Is Coffee Bad for You?
Updated: Oct 16
Let’s talk about coffee and find an answer for the the frequently asked question: “Is Coffee Bad For You?” I always wonder about people’s relationship with caffeine. To me it is interesting that when people say they love their coffee, they truly LOVE drinking and feel attached to it!
Some believe that’s because the caffeine in coffee is addictive, but I think it’s more than just the potential caffeine addiction.
Most people see their coffee drinking as a ritualistic experience that they enjoy.
The smell of the beans, the warm feeling of the cup, and the delightful taste all trigger a reward signal in their brains. Un arguably this could be one of the reasons coffee is the center of many people’s morning routines. Giving it up usually is not found easy either because we are so used to our coffee or we think we need to get lasting energy and focus from something, right?
I love coffee a lot but I’m totally fine without it and in this blog post I am going to explain why. So, what’s the truth? Is it bad for you… or not?
Is coffee good or bad for you
Is Coffee bad for you ?
Every day, about 90% of American adults consume caffeine in some form. More than half of U.S. adults consume more than 300 mg per day —about three cups. It’s known as America’s most popular “drug” with positive effects like increased energy, focus, memory, and better reaction times. Which on the other hand can leave the body feeling jittery and may have a negative impact on sleep.
Coffee isn’t bad on its own, but the way we consume it can make it one of our unhealthiest daily habits. I’m referring to drinking too much coffee (relying on the dopamine boost for energy), low-quality highly processed coffee, or a massive quantity of sugar disguised as coffee.
What could be wrong with the coffee we drink?
Over 18,000 studies have looked at coffee use in the past few decades. Lately more and more are reporting real health benefits for coffee drinkers-but the cup of coffee you order from a coffee shop is likely different from the coffee you brew at home. Not only coffee shop vanilla lattes, coffee mates, and Frappuccino are NOT full of antioxidants, but they’re full of sugar, empty calories, and unhealthy fats as well.
What defines a cup is the type of coffee bean used, how it is roasted, the amount of grind, and how it is brewed. Human response to coffee or caffeine can also vary substantially across individuals. We all have those friends who can drink an espresso right before going to bed, right? Or maybe you are like me and may experience insomnia even if you drink a cup of coffee in the afternoon.
So, to answer the burning question, “Is coffee bad for you?” No, coffee is not bad for you on its own. Drinking too much coffee (relying on the dopamine boost for energy), low-quality highly processed coffee, or a massive quantity of sugar disguised as coffee, is.
Some incredible health benefits of coffee consumption in low to moderate doses of caffeine (50–300 mg):
An intricate mixture of more than a thousand chemicals
Rich in antioxidants that positively impact our health
Dopamine booster for brain stimulation and improved mood and concentration
Increases physical performance
Reduces cancer risk
Longevity (longer lifespan)
Healthy metabolism and weight support
Coffee is the most significant source of antioxidants in the American diet, even compared to wine and vegetables! Antioxidants help prevent disease, slow down the aging process, repair cellular damage, and maintain overall health.
Your mood benefits from caffeine, too. A massive 10-year study on over 50,000 women in the US found that women who drank at least a cup of caffeinated coffee every day (but not decaf) were diagnosed with depression less often.
What does coffee do to your body?
Generally, coffee stimulates your central nervous system (CNS), increases your stomach’s acid production, temporarily increases your blood pressure, and boosts the production of certain hormones. These broad effects are why coffee produces such significant health benefits and carries substantial risks for heavy coffee drinkers.
How does Coffee make some feel more alert and doesn’t affect others?
Chemically, caffeine looks a lot like adenosine, a “slow-down” brain chemical associated with sleep and relaxation of blood vessels. Caffeine binds to adenosine receptors on your nerve cells, leaving no room for adenosine to get in. So nerve cell activity speeds up, blood vessels constrict and you get a caffeine buzz (or irritable jitters).
