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A Coffee Cleanse for Weight Loss Is Not Just an Urban Legend


At first glance, “coffee” and “weight loss” don’t seem like words that belong in the same sentence. But whether you love it hot or iced, coffee is about to become your go-to new diet drink.

Inspired by exciting evidence that an ordinary cup of joe can help increase a person’s odds of a long life by up to 50 percent, former NBC Nightly News and 60 Minutes medical correspondent Bob Arnot, MD, began experimenting with ways to reap the drink’s maximum benefits. The result: A whole new way to detox, one built around special coffee (both regular and decaf, hot and iced) that boasts the highest doses of disease-and-fat-fighting antioxidants. To date, folks testing Dr. Arnot’s “coffee cleanse” have been able to treat everything from eczema to type 2 diabetes while shedding up to 50 pounds in 50 days. “Drink coffee my way, and you can trigger unparalleled weight loss while changing your entire life for the better,” Arnot said.

Does coffee help you lose weight?

After studies from the National Institutes of Health pointed to antioxidants in coffee (which are called phenols) as key to the drink’s many health benefits, Arnot was curious about which brew options were highest in phenols. He was shocked to find no comprehensive tests existed, so he hired chemists at a Vermont lab to systematically rank hundreds of beans.

“Dark roasting destroys phenols,” Arnot said, adding that he and his team took to calling the lightest roasts “lean roasts,” because they explode with slimming compounds. Plus, unlike their dark counterparts, they “are delicious without fattening sugar or cream.” Further down you’ll find a list of top-ranked “lean roast” coffees, including options from Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, and even McDonald’s. We’re also sharing a special version of Arnot’s coffee cleanse, which pairs lean roast coffee (at least three cups per day) with nutrient-dense shakes and meals that he says optimize coffee’s benefits. But whether you use his detox regimen or not, every cup of high-phenol coffee you sip will give you a fat-fighting edge.

How High-Phenol Coffee Slims

High-phenol coffee affects the body by giving you…

A faster metabolism. According to a preliminary Japanese study, phenols cause a short-term burst of faster calorie burning. Phenols also boost calorie burn long term by preventing a type of inflammation that not only stalls our thyroids, but can also lead to loss of metabolism-boosting muscle. Bonus: Stimulants in even a single cup of caffeinated coffee “are proven to increase metabolism by an extra 75-100 calories a day,” Arnot said.

Faster fat burning. Phenols in coffee have been shown to lower levels of insulin, a very good thing since the hormone blocks fat burning. The less insulin we make, the more readily fat burns! Phenols have also been shown to decrease the formation of new fat, Arnot said. Another caffeine bonus: The stimulant helps free fat from fat cells during activity, so the body can quickly incinerate it. “It’s a phenomenal boost to weight loss!”

Fat and calorie blocking. There are actually a couple few different types of phenols in coffee. One type, chlorogenic acid, has been shown to decrease our absorption of carbs, so some calories from, say, the bread we enjoy with coffee won’t count. Meanwhile, Arnot noted, another phenol called melanoidin decreases absorption of dietary fat — meaning even more calories don’t count! He added: “I suspect it’s the reason people instinctively reach for coffee after a rich meal.”

Results From the Coffee Diet Plan

New Jersey mom Marney Rohda, 48, was among the first folks to volunteer to test Arnot’s coffee cleanse. Eight weeks later, she was 20 pounds skinnier. “I never drank coffee regularly before. Now I’m hooked!” she said. Then there’s fellow New Jersey mom Gloria Culmone, 47. Upping her coffee intake to five high-phenol cups a day, she dropped 15 pounds in 21 days. “I’m not sleepy in the afternoons anymore, my cravings for unhealthy foods went away, and maintaining my weight loss has been easy,” she said. “The right coffee can do amazing things.”

The Coffee Cleanse Meal Plan

High-Phenol Coffee: Sip one cup upon rising and unlimited additional cups per day as desired, aiming for at least three cups. Enjoy coffee decaf or regular, hot or iced as desired. High phenol coffees include:

  • Daktari Kenya Gathugu is a worthy splurge, as the gathugu bean from the Nyeri region in Kenya “had phenol levels 100 percent higher than other very good coffees,” Arnot said.
  • Both Dr. Danger Hard Core Extra Light and Intelligentsia’s Frequency Blend (from $14, Amazon) are specialty standouts, as they’ve earned sky-high phenol scores.
  • Dunkin’ Donuts Original Blend ($10.48, Amazon), McDonald’s Decaf Medium Roast ($11.28, Amazon), and Lavazza Kilimanjaro ($9.60, Amazon) blew many pricey brands out of the water; Eight O’Clock Coffee Columbian Medium ($6.46, Amazon) and Folgers Classic Roast ($6.92, Amazon) also had top-30 scores.
  • Veranda Blend Blonde K Cup ($39.52, Amazon) and Green Mountain Coffee Breakfast Blend K Cup ($64.15, Amazon) boast an impressive number of phenols.

Dr. Arnot’s Super Smoothie

Besides your daily cup of joe, supplement your diet with Arnot’s Super Smoothie for breakfast or lunch!


  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 1-4 Tbsp. chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 cup frozen cantaloupe
  • 1/2 banana
  • 3 cups chopped kale (stems removed)
  • 1/2 cup baby spinach
  • Wild honey to taste

Note: Chia is very high in fiber; if you eat a low-fiber diet, start with 1 Tbsp. chia and increase every few days to avoid any gastrointestinal discomfort.

Coffee Diet for Weight Loss

Snacks (enjoy one to three per day if necessary to control hunger)

  • 1/4 cantaloupe
  • 1/2 cup 1 percent cottage cheese
  • 1 handful raw almonds
  • 2 Tbsp. smashed berries, 2 tsp. nut butter and 1 tsp. wild honey on 1 slice of sprouted wheat toast
  • 2 oz. nitrate-free deli meat, 1/4 avocado, mustard to taste rolled in a large lettuce leaf

Optional Meals (enjoy one option at lunch and/or dinner if not having a smoothie)

  • Option 1: 3/4 cup low-fat sprouted granola, 3/4 cup Greek yogurt, 3/4 cup chopped strawberries, dash cinnamon
  • Option 2: 1/2 cup warmed teriyaki-flavored tofu; 1/2 cup shelled edamame; chopped cucumber, carrot and cilantro to taste over 3/4 cup brown rice. Drizzle with mix of 1 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar, 1 tsp. soy sauce, 1/4 tsp. minced garlic and 1/2 tsp. sesame oil
  • Option 3: 4 oz. salmon, herbs and lemon; sliced cucumber and red onion with fresh mint, lime juice, salt and 2 tsp. olive oil; 1 cup quinoa or brown rice; 1 tsp. olive oil
  • Option 4: 4 oz. tuna or 2 chopped hard-boiled eggs; 1/4 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt; 1/3 cup mix of chopped celery and onion; pinch curry powder in 1 whole-grain pita; 1 apple or any fruit
  • Option 5: Summer Cleanse Salad: 3 oz. cooked shrimp or chicken, 3/4 cup berries or any fresh fruit; corn sliced off one ear; 1 Tbsp. sliced toasted almonds; over a large bowl of seasonal greens, red onion, sugar snap peas with 2 Tbsp. vinaigrette

This article originally appeared in our print magazine.

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