Swilling strong coffee could help your body counter the ill-effects of an unhealthy diet rich in sugar and fat.
A new study in rats has found that caffeine ‘may offset some of the negative effects of an obesogenic diet’, which means a regime of greed that is likely to make you pile on the pounds.
However, the beasties needed to drink caffeine in large amounts, meaning super-potent coffee or something which even more bite.
Rats that consumed the caffeine extracted from mate tea gained 16% less weight and accumulated 22% less body fat than rats that consumed decaffeinated tea, scientists at the University of Illinois found in a new study.
The effects were similar when rodents were given synthetic caffeine as well as that extracted from coffee.
Mate tea is a herbal beverage rich in phytochemicals, flavonoids and amino acids that’s consumed as a stimulant by people in southeastern Latin American countries.
The amount of caffeine per serving in mate tea ranges from 65-130 milligrams, compared with 30-300 milligrams of caffeine in a cup of brewed coffee.
For four weeks, the rats in the study ate a diet that contained 40% fat, 45% carbohydrate and 15% protein.
They also ingested one of the forms of caffeine in an amount equivalent to that of a human who drinks four cups of coffee daily.
At the end of the four-week period, the percentage of lean body mass in the various groups of rats ‘differed significantly’.
The rats that ingested caffeine from mate tea, coffee or synthetic sources built up less body fat than rats in the other groups.
‘Considering the findings, mate tea and caffeine can be considered anti-obesity agents,’ said Elvira Gonzalez de Mejia, a co-author of the study and director of the division of nutritional sciences at the University of Illinois.
‘The results of this research could be scaled to humans to understand the roles of mate tea and caffeine as potential strategies to prevent overweight and obesity, as well as the subsequent metabolic disorders associated with these conditions.’
‘The consumption of caffeine from mate or from other sources alleviated the negative impact of a high-fat, high-sucrose diet on body composition due to the modulation of certain lipogenic enzymes in both adipose tissue and the liver.’