New research has found that drinking coffee could fight both obesity and type 2 diabetes.
The main stimulant in coffee, caffeine, has been shown to help your body burn calories by releasing more oxytocin, a hormone that affects metabolism and appetite.
It is recommended that adults do not exceed 400mg of caffeine, the equivalent of four cups of coffee, each day.
Currently, a quarter of adults in the UK are obese, with obesity strongly linked to causing type 2 diabetes.
The research found that mice that were given high doses of caffeine lost weight, ate less and became more active.
Chinese experts have even suggested that the findings of the experiment could lead to the creation of an ‘anti-obesity pill’, using caffeine as a main ingredient.
Professor Guo Zhang, of Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China, said: “Administration of caffeine suppresses appetite, increases energy expenditure, and reduces the body weight of diet-induced obesity (DIO) mice.”
The researchers noted that, while caffeine has been linked to weight loss for a long time, the reasons why were still unknown.
One of the things that caffeine does in the body is affect adenosine, which is important for energy production and sleep.
When given caffeine, adenosine receptors in the hypothalamus were blocked, triggering the release of oxytocin, the main energy balance regulator in mammals.
This ultimately led to weight loss in the mice.
Professor Zhang said: “Oxytocin is a critical mediator of the anti-obesity effect of caffeine.
“Hence, targeting adenosine receptors by caffeine or its derivatives could represent a relevant strategy to counteract obesity and related illnesses.
“Consumption of caffeine, one of the active ingredients in coffee, tea and soft drinks, has been linked to the long-term reduction of body weight gain, however, the underlying mechanisms remain largely unknown.
“We found caffeine significantly reduced the food intakes, and increased the wheel-running activities, of diet-induced obese mice.
“Together, the results demonstrate caffeine treatment ameliorates obesity through both the reduction of food intake and the promotion of energy expenditure.”
The doses used in the research were exceptionally high, the equivalent of around 30 cups of coffee in a human. As such, more research is needed for it to become a legitimate method of weight loss therapy.
It has previously been suggested that people who drink coffee regularly have a lower BMI than those who don’t, and also tend to live longer.