According to many scientific studies, the answer is about 150 calories.
“But we all want to lose weight with a certain calorie deficit,” says Dr. David Ludwig, medical director of Weight Watchers in San Antonio. The nutritionists recommend eating about 250 calories a day to lose 3 percent of your weight, about the same calorie figure most obese people must consume to lose weight.
The question arises whether or not it is possible to lose weight using a calorie deficit.
“I want people to take a deep breath,” says Dr. Lawrence J. Schwartz, professor of medicine at University of Michigan Medical School. “Caffeine can be the cause of weight gain and weight gain is an example of a phenomenon called obesity.”
In general, though, Dr. Schwartz’s advice is the same as for the general population: “Eat lots of nutrient-dense, quality foods and drink plenty of water and don’t overeat and go crazy.”
The research on caffeine in weight loss comes from numerous studies. For instance, a 2009 U.K. study reported that weight- loss diets, including Weight Watchers, lowered food cravings in overweight and obese women, reduced food intake compared to other diets, and reduced body weight. The researchers suggested that because women and children were more vulnerable to weight gain than men and older people, the diet could help prevent obesity and diabetes.
In a separate study published earlier this year in Clinical Nutrition, researchers in Brazil found that drinking water reduced appetite and caloric intake at a meal and reduced hunger in obese children, adults and adults.
Dr. Schwartz disagrees with the idea that caffeine can lead to weight gain. For instance, studies in Brazil and elsewhere have not shown an association between caffeine intake and abdominal fat. “The link between caffeine and weight gain is very weak at best,” he says. “Caffeine can actually be healthy.”
The science on weight loss using a calorie deficit and how it works is complex. For one thing, scientists must determine exactly how many calories the woman needs each day to lose weight. That involves weighing hundreds of pounds of varying sizes, comparing the food, lifestyle habits and activities she engages in with the number of calories required to lose weight. “You have to find out the number of calories she needs to lose weight and keep her at that weight,” says Schwartz.
Another issue is that calories aren’t a good predictor of weight loss. “You have to have some sort of food or exercise regimen on which
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