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To lose weight, just drink a gallon of coffee. Mmm coffee.

Exercise is the best method to get healthy and lose weight, but new research suggests that coffee activates the same fat-busting genes as an hour’s worth of exercise. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t exercise, but that it also means that coffee is also beneficial. You just need a whole lot of it, which at larger doses can be very detrimental.

A team of researchers from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, were interested in the genetic activity in the body during exercise. By taking biopsies from the legs of participants, they were able to work out that several genes associated with metabolizing fat are activated by exercise—but only after an hour or so. That means that your body breaks down fat more effectively after an hour’s exercise.

But what they also found was that the exact same genes are activated by large doses of caffeine, a finding they report in Cell Metabolism. In fact, the caffeine causes the body to release calcium, which tricks it into thinking that muscles are being contracted—hence the effect.

Sadly, the doses of caffeine required to achieve the same effect as an hour’s exercise are… intimidating to say the least. “[You] would need to consume a caffeine equivalent of about 50 cups [of coffee] per day, almost close to a lethal dose”, explains Juleen Zierath, one of the researchers, to Nature.


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