A strong cup of coffee before physical exercise could boost fat burning, researchers have said.

A team, from the Department of Physiology of the University of Granada (UGR), have found evidence to suggest that caffeine increases fat oxidation which will help people to burn off the pounds more easily.

In addition, the researchers said ingesting caffeine before an afternoon work-out is more effective than having it in the morning.

Lead author Dr Francisco José Amaro-Gahete from the UGR’s Department of Physiology said: “The recommendation to exercise on an empty stomach in the morning to increase fat oxidation is commonplace.

“However, this recommendation may be lacking a scientific basis, as it is unknown whether this increase is due to exercising in the morning or due to going without food for a longer period of time.”

The study involved 15 men aged about 32 who were asked to complete an exercise test four times at seven-day intervals.

Some of them were given 3mg/kg of caffeine, which is the equivalent of a strong coffee, and some were given a placebo at 8am and 5pm.

To make sure the trial was fair, the time hours since each participant’s last meal, physical exercise and the consumption of any other substances were standardised across everyone.

Dr Amaro-Gahete said: “The results of our study 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 findings have been published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.

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