Time and again, newspapers and magazines churn out the same misleading health and diet claims, and report them as fact. But, with so much information out there, how do we know what to believe? In this series of blogs, we’ll explore those diet myths to see if there’s anything truth behind them.
Myth: Caffeine is known to cause thermogenesis, a raising of the body’s temperature, causing it to burn more calories.
The truth: There’s some truth to this statement. A recent study has found that 50mg of caffeine will raise the body’s temperature by 6% above the baseline. (You get roughly 40mg of caffeine from a small cup of instant coffee – depending on how strong you like your coffee!) However, this 6% increase averages at 72kJ per four hours, which is about 18 calories burnt over four hours – so yes, you do burn calories by drinking coffee.
‘If you drink three cups of coffee over a day, it may allow you a ‘free’ biscuit in that you’ll have burned the equivalent amount of extra calories in that biscuit,’ says Dr Kelly Johnston. ‘So, there is some truth in this statement – although I’d say it’s a very small number of calories so people shouldn’t get carried away and think drinking coffee is a license to eat lots more.’