We have completed maintenance on DiscoverMagazine.com and action may be required on your account. Learn More

Does Drinking Caffeine Help Stop Hunger Cravings?

Fighting afternoon cravings with a shot of espresso could produce mixed results.

By Alex Orlando
Dec 27, 2019 6:00 PM
Drinking Coffee
Coffee might not fight cravings quite like we think it does. (Credit: sebra/Shutterstock)


Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

It’s no secret that Americans love coffee — more than 60 percent of us drink it on a daily basis. For the bulk of the population, it’s the most popular way to get that much-needed morning caffeine boost, followed by tea and soda. And while caffeine has been a cultural cornerstone for centuries, an increasing number of weight-loss supplements contain caffeine, often characterizing it as an appetite suppressant. But can caffeine really curb hunger? 

In short, the results are somewhat muddy. In 2014, a study in Food Research International found that consuming coffee over a four-week period boosted participants’ serotonin, a hormone that’s known to curb cravings and suppress appetite. But a 2016 study by researchers at the State University of New York showed that caffeine actually increased food intake in mice. And more recently, in 2018, a study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that drinking a tiny amount of caffeine caused participants to eat 10 percent less afterwards — but didn’t significantly impact appetite overall. 

Some experts also warn that too much caffeine can prompt insomnia, increased blood pressure and other health problems. And while some studies indicate that the energy-boosting stimulant can curb hunger in the short term, there’s little evidence that it leads to lasting weight loss.

Read more:

When Dieting, Should We Be Fasting or Grazing?

The Biggest Factor Behind Obesity May Be One We Don't Want to Hear

Breakfast Might Not Be So Essential After All

1 free article left
Want More? Get unlimited access for as low as $1.99/month

Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

1 free articleSubscribe
Discover Magazine Logo
Want more?

Keep reading for as low as $1.99!


Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

More From Discover
Recommendations From Our Store
Shop Now
Stay Curious
Our List

Sign up for our weekly science updates.

To The Magazine

Save up to 40% off the cover price when you subscribe to Discover magazine.

Copyright © 2024 Kalmbach Media Co.