However, since caffeine is a stimulant, it can be difficult to choose the best time of day to work coffee into a diet. This is especially true for determining when the best time to drink coffee for weight loss is, as dieters would ideally like to maximize the effect of the caffeine while also avoiding its drawbacks, such as its effect on sleep.
Fortunately, neuroscientists have begun studying the effects of caffeine, particularly from coffee, on the mind and body, with some very interesting results. The key to understanding the relationship between coffee and the body, along with how this can impact its benefits toward weight loss, is chronopharmacology. Chronopharmacology is essentially the study of how drugs interact with our natural biological rhythms. The best example of this is the effect coffee has on sleep cycles; more specifically, drinking coffee at different times can greatly impact a person’s natural circadian clock. Given the role that sleep plays in recovery from exercise, this is especially important to those who are attempting to lose weight.
The results of the analysis indicate that coffee is best consumed when our cortisol levels naturally drop. Cortisol is an important steroid hormone, which the body releases in response to both stress and low blood glucose levels. For those looking to lose weight, understanding cortisol and its relationship to coffee is important because cortisol plays a key role in the metabolizing of carbohydrates, fat, and protein. Cortisol levels generally peak between 8:00 and 9:00 AM, noon to 1:00 PM, and between 5:30 to 6:30 PM. The caffeine in coffee is essentially wasted when consumed while cortisol is at its peak; therefore, the optimal time to drink coffee is during the spaces between these peaks, when cortisol levels begin to dip. This will allow coffee drinkers to gain the maximum energy and metabolism benefits from the coffee.
Most coffee drinkers tend to enjoy the beverage in the morning, so the optimal time to drink coffee is 9:30 AM and 11:30 AM. Not only does this fall within one of the periods where cortisol begins to dip, but it also is early enough in the day that the coffee should not impact your sleep. Furthermore, since this time falls near both breakfast and lunch, dieters can take advantage of coffee’s appetite suppressing effect to help stave off the desire to snack in between meals, as well as enable them to eat smaller, less calorie-dense meals.