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This Morning Pick-Me-Up Can Help Melt Fat, Make Skin Glow, and Strengthen Hair

Collagen has long been touted as a miracle anti-aging ingredient in face serums and lotions. But these days, top doctors, celebrity nutritionists, and A-list beauties are incorporating the protein into their morning coffee as well. Take Harvard-educated weight-loss specialist Sara Gottfried, MD, for example: “I started drinking collagen lattes when I launched my first book — I was awake early for interviews on morning radio shows and I couldn’t bring myself to eat breakfast at 5:30 am,” says Dr. Gottfried, author of Younger: A Breakthrough Program to Reset Your Genes, Reverse Aging, and Turn Back the Clock 10 Years ($8.99, Amazon). “Once I made collagen part of my morning ritual, I noticed that I wasn’t hungry until noon and my skin started to glow.”

Just what makes collagen so beneficial first thing? “Collagen resets the hormone leptin, which is responsible for regulating feelings of satiety,” says Dr. Gottfried. The proof: Research in the journal Clinical Nutrition showed that a dose of collagen in the morning increases feelings of fullness by 40 percent and reduces calorie intake at lunch by 20 percent. Dr. Gottfried notes this effect is so powerful that women can skip breakfast a few times a week without feeling deprived. Known as intermittent fasting, this practice switches on longevity genes and fires up metabolism-effects that Columbia University scientists found helped fasters lose 92 percent more weight.

Collagen is especially slimming for women born before 1977. The protein plays a key role in building lean muscle mass. But at age 40, the body’s production of collagen drops off, says Dr. Gottfried. This results in muscle-tissue loss that leads to age-related metabolic slowdowns. Fortunately, supplementing with collagen promotes the formation of new muscle tissue to reignite fat burning. In a British Journal of Nutrition study, subjects given collagen daily built 45 percent more lean muscle than those who didn’t get the protein.

The perks go beyond weight loss. “When you replenish collagen, your hair regains luster and your nails, joints and teeth strengthen,” promises Dr. Gottfried. 

To get the perks, Dr. Gottfried suggests supplementing with 2 Tbs. of powdered collagen once daily. One we like: Reserveage Nutrition Collagen Replenish Powder, ($19.99, The Vitamin Shoppe), which dissolves into liquids easily and is virtually tasteless.

You can simply stir the powder into water, oatmeal, or even green smoothies. But for the fastest slimming results, Dr. Gottfried advises whipping up a Frappuccino-inspired treat and using it to replace breakfast two days per week. “You won’t crave food. Studies show consuming collagen helps women feel full without breaking the fast,” she notes. On these days, aim to forgo food at least 16 hours from your last meal. (So if you had dinner at 7 pm, don’t have lunch until after 11 am the next day.)

To make a serving of the slimming sip, blend 14 oz. of strong coffee, 2 Tbs. of collagen, 1 Tbs. of coconut oil and 6 ice cubes until frothy. For extra flavor, Dr. Gottfried adds up to 6 drops of chocolate or toffee-flavored stevia like SweetLeaf Sweet Drops ($8.81, Amazon).

This story originally appeared in our print magazine.

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