In a new study, researchers found that caffeine (about 3 mg/kg, the equivalent of a strong coffee) ingested half an hour before aerobic exercise strongly increases the rate of fat-burning.
They also found that if the exercise is performed in the afternoon, the effects of the caffeine are more marked than in the morning.
The research was conducted by scientists from the University of Granada (UGR).
In the study, the team aimed to determine whether caffeine—one of the most commonly consumed ergogenic substances in the world to improve sports performance—actually does increase oxidation or “burning” of fat during exercise.
A total of 15 men (mean age, 32) participated in the research, completing an exercise test four times at seven-day intervals.
The people ingested 3 mg/kg of caffeine or a placebo at 8 am and 5 pm (each subject completed the tests in all four conditions in random order).
The team showed that acute caffeine ingestion 30 minutes before performing an aerobic exercise test increased maximum fat oxidation during exercise regardless of the time of day.
The existence of a diurnal variation in fat oxidation during exercise was confirmed, the values being higher in the afternoon than in the morning for equal hours of fasting.
These results also showed that caffeine increases fat oxidation during morning exercise in a similar way to that observed without caffeine intake in the afternoon.
In summary, the findings suggest that the combination of acute caffeine intake and aerobic exercise performed at moderate intensity in the afternoon provides the best scenario for people seeking to increase fat-burning during physical exercise.
The study is published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. One author of the study is Francisco José Amaro-Gahete.
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