At first glance, coffee and weight loss don't seem like words that belong together in the same sentence. But whether you love it hot or iced, coffee is about to become your go-to new diet drink. And if that sounds too good to be true — especially if you're hooked on your cup of joe, like many of us — we have good news.
Inspired by exciting evidence that an ordinary cup of joe can help increase a person’s odds of a long life by up to 50 percent, former NBC Nightly News and 60 Minutes medical correspondent Bob Arnot, M.D., began experimenting with ways we can reap maximum benefits. The result: A whole new way to detox, one built around special coffee (both regular and decaf, hot and iced) that boasts the highest doses of disease-and-fat-fighting antioxidants. To date, folks testing Dr. Arnot’s “coffee cleanse” have cured everything from eczema to type-2 diabetes while speeding off up to 50 pounds in 50 days. Promises Dr. Arnot: “Drink coffee my way, and you can trigger unparalleled weight loss while changing your entire life for the better.”
New Jersey mom Marney Rohda, 48, was among the first folks to volunteer to test Dr. Arnot's coffee cleanse. Eight weeks later, she was 20 pounds skinnier. "I never drank coffee regularly before. Now I'm hooked!" she says. Then there's fellow New Jersey mom Gloria Culmone, 47. Upping her coffee intake to five high-phenol cups a day, she dropped 15 pounds in 21 days. "I'm not sleepy in the afternoons anymore, my cravings for unhealthy foods went away, and maintaining my weight loss has been easy," she says. "The right coffee can do amazing things."
Does coffee help you lose weight?
After studies from the National Institutes of Health pointed to antioxidants in coffee called phenols as key to the drink’s many health benefits, Dr. Arnot was curious about which options were highest in phenols. He was shocked to find no comprehensive tests existed, and eventually hired chemists at a Vermont lab to systematically rank hundreds of beans and brews. What he quickly learned: “Dark roasting destroys phenols,” says Dr. Arnot, who adds that he and his team took to calling the lightest roasts “lean roasts,” because they explode with slimming compounds and, unlike their dark counterparts, “are delicious without fattening sugar or cream.” Below, you’ll find a list of top-ranked “lean roast” coffees, including options from Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts and even McDonald’s. We're also sharing a special version of Dr. Arnot’s coffee cleanse, which pairs lean roast coffee (at least three cups per day) with nutrient-dense shakes and meals that he says optimize coffee’s benefits. But whether you use his detox regimen or not, every cup of high-phenol coffee you sip will give you a fat-fighting edge.
How High-Phenol Coffee Slims
High-phenol coffee affects the body by giving you...
A faster metabolism. According to a preliminary Japanese study, phenols cause a short-term burst of faster calorie burning. Phenols also boost calorie burn long term by preventing a type of inflammation that not only stalls our thyroids but can also lead to loss of metabolism-boosting muscle. Bonus: Stimulants in even a single cup of caffeinated coffee “are proven to increase metabolism by an extra 75-100 calories a day,” says Dr. Arnot.
Faster fat burning. Phenols in coffee have been shown to lower levels of insulin, a very good thing, since the hormone blocks fat burning. The less insulin we make, the more readily fat burns! Phenols have also been shown to decrease the formation of new fat, says Dr. Arnot. Another caffeine bonus: The stimulant helps free fat from fat cells during activity, so the body can quickly incinerate it. “It’s a phenomenal boost to weight loss!”
Fat and calorie blocking. There are actually a couple few different types of phenols in coffee. One type, chlorogenic acid, has been shown to decrease our absorption of carbs, so some calories from, say, the bread we enjoy with coffee won’t count. Meanwhile, notes Dr. Arnot, another phenol called melanoidin decreases absorption of dietary fat. Meaning even more calories don’t count! He adds: “I suspect it’s the reason people instinctively reach for coffee after a rich meal.”
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The Coffee Cleanse Meal Plan
Sip one cup upon rising and unlimited additional cups per day as desired, aiming for at least three cups. Enjoy coffee decaf or regular, hot or iced as desired. High phenol coffees include:
Dunkin' Donuts Original Blend, McDonald's Decaf Medium Roast and Lavazza Kilimanjaro, as they blew many pricey brands out of the water; Eight O'Clock Coffee Columbian Medium and Folgers Classic Roast, also had top-30 scores.
Dr. Arnot’s Super Smoothie (enjoy as your breakfast and, if desired, as your lunch and/or dinner)
In blender, blitz:
- 1 cup filtered water
- 1-4 Tbs. chia seeds
- 1/2 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
- 1/2 cup frozen cantaloupe
- 1/2 banana
- 3 cups chopped kale (stems removed)
- 1/2 cup baby spinach
- Wild honey to taste
Note: Chia is very high in fiber; if you eat a low-fiber diet, start with 1 Tbs. chia and increase every few days to avoid any gastrointestinal discomfort.
Snacks (enjoy 1-3 per day if necessary to control hunger)
- 1/4 cantaloupe
- 1/2 cup 1% cottage cheese
- 1 handful raw almonds
- 2 Tbs. smashed berries, 2 tsp. nut butter and 1 tsp. wild honey on 1 slice sprouted wheat toast
- 2 oz. nitrate-free deli meat, 1/4 avocado, mustard to taste rolled in a large lettuce leaf
Optional Meals (enjoy one option at lunch and/or dinner if not having a smoothie)
Option 1: 3/4 cup low-fat sprouted granola, 3/4 cup Greek yogurt, 3/4 cup chopped strawberries, dash cinnamon
Option 2: 1/2 cup warmed teriyaki-flavored tofu; 1/2 cup shelled edamame; chopped cucumber, carrot and cilantro to taste over 3/4 cup brown rice. Drizzle with mix of 1 Tbs. rice wine vinegar, 1 tsp. soy sauce, 1/4 tsp. minced garlic and 1/2 tsp. sesame oil
Option 3: 4 oz. salmon, herbs and lemon; sliced cucumber and red onion with fresh mint, lime juice, salt and 2 tsp. olive oil; 1 cup quinoa or brown rice; 1 tsp. olive oil
Option 4: 4 oz. tuna or 2 chopped hard-boiled eggs; 1/4 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt; 1/3 cup mix of chopped celery and onion; pinch curry powder in 1 whole-grain pita; 1 apple or any fruit
Option 5: Summer Cleanse Salad: 3 oz. cooked shrimp or chicken, 3/4 cup berries or any fresh fruit; corn sliced off one ear; 1 Tbs. sliced toasted almonds; over a large bowl of seasonal greens, red onion, sugar snap peas with 2 Tbs. vinaigrette
This article originally appeared in our print magazine.