You may grab a cup of coffee in the morning for a quick pick-me-up as you head out the door, but have you ever considered the caffeine content as a way to help you lose weight as well?
Caffeine is one of the most ubiquitous ingredients in the diet pill industry for its ability to spark fat burning and produce energy. According to the American Council on Exercise, caffeine is particularly useful because it stays in your body for long. For example, it takes four hours for your body to eliminate just half of the caffeine you have consumed, keeping the effects around for as long as you need.

To harness these effects, you don’t need to look very far when researching diet pills. PhenQ, for example, is a product that emphasizes caffeine both through green tea and caffeine anhydrous.

But perhaps you want to learn more about caffeine first. Caffeine can be both a positive and negative addition to your prospective diet pill, depending on your circumstances. To help you evaluate your own needs, take a look at the following list of three pros and three cons to caffeine use in diet pills.

Pro #1: Caffeine is an Effective Stimulant

There are differing schools of thought on exactly how caffeine works to promote weight loss, but most people agree that its main effect on the body is as a stimulant.
Caffeine triggers faster reactions in the central nervous system, getting the metabolism up and going and creating heat in the body that leads to fat burning. According to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, that is why coffee is so effective at keeping you awake in the mornings.
To be effective and burn fat, caffeine should be taken in doses of about 300mg a day. With this dosage, it is likely that you will be able to lose some significant weight.

Pro #2: Caffeine Gives Energy

The energy-producing properties of caffeine are probably their most well-known. Again, this is due to its status as a stimulant.
Caffeine works by increasing the release of adrenaline and other catecholamines, which send more blood to your muscles and signal to your liver to release sugar into the bloodstream for energy.
This extra energy is useful because it can get you to gym on an otherwise sluggish day and help you work out longer and harder. Over time, this will contribute to lasting weight loss.

Pro #3: Caffeine Improves Mental Focus

Aside from the obvious fat burning and energy producing effects of caffeine, one of the biggest reasons it is considered a good component of a diet pill is because it has the ability to increase mental focus.
When your body’s processes are heightened, the effect carries through to your mental faculties by the production of dopamine and you are better able to concentrate and make good decisions. According to the Consumer Reports Health website, it has even been recommended that shift workers use caffeine to eliminate fatigue and inattention, which can lead to simple mistakes.
In a weight loss program, better mental focus can lead to better workouts and this indirect effect on weight loss may prove highly valuable.

Con #1: Caffeine Causes Adverse Side Effects

However, caffeine is not without its downsides. One of the biggest reasons people avoid caffeine in diet pills, for example, is because of the adverse side effects it can cause.
As a stimulant, caffeine speeds up natural processes in the body and can cause physiological changes like irregular heartbeat and palpitations that may be dangerous. Less seriously, caffeine has also been linked to headaches, nausea, irritability, and insomnia.
These side effects are generally only concerns for people who have already displayed sensitivity to stimulants. Generally, if you can handle a couple of cups of coffee without a problem, you can handle the caffeine content in most diet pills.

Con #2: Caffeine Increases Stress and Could Backfire

For the same reason that caffeine can help to stimulate weight loss, it can also increase stress.
A Duke University study found that participants who took two caffeine pills—essentially the equivalent of four cups of coffee—felt more stressed, had higher blood pressure, and produced more epinephrine than those participants who took a placebo.
As you probably know, excess stress can lead to the production of the hormone cortisol. Cortisol is a stress hormone that tells the body to store fat, especially around the middle.
So, in a way, caffeine can actually backfire and lead to weight gain if you are prone to stress from excess quantities of stimulants.

Con #3: Caffeine May Not Lead to Lasting Weight Loss

According to Kathryn Zeratsky of the Mayo Clinic, caffeine will likely help you lose weight, but the results may not be lasting. As a diuretic, caffeine causes water loss and therefore most of the weight lost will be water weight.
As such, this weight loss is unlikely to be permanent. And because there is no evidence from clinical studies to support the notion of lasting weight loss, there isn’t any reason to doubt Zeratsky’s conclusions.

How to Use Caffeine Properly

Balancing out both the pros and cons, it is possible that caffeine can be an effective help in a weight loss supplement. However, a diet pill based strictly on caffeine probably isn’t something you should invest in, as the lasting effects of such a pill are not certain.
Instead, look for a diet pill that balances the inclusion of caffeine against other fat burning ingredients like green tea or African mango. Just remember—caffeine content, whether in the form of green tea or otherwise, should be present in about 300mg per day to have any effect. Any less, caffeine is taking up space in a crowded capsule; any more, and it’s putting you at risk for dangerous side effects.
Keeping this in mind, you should be able to effectively lose weight loss with caffeine.