Drinking coffee 30 minutes before exercising can boost fat-burning

Drink COFFEE to make the most of your workout: Sipping an espresso 30 minutes before exercising can boost fat-burning, study finds

    If you’re an avid coffee-drinker, a new study will come as music to your ears.

    Researchers have revealed that drinking a strong coffee 30 minutes before your next workout can boost the rate of fat-burning.

    The team suggests that the caffeine increases fat oxidation, helping you to burn off the pounds more easily.

    What’s more, this effect is even stronger when you workout in afternoon, contradicting previous research which has suggested that exercising first thing in the morning is most effective.

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    Researchers have revealed that drinking a strong coffee 30 minutes before your next workout can boost the rate of fat-burning (stock image)


    1 mug of filter coffee – 140mg caffeine

    1 mug of instant coffee – 100mg caffeine 

    1 can of energy drink – 80mg caffeine 

    1 mug of tea – 75mg caffeine 

    Small bar of chocolate – 25-50mg caffeine 

    Can of cola – 40mg caffeine 

    Caffeine is one of the most commonly consumed performance-enhancing substance in the world, and is often taken by athletes.

    But despite its popularity, so far there has been little research into its beneficial claims.

    In the study, researchers from the University of Granada set out to determine whether or not caffeine actually does increase oxidation, or ‘burning’, of fat during exercise.

    Dr Francisco José Amaro-Gahete, who led the study, said: ‘The recommendation to exercise on an empty stomach in the morning to increase fat oxidation is commonplace.

    ‘However, this recommendation may be lacking a scientific basis, as it is unknown whether this increase is due to exercising in the morning or due to going without food for a longer period of time.’

    To understand the effects of caffeine on athletic performance, 15 male participants were asked to complete an exercise test four times at seven-day intervals, during which their fat-burning was measured.

    While there are no specific guidelines for caffeine consumption, too much caffeine can lead to a range of issues, including insomnia, nervousness and heart palpitations

    The participants either ingested 3mg/kg of caffeine (the equivalent of a strong coffee) or a placebo at 8am and 5pm.

    To make sure the study was fair, the hours elapsed since the last meal, physical exercise and the consumption of any other substances were standardised across all participants.

    The results revealed that participants who consumed the caffeine burned more fat than those who had taken the placebo.

    Dr Amaro-Gahete said: ‘The results of our study showed that acute caffeine ingestion 30 minutes before performing an aerobic exercise test increased maximum fat oxidation during exercise regardless of the time of day.’

    Delving deeper into the findings, the researchers also found the fat oxidation during exercise was higher in afternoon than in the morning.

    According to the team, this suggests that caffeine increases fat oxidation during morning exercise in a similar way to that observed without caffeine in the afternoon. 

    While there are no specific guidelines for caffeine consumption, too much caffeine can lead to a range of issues, including insomnia, nervousness and heart palpitations. 

    In 2015, the European Food Safety Authority published its Scientific Opinion on the Safety of Caffeine, stating that adults consuming up to 400mg of caffeine per day – and single doses of 200mg – should not be exposed to safety concerns.


    There has been a stark rise in Britons’ thirst for caffeinated drinks – at least 600 million litres are drunk every year, 200 million more than ten years ago.

    Figures from the British Soft Drinks Association reveal that the volume of energy drinks consumed in the UK increased from 463 million litres in 2010 to 679 million litres in 2017, with the UK market now worth £2billion a year.

    Some 55 per cent of those aged between 12 and 24 years old suffer everything from vomiting and chest pains to even seizures from the drinks, despite most consuming less than the recommended one-to-two beverages a day, a Canadian study found last January.

    As well as the drinks’ alarmingly high caffeine levels, the researchers believe consuming them with alcohol or during exercise makes them even more dangerous.

    Previous research has linked energy drinks, such as Red Bull, to obesity, heart abnormalities and even sudden death due to their high-sugar and caffeine content.

    Most energy-drink consumers are unaware of the products’ main ingredients, health implications or appropriate serving sizes, experts have said.

    How much caffeine do they contain?  

    A 250ml serving of a typical energy drink – half the standard bottle or can size – contains 80mg of caffeine per litre – twice as much as a regular cola drink, but the same as a 60ml espresso.

    Experts have warned that caffeine-packed energy drinks could be fuelling a record rise in diagnoses of irregular heartbeats, one of Britain’s biggest killers.

    Just one energy drink daily could trigger arrhythmia, an abnormal heart rhythm which increases the risk of stroke five-fold.  

    It is thought that this is because excessive caffeine consumption dramatically increases the amount of calcium released within the heart’s cells, disrupting the electrical rhythm.

    Experts also warn the addition of high quantities of sugar in energy drinks could be a reason for their potency. 

    How much sugar do they contain? 

    Campaigns, such as Action on Sugar have called for a complete ban on the products for under 16s.

    Their study in December 2017 found the average sugar content was more than an adult’s entire maximum daily recommendation for sugar intake in the UK.

    Likewise, 78 per cent of products exceeded the maximum daily recommendation for sugar intake for a child aged seven to ten 10 years – 24 g or six teaspoons. 

    Certain manufacturers reformulated before the Soft Drinks Industry Levy in April 2018 in the UK. 

    It would mean that one 250ml Red Bull energy drink containing 27g of sugar (five-and-a-half teaspoons), now costs an extra 6p. 

    Before reformulation in 2017, the Punched Energy and Tropical Guava Flavour products from Rockstar, contained a staggering 78g, or 20 teaspoons, of sugar per 500ml serving – more than three times the daily recommendation of 25g for women and 38g for men.

    Now, these drinks contain 24g of sugar per 500ml, the equivalent of six teaspoons per 500ml.  

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