Just when I think that I’ve heard of every possible diet strategy, out comes a new one: enzyme coffee for weight loss. In this blog post, I’ll share the full scoop on what this is, whether it works (based on science) and if I recommend it.
Hi! I’m Jamie, Registered Dietitian, and a weight loss expert. My specialty is helping you sift through what actually helps support your goals, and what doesn’t.
Let’s kick this blog post off with an overview of what this enzyme coffee is all about.
What is enzyme coffee?
Enzyme coffee is a type of coffee promoted as a weight loss drink…we’ll talk about if I agree with that or not in a moment. But first, what is in enzyme coffee?
…whelp. It depends on who you ask, but this is all pretty much bogus.
Supposedly enzyme coffee has special enzymes that help break down fat cells for fat burning. The claim is that these enzymes are found in regular coffee beans too, but are destroyed in the roasting process.
Many sellers of “enzyme coffee” in the wild west of the internet say that their special brewing methods preserve the enzymes in coffee. I call BS.
Other sites have recipes to make enzyme coffee drinks with instant coffee. And videos promoting Enzyme Coffee on TikTok have been making the rounds. Some enzyme coffees add things like guarana, yerba mate, green tea extract and ginseng extracts.
Ladies and gentlemen: it is time for a wee science lesson so that we can stop getting bamboozled by these ideas and dietary supplements that are just too good to be true.
What is an enzyme, anyway?
Let’s get in touch with our inner Ms. Frizzle and explore the science here.
An enzyme is a protein in our body that helps a process to happen or to happen more quickly.
Let’s say that you wanted to make a bunch of cookies around the holidays. You could use a knife to cut out the cookies or you could use cookie cutters to make the process happen a lot faster. In this analogy, the cookie cutter is the enzyme; it isn’t changed by the process, but the process happened a lot faster than without.
There are MANY kinds of enzymes in our body; they help with all sorts of processes, including our body’s ability to digest our food. During digestion, we get the energy (aka calories) out of our food and are able to use them as fuel.
So why would an enzyme in your coffee help with weight loss? There is no evidence that it would! It just sounds fancy and is attention-grabbing, especially if you’re on a weight loss journey.
Enzymes are fragile. They are made out of proteins and can be destroyed by heat, acid, and more. This is why having a marinade tenderizes raw meat; the proteins are changed by the acid in the marinade!
And if you think about what enzymes can do in our body on a daily basis – help to release energy from food – why in the world would it help with weight loss? It doesn’t make sense.
If you’re holding on to hope that enzyme coffee will boost metabolism or support your weight loss goals, I have bad news. There is not a single high-quality journal article or study that I could find to say that enzyme coffee is actually helpful for weight loss.
Does enzyme coffee for weight loss have side effects?
Drinking too much coffee does have potential side effects. It can cause you to feel anxious, make it hard to sleep at night, and can cause you to pee a lot and stimulate bowel movements (1).
Taking supplemental enzymes can cause nausea, vomiting, and other symptoms, but the “preserved” enzymes that are reported to be in enzyme coffee probably aren’t actually there or at risk of causing any of these symptoms (2).
Does enzyme coffee work?
There is nothing special about enzyme coffee.
There IS some research about coffee in general, but it doesn’t need to have additional enzymes.
Caffeine can suppress your appetite (keep reading – I’ll cover some potential benefits of coffee next).
Effect of regular coffee on weight loss
Coffee – the plain stuff, can sometimes have an effect on weight loss. It’s the caffeine content that can curb your appetite (and give you an energy boost).
But, while using your morning coffee as an appetite suppressant sounds appealing, it also has its drawbacks. If you drink a big coffee every morning and it keeps you “full” without eating breakfast only to end up starving and overeating at lunch time… it’s not going to help.
In fact, it’s generally a good idea to prioritize food with your coffee so that doesn’t happen.
Also, keep in mind that what you drink is just one small piece of your overall health and weight loss efforts; how much you move, if you eat fruits and veggies, your usual sleep amount, and how you manage your stress levels all impact your overall health and your weight.
AND: there are plenty of things outside of your control, such as your genetics, that influence your body’s usual size, weight, and even where you hold your weight (3).
What about digestive enzymes?
If you have any issues with your digestive tract and are not able to make enough enzymes, you might actually benefit from supplementing (4). Not sure? Have a quick chat with your doctor or your personal registered dietitian about this before beginning (I am A registered dietitian, but I am not your registered dietitian unless you’re my client).
If you don’t have damage to your gut, pancreatic insufficiency, cystic fibrosis, or some other condition that impacts your body’s ability to make enzymes, you probably don’t need a supplement. If you’re not sure, I’d recommend speaking with your healthcare provider..
…but I still want to lose weight
I get it. If you’ve been trying to reach a healthier body weight for a long time, it’s easy to latch on to a quick fix when you see one. There are much more effective ways to improve your health and support your body being at its healthiest weight.
But – quick fixes like this enzyme coffee aren’t going to serve up lasting health or weight loss.
I recommend focusing on lifestyle changes that support a healthy diet and help you to feel good in your body and that you can stick to. Start prioritizing habits like eating enough fruits and vegetables, regular exercise, and prioritizing a good relationship with food.
The recent hype on social media of drinking enzyme coffee for weight loss is bogus; there is no scientific evidence to support this claim. There are no special enzymes that help you reach a healthy weight.
Fad diets can be attractive and appear to offer effortless results but more often than not fail to deliver any long-lasting health benefits. Products like this with lots of attractive claims like weight loss are almost always a big red flag.
Instead, focus on fueling your body with whole foods prepared in healthy ways and maintaining physical activity and restorative sleep as part of your overall nutrition strategy.
Taking the time to learn and understand more about healthy eating will help you find balance and build sustainable habits for life.
If you want more guidance and help you should consider purchasing a copy of the Balanced Basics Handbook which includes expert behavior change strategies to develop healthy habits that last a lifetime. Get your copy today and learn how to make lasting healthy changes tailored to your own unique needs!