Of course, if you caffeinate yourself daily, you’ll likely develop tolerance to the effects and the stimulation will subside. But it also means that eventually you’ll need a regular caffeine fix just to reach your baseline level of alertness.
Your body will adapt by producing more adenosine receptors, making you more sensitive to the effects of adenosine. So if you don’t have your daily cup, you’ll likely develop withdrawal symptoms like extreme fatigue and headaches (caused by constricted blood vessels).
What is the effect of caffeine on blood sugar levels?
In the very short-term, caffeine intake can increase blood sugar levels and insulin resistance. On the other hand long-term, daily consumption of caffeine actually lowers your risk of diabetes and improves insulin sensitivity. Despite all the great health benefits, be sure to remember that your morning cup won’t make up for an unhealthy diet or a sedentary lifestyle.
Potential disadvantages of coffee
Drinking coffee can have significant downsides, particularly if you don’t follow the following recommended guide to the healthiest way to consume it.
Some of the downsides of drinking coffee are:
Increased anxiety and irritability if you are sensitive to caffeine
High blood pressure and Heart health concern
Toxicity (acrylamide and pesticides
Discoloration of teeth or other dental issues
Risk of dehydration
Important things to remember on the disadvantages of coffee:
Pregnant women should generally steer clear of coffee. There have been many studies on the topic, and some find no association between coffee intake and adverse pregnancy outcomes. However, drinking a substantial amount of coffee when you’re first trying to conceive does somewhat reduce your risk of getting pregnant and increases the chances of miscarriage.
Moderate coffee drinking is unlikely to make a significant difference to blood pressure, but if you already have high blood pressure, talk to your doctor about whether or not you should stop the habit.
A specific piece of genetic code defines how each person metabolizes caffeine. People with a CYP1A2*1F allele metabolize coffee slower than those with other variations of the gene. “Slow” metabolizers have an increased risk of non-fatal heart attacks and high blood pressure (hypertension) when they drink coffee.
How Much Coffee Should You Drink Every Day?
what’s “high” varies from person to person personally for me 1 8oz cup of caffeine is more than enough each day. According to the FDA, up to 400 mg of caffeine (~3 eight-ounce cups of coffee) per day is safe for healthy adults. Most scientific research supports the health benefits of coffee for somewhere between 1-4 cups of coffee per day.
6 Ways to consume coffee in a healthier manner
If you drink coffee, here are my 6 simple rules to follow to get the best of what it has to offer:
1. Drink only one cup of coffee every day
2. Drink high-quality, organic coffee
3. Skip or dramatically reduce added sugar – use natural sweeteners or cinnamon and vanilla extract for flavour
4. Use filtered water to avoid potential contaminants present in tap water.
5. Don’t drink unfiltered coffee – the cafestol in unfiltered coffee is what makes it a bit of a risk for raising cholesterol levels.
6. Take occasional breaks from your coffee habit
Why should you drink Organic Coffee?
The toxins in pesticides, fungicides, and synthetic fertilizers are certainly not something I want in my body.
You don’t have to eat everything organic, but coffee is definitely something to consider purchasing organic if your budget allows.
When to take a break from coffee
Relying on coffee to stay awake can task your adrenal glands and negatively affect your hormones. If you ever feel like you’re relying on your coffee to keep going and need more than one cup to feel alive in the morning, then it’s time to switch to lower caffeine drinks like green tea and take a break from coffee.
What are some good Coffee alternatives?
Looking for an alternative? Green tea is a wonderful pick-me-up with even more health benefits. If you think that you don’t like green tea, you probably just haven’t found the right one. Just like coffee there are so many options to choose from.
I love everything from Traditional Medicinals, Yogi and Pukka brand teas they both have a variety of delicious options! While I’m certainly not advocating that you replace real food with coffee fix from Starbucks, for most people drinking a small amount of high-quality coffee isn’t going to hurt you. It may even help.
Like with anything else addictive, moderation is your friend, every now and then take a few days off of coffee to give your system a break.
What to do next…
Any questions? Leave me a comment below.
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