Caffeine is a natural alkaloid that acts by stimulating the central nervous system. It is the most widely-consumed psychoactive substance in the world. Recently, studies have been carried out to assess its possible benefits in sports activities requiring endurance capacity. From 2004, following the clear results, caffeine no longer appears on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s list of prohibited substances.
The Physiology Department of the University of Granada conducted a study that reveals new positive properties of coffee in relation to our health. The study was carried out with 15 men with an average age of 32. The participants completed a physical exercise test four times, ingesting 3 mg/kg of caffeine half an hour before,, at 8 am and at 5 pm. The results show that consuming a set amount of caffeine half an hour before physical exercise increases fat oxidation significantly, regardless of the time of day.
Caffeine optimises fat metabolism
The study says that 30 minutes after caffeine intake, the effect is present in most people and lasts about 3 hours, though depending on biological characteristics, it can last as long as 4-5 hours. Caffeine facilitates the breakdown of triglycerides in adipose tissue and thus increases the amount of free fatty acids in the blood, which facilitates their oxidation in order to obtain energy.
The ideal way to make use of the results of the University of Granada study is through moderate-intensity aerobic exercise in the afternoon, combined with caffeine intake half an hour beforehand. Activities that qualify are: cycling, brisk walking, dancing, playing doubles tennis, hiking, walking and skating.