In recent years, you may have been encouraged and relieved to hear that exercisers who drink caffeine in one form or another prior to activity will have their performance enhanced.
The reason for this has been put down to the apparent ability of caffeine to help the body burn fat, which spares the use of muscle glycogen (carbohydrate). This process would enable the body to continue on for longer periods of time before fatiguing. For most of us, the prospect of burning more fat is particularly appealing.
Recently, however, this paradigm has come into question. Why? The quick answer: more research has been done, and better techniques for studying the complexities of the human body are constantly being developed. Now the fat burning ability of caffeine has been challenged, as more research is being done on caffeine’s effect on the central nervous system (i.e., the famous ability to wake us up).
Indeed, research has now shown that caffeine has the potential to act at many levels in the brain and spinal chord in ways that will add up to some extra oomph during exercise. This extra oomph will add up to more calorie burning, whether it is from muscle glycogen or fat.
Bottom line: There are still no “magic bullets”. There is plenty we do not know about how the human body works, and it will continue to be that way. So, drink a little coffee if you like, but the best way to enhance your performance is by making healthy food choices and getting regular exercise.
© 2016-2020 Kristen Carter. All rights reserved.