Question

Weight Loss Strategies

How can caffeine and nicotine patches help with weight loss?

A Answers (2)

  • AMichael Roizen, MD, Internal Medicine, answered
    When many people quit smoking, one of the first things they'll do is complain about the weight they've gained after quitting. There's something to that. While cigarettes are bullets to your lungs, they do seem to help people control weight—possibly, in part, through the destruction of taste buds. But they also seem to help with increasing metabolic rate by up to 10 percent as well as helping to reduce appetite.

    Well, the chances of my offering up cigarettes as a waist-control method are roughly the same as the 8-track tape making a comeback. I don't want to rule out nicotine as one of those early-program jumpstarts you can use to jump over a hurdle to increase your metabolism and reduce your appetite, however.

    Studies have shown that nicotine—in the form of patches and gum, NOT in the form of cigarettes—when combined with a modest dose of caffeine (as in 2 cups of coffee) can help reduce weight of those who use it. It's not a long-term solution, but one that can help you adjust and automate.

    I've prescribed a 7 mg nicotine patch to help some over a hurdle, combined with two cups of coffee (average cups, not the high-test espresso type—it would only be two thirds of one of those babies). Of course I ensure that such a patient doesn't have side effects triggered by the caffeine, such as migraine headaches, GERD, increased heartbeats, or anxiety.

    Caffeine will raise your metabolic rate just a tad to burn more calories. Combine the two if you reach a hump period in your weight-loss program—and they can act as that crutch that will help keep your mind—and waist—in the right direction. Discuss this option with your doctor, who will need to write a prescription.
  • ATroy Taylor, NASM Elite Trainer, Fitness, answered

    I would never encourage the use of caffeine or nicotine patches specifically for the goal of weight loss but if you are using nicotine patches to help you quit smoking or if you are having your daily cup or two of coffee they can have a small effect on weight loss. The simple fact is both caffeine and nicotine are stimulants. What this means is that they increase your metabolic rate for a period of time. This simply means you burn a few more calories than you normally would in the same time frame doing the same things. Stimulants are rarely a good choice though when it comes to losing weight and I would never condone a stimulant program for weight loss. Simply take in less food and exercise more that is the secret to long term healthy weight loss.

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