I just finished reading Why Diet and Exercise Fail…and I am ticked off.

starbucks IV addictTicked off because author Daniel Matthew Korn is making me re-think my morning cup of Gold Coast.

Korn believes that long term caffeine consumption, when combined with a typical Western Diet, is akin to throwing gas on your obesity bonfire.

Or, as Daniel says, “long term caffeine use, in combination with other dietary factors can contribute to lowering our ability to use our stored body-fat and interfere with our storage of nutrients”.

Why would coffee lead to obesity?

Theory #1

  • Long term caffeine use can lead to elevated stress hormones (ie Cortisol)
  • And heightened cortisol levels is associated with obesity

Theory #2

  • Chronically elevated cortisol levels results in increased feelings of hunger
  • And obviously hunger leads to eating and drinking more coffee and eating more food and…

Theory #3

  • Chronic caffeine use may interfere with your sleep patterns
  • And sleep deprivation is associated with obesity

Korn’s Conclusion

Chronic caffeine use contributes to obesity because:

  • it increases your level of stress hormones
  • which messes with your brain chemistry
  • and increases your hunger
  • causing you to eat more crappy processed foods
  • while you lay in bed tossing and turning because you can’t sleep

My Conclusion

As Korn mentions, there is very little research into the direct effect caffeine has on metabolism and obesity.

This leaves his theory open to attack.

I can hear the comments already – Association and/or Correlation is not Causation.

And they are right. Korn is making some assumptions.

And good for him. Out of these assumptions, researchers can design studies to test if caffeine has a direct effect upon obesity.

Until then, you can:

  1. Ignore his caffeine/obesity theory as unproven
  2. Or, test the theory on yourself. Sadly, that is the route I am taking…starting tomorrow.

Note: I will be reviewing the rest of Why Diet and Exercise Fail in an upcoming post.


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