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Features

U of I study suggests new health benefit for caffeine

I love to start my day with a cup of dark roast coffee. I also enjoy a second one in the middle of the afternoon. Although I'm a fan of the taste, the caffeine in the coffee may have other benefits, too, according to a new study from the University of Illinois.
I love to start my day with a cup of dark roast coffee. I also enjoy a second one in the middle of the afternoon. Although I'm a fan of the taste, the caffeine in the coffee may have other benefits, too, according to a new study from the University of Illinois.

Good news for people who enjoy caffeine in its varied forms.

A new study in rats by the U. of I. Division of Nutritional Sciences.suggests that caffeine may offset some of the negative effects of an obesogenic diet.

An obesogenic diet is, quite simply, a diet that may contribute to obesity.

The study suggest that caffeine reduces the storage of lipids in fat cells. It may also limit weight gain and the production of triglycerides, a news release from the University of Illinois said.

Scientists at the University of Illinois found that rats that consumed the caffeine extracted from mate tea gained 16% less weight and accumulated 22% less body fat than rats that consumed decaffeinated mate tea, the news release also said.

Mate tea is an herbal beverage rich in phytochemicals, flavonoids and amino acids, the release said. People living in southeastern Latin American countries consume the beverage as a stimulant, the release also said.

Synthetic caffeine as well as caffeine extracted from coffee produced similar effects, the news release also said.

The amount of caffeine per serving in mate tea ranges from 65 to 130 milligrams. The amount of caffeine in a cup of coffee ranges from 30 to 300 milligrams, the news release said.

For four weeks, the rats in the study ate a diet that contained 40% fat, 45% carbohydrate and 15% protein, along with one of the forms of caffeine. The amount of caffeine the rats ingested was equivalent to four cups of coffee a day for a human, the release also said.

The study found that, at the end of those four weeks, the rats who ingested caffeine accumulated less body fat than the rats in the other groups, the release said.

This is not an excuse to load up on caffeine, even dark roast coffee (my favorite), which is more effective in reducing body weight than light roast coffee, according to a 2011 study published on PubMed.gov.

The Mayo Clinic website at mayoclinic.org says too much caffeine (more than 400 milligrams per day for healthy adults) may cause nervousness, insomnia, nausea and increased blood pressure.

To read the full study, visit bit.ly/2ty6yyT.

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