Debunking Enzyme Coffee: Why It Won't Help Weight Loss

Updated Nov 26, 2023 • Amélie Bigras

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Enzyme coffee is said to be a type of coffee that would contain an enzyme that helps break down fat cells. These enzymes are apparently found naturally in coffee but are usually destroyed in the roasting process. Roasting a coffee bean will destroy the shape and functionality of those coffee enzymes. In order to understand what enzyme coffee claims to be, it is necessary to remember the function of enzymes in the body.

Before diving deep into the subject, let us note that some coffee roasters promote enzyme coffees for different reasons - such as Dayes Enzyme Coffee. Enzyme Fermented Coffee is a specialty coffee that boasts a smooth taste and deep aromas. Not all enzyme coffees promise you that they will help you lose weight.

DAYES Enzyme Fermented Whole Bean Coffee bag
DAYES Enzyme Fermented Whole Bean Coffee

What is an enzyme? A quick review.

An enzyme is a protein that helps speed up chemical reactions in the body. They are essential for digestion, liver function, and a number of other functions. Enzyme production occurs in every living organism. Enzymes play an important role in lowering the activation energy of reactions, which is the amount of energy that must be invested in order for the reaction to proceed.

Digestive enzymes help break down substrates (complex proteins, fats, and carbs) into smaller components (amino acids, lipids, and glucose). They’re produced naturally by your body and are also found in supplement form.

Besides reminding you of your grade 12 Biology course, this graph shows how a reaction is much more efficient with enzymes than without. There is less energy involved for the same production.

Graph explaining activation energy with and without enzymes
Image from "Potential, kinetic, free, and activation energy: Figure 5," by OpenStax College, Biology, CC BY 3.0.

How do enzymes work?

Both enzymes and substrates will bind and change dynamically. By stretching, twisting and changing the shape of the substrate, the enzyme speeds up the reaction.

In an ideal world, all enzymes in an organism would be plentiful. Even better if they worked perfectly in all cellular conditions, in all cells, all the time. In reality, this is far from the case because individual cells have different needs and conditions (pH and temperature). Also, enzymes don't work optimally or even at all unless they're bound to helpers called coenzymes such as vitamins or minerals.

What is enzyme coffee and does it help with weight loss?

Enzyme coffee is said to be a type of coffee that would contain an enzyme that helps break down fat cells. These enzymes are apparently found naturally in coffee but are usually destroyed in the roasting process. Roasting a coffee bean will destroy the shape and functionality of those coffee enzymes from the get go.

Yet some companies claim to have developed a way to preserve those enzymes which are never named. We could not find any information as to how they protected their secret enzyme from the blistering heat of the roasting process, the boiling water used to make the coffee or the 1.5 pH of human's gastric acid in our stomach.

Wawee coffee, a company selling enzyme coffee for weight loss, promotes its SkinnyBrew product by stating:

“The enzymes in the coffee contain required coenzymes for fat metabolism that may assist in the oxidative breakdown of fatty acids into mitochondria.”

So now it is not a secret enzyme but its secret coenzyme (a vitamin? a mineral?) that helps with breaking down fats into… mitochondria? A co-enzyme that will magically break down lipids into a complex, brand new, functioning respiratory cell with its own DNA?! Mitochondria cannot be made "from scratch" because they need both mitochondrial and nuclear gene products.

List of ingredients of enzyme coffes

We did not try enzyme coffees for weight loss as no company has successfully convinced us of the properties of their products. The massive lack of information in the ingredient list was enough information. We do not recommend enzyme coffees for weight loss as there is no evidence, studies or explanation that backs up this new trend.

Reviews on Enzyme Coffee - It’s just instant coffee

For more information, we recommend watching this video by Canadian Naturopath Brian Yeung.

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Recent Studies on Enzymes, Coffee & Weight Loss

If you are interested in learning more about weight loss, we recommend talking to a physician which would have your best interest at heart. Enzyme inhibitors block the activity of digestive enzymes, which could promote weight loss and fat loss. However, studies have had contradicting results. Here's some articles for you if you feel like nerding out in the world of biochemistry.

  • This study showed that freeze-dried instant coffee can promote the activities of antioxidant enzymes and induce weight loss but also aggravate the plasma cholesterol profile in rats.
  • According to a review of 14 studies, supplementing with an amylase inhibitor extracted from white beans may increase both weight loss and fat loss in humans.
  • Additionally, another study found that lipase inhibitors are used to reduce the absorption of fat, which could also result in significant weight loss.

Meet the expert

Amélie has a dual Bachelor of Biological Sciences and Literature. She wrote a Master's Thesis on the importance of blending scientific knowledge with the arts to create a healthier culture. She also has a Bachelor of Education and has been teaching Biology and Language Arts since 2016. She is happily addicted to coffee and constantly learning.

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