 to 44 years old who drank two or three cups per day had 1.3 percent less total fat and 1.8 percent less trunk fat than those who did not consume coffee.

“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,” said Lee Smith, PhD, senior author of the study from Anglia Ruskin University in a statement. “It could be that coffee, or its effective ingredients, could be integrated into a healthy diet strategy to reduce the burden of chronic conditions related to the obesity epidemic.”