Saturday, September 13, 2008

Coffee: Separating Fact from Fiction

While many of us have grown to accept and heed fashion trends, recent history shows us the folly that ensues when we apply the same practice to foods. Take butter, for example. It was part of a healthy diet for centuries until scientists warned us of the ills of saturated fat and transitioned us to margarine. Now after decades of dipping our knives into tubs of trans-fats, we are discovering that, oops, margarine turns out to be worse for us ... much worse.

There are many more guilty pleasures whose health warnings are finally being debunked, coffee perhaps the most popular among them. A review of recent research, conducted by Jane Brody of The New York Times revealed that many of coffee's mythic ills are unfounded. Of course those of us who brighten after a morning cappuccino don't need science to tell us this. According to Roland Griffiths of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, "the most important effects of caffeine are its ability to enhance mood and mental and physical performance. At consumption up to 200 milligrams (the average 16 ounce cup of coffee), consumers report an improved sense of well-being, happiness, energy, alertness, and sociability ... although higher amounts sometimes cause anxiety and stomach upset." Here are some other findings culled from the latest scientific literature:

Breast Cancer: A study of 59,000 women in Sweden found no connection between coffee or caffeine consumption and breast cancer.

Diabetes: People who drink 4-6 cups of coffee a day (with or without caffeine) have a 28% lower risk of Type 2 diabetes than non-coffee drinkers.

Heart Disease: An analysis of 10 studies of more than 400,000 people found no increase in heart disease among daily coffee drinkers.

Hydration: Contrary to popular belief, only in quantities above 575 milligrams does caffeine become a diuretic.

Weight Loss: Although caffeine speeds up metabolism, studies paradoxically show that men and women who increased their caffeine consumption actually gained more weight than those that did not.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. I am surprised that coffee isn't a diuretic. But I guess anything you drink 20 ounces of will make you go to the bathroom"^)

10:02 PM  
Anonymous Carrie Tucker said...

Oh NO! Where did you get your facts? Check it out again. Coffee most definitely IS a diuretic. What in the world could possibly bring you to the conclusion that it isn't.

Please, I don't wish to argue, but I have been fighting a caffeine addiction for many many years. For good reason! Read The Caffeine Blues by Stephen Chernesky. Thick book but half of it is footnotes. It is very well laid out. Caffeine is responsible for my pain level. When I leave it alone, my pain level goes down. When I drink a lot of coffee, I have anger management issues that vanish when I get clean. Read the book it will explain why that happens. It leaches very important vitamins and minerals too, like iron and magnesium for starters.

I love coffee too, and I am not saying KICK THE HABIT. I am saying that it is better to know the truth. Knowledge is potential power. I know that I feel better when I am not strung out on caffeine.

3:21 AM  
Blogger swag said...

Caffeine addiction? What kind of pantywaist goes around looking for bleeding-heart sympathy for their caffeine "addiction"?

Give me a break. Until you've lost your job over it -- until you sold your child into sex slavery to afford your next fix -- you have no right to call anything an "addiction". It's insulting to the people with true addictions, not white collar wussy ones.

6:37 PM  
Anonymous Foodtherapy said...

I too was surprised to discover that coffee is not considered a diuretic until you reach a certain quantity (about two cups) but this claim is based on scientific research. That said, it wouldn't be the first time that the research got it wrong, so if anyone has a link to reputable research to the contrary, please comment.

5:21 PM  
Anonymous Adult Weight Loss Camp said...

Coffee causes weight gain? I know I switched from Half-And-Half to frothed 2% for the first time in 30 years of nonstop coffee drinking and I'm feeling a lot less heavy.

9:46 AM  
Anonymous bogartkick said...

I agree of that. Caffeine cost too much weight gain. I am often drinking coffee and sometimes feel that my weight gain, and too much caffeine will leave you in a bad condition. We must take control of drinking coffee more often so that we might earn a healthy living.

9:00 AM  
Anonymous Human Growth Hormone said...

I think the coffee is not considered a diuretic until you reach a certain quantity (about two cups) but this claim is based on scientific research.

1:26 AM  

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