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NMU – 197 Pre-Exercise Coffee Consumption and Fat-burning

Nutrition / Natural  Medicine Update No 197 (March 31, 2021)

with Dr. James Meschino


Topic: Pre-Exercise Coffee Consumption and Fat-burning

Source: Journal of the International Society of Sports Medicine (January 2021)

Studies over the years have suggested that caffeine intake 30 minutes prior to endurance exercise can help increase fat-burning during exercise.  In January 2021, these findings were confirmed in an important study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Medicine. Scientists from the Department of Physiology of the University of Granada (UGR) showed that the equivalent of an 8 oz cup or black coffee containing caffeine (about 3 mg/kg, the equivalent of a strong coffee) ingested half an hour before aerobic exercise significantly increases the rate of fat-burning.  They also showed that if the exercise is performed in the afternoon, the effects of the caffeine on fat-burning are greater than if the exercise occurs in the morning.

A total of 15 men (mean age, 32) participated in the research, completing an exercise test four times at seven-day intervals. Subjects ingested 3 mg/kg of caffeine or a placebo at 8 am and 5 pm (each subject completed the tests in all four conditions in random order). The conditions prior to each exercise test were strictly standardized, and fat-burning during exercise was calculated accordingly. The results of the study showed that caffeine ingestion 30 minutes before performing an aerobic exercise test increased maximum fat oxidation (burning) during exercise regardless of the time of day, but higher amounts of fat were burned when exercising in the afternoon compared to exercising in the morning, when all other factors are kept constant, such as hours of fasting prior to exercise.

In summary, the findings of this study suggest that the combination of acute caffeine intake and aerobic exercise performed at moderate intensity in the afternoon provides the optimal scenario for people seeking to increase fat-burning during their workout routine. The take-home message is that an 8 oz cup of black coffee ingested 30 minutes prior to your aerobic work out routine enables your body to burn more body fat during your work out routine, which can help you more easily maintain your ideal weight or help further reduce your body fat during each work out if that is one of your goals. If you happen to favor working out in the afternoon, as I do, then the fat-burning effect is likely to be even greater.

I have included the reference for this information in the text below.


Mauricio Ramírez-Maldonado, Lucas Jurado-Fasoli, Juan del Coso, Jonatan R. Ruiz, Francisco J. Amaro-Gahete. Caffeine increases maximal fat oxidation during a graded exercise test: is there a diurnal variation? Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 2021; 18 (1)


Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great,

Dr. Meschino

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