Feel Free to Enjoy Your Cup of Coffee.

Coffee drinkers can breathe a sigh of relief as they down their second or even third cup of coffee for the day: The latest coffee study shows no negative health effects accumulating over time.

Coffee’s caffeine delivers a jolt that speeds up the heart. That jolt increased blood pressure according to early studies. It also can raise
homocysteine levels, a marker of inflammation in the body, as well as total and LDL cholesterol levels. Other studies reported an increase in heart attacks and stroke in the hour after coffee was imbibed. This data, of course, led to the perception that coffee drinking is harmful. Based on this data, health care providers tend to recommend no more than low-to-moderate coffee drinking. The negative effects were largely attributed to the caffeine content of the coffee and some, hoping to avoid the negative effects, switched from regular to decaf.

Over time, however, the data on coffee become truly confusing: Some studies continued to show a link between coffee drinking and cardiovascular disease. Others showed no effect. Yet others actually showed a reduction in cardiovascular disease. To confuse matters further, coffee appeared to reduce the incidence of type-2 diabetes in studies from both the U.S. and Europe. Moreover, while coffee appeared to reduce the risk of liver, breast, and oral cancers, it seemed to increase the risk of pancreatic, bladder, ovarian and pancreatic cancer.

While this confusion has not yet been entirely resolved, a large European study took a new look at coffee drinking and chronic diseases. Some 42,000+ Europeans were followed over a 4-year period. They were divided into 5 groups, ranging from those drinking less than a cup a day to those drinking more than 5 cups a day, caffeinated or not. The end result: Drinking coffee did not correlate with chronic disease. Even 5 or more cups of coffee a day did not increase the incidence of cardiovascular disease, stroke, or cancer. Caffeinated coffee, as an isolated factor, actually was associated with a reduced incidence of diabetes. “Despite a general belief that coffee may be harmful, the current study found no association between coffee consumption and the risk of chronic disease.” Great news for those of us who are reluctant to give up our coffee.

Other interesting facts also were uncovered and worth noting:

* While coffee itself does not correlate with chronic disease, coffee drinkers tend not to have healthy lifestyles: Coffee drinkers are often smokers, and smoking correlates strongly with chronic disease risk. While coffee drinking seems to reduce the incidence of type-2 diabetes, this only holds true in nonsmoking coffee drinkers. Coffee drinkers also tend to drink more alcohol. . .

* An earlier Italian study found a link between those drinking decaf and heart attacks. This study found a similar link. They speculated that those who have high blood pressure and other risk factors for heart disease my choose to drink decaf as a “healthier choice.”

* As you might suspect, coffee likely is not helpful for those suffering from insomnia, anxiety, or acid reflux.

* The study was done in Europe where most coffee is prepared using filters that remove diterpene compounds from coffee. Thus, espresso and French press coffee may not be comparable or as good for you.

* Finns drink a lot of coffee: The most in the world at about 26.2 pounds per person compared to the U.S. with a paltry 9.5 pounds per.

* Lastly, part of the benefit of coffee may be that we tend to drink it in a relaxed, social setting that is good for us.

This study pretty much supports my view: There are bigger problems in our diet than our coffee habit: “Current information suggests that coffee is not as bad as we were told.”

Photo: Untitled   by MipsyRetro

NOTE: You are welcome to use my blog’s original images and content for non-commercial purposes if you attribute the work to me (Kathy Abascal) and link back to the blog. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 United States License.


About kathyabascal

Herbalist with a background in neurobiology, biochemistry, and law. Teacher of the TQIDiet, how to quiet inflammation with food.
This entry was posted in antioxidants, chemicals, Food and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Feel Free to Enjoy Your Cup of Coffee.

  1. nan wilson says:

    yay. just what I wanted to hear about coffee!

  2. retiredlady04 says:

    Did you find any studies relating coffee (being acidic) to bone loss?

    • kathyabascal says:

      I recall seeing studies finding that the release of stress hormones contributes to bone loss. The reasoning is that caffeine triggers adrenalin and stress hormones, and hence bone loss. The question remains as to how well we habituate to the caffeine and to what extent it may trigger bone loss. I have not seen anything suggesting that coffee’s acidity affects our bones.

  3. Doris Fraser says:

    I read years ago that there was a connection between cysts in the breasts and methylzanthines (?sp.) in coffee? Have you any info on that?

  4. Elise says:

    I love coffee but had to cut back on even the good decaf because of anxiety issues. My anxiety is much better when I’m off of caffeine, even decaf has enough for me to feel, I still indulge on occasion and I savor every sip!

  5. My research has indicated that many who are sensitive or allergic to gluten are also sensitive (or allergic) to coffee. This reactivity keeps the gut inflamed. It is best to avoid coffee for at least 6 months and then test it and see what happens. A good substitute might be roasted dandelion root tea. It has that rich, warming taste, no caffeine and supports the liver.

    • kathyabascal says:

      I am aware that Dr. Perlmutter and the sensitivity testing lab he favors consider cross-reactions to coffee in gluten sensitive people to be common. In terms of research, I’ve found little reliable research connecting gluten or celiac with coffee. I also strongly suspect that our immune systems are fully capable of perceiving the difference between coffee and gluten, even if some lab tests do not. So my experience is quite different than yours and I find coffee sensitivities (as opposed to problems with roasted oils and caffeine) to be quite rare.

  6. Don Swickard says:

    Does decaf cause any problems because of the chemical(s) residue used to remove the caffeine?

    • kathyabascal says:

      The coffee roasters I’ve talked with say it does not because the roasting of the beans after decaffeination volatilizes the solvents. As a result, the toxins end up in the air not on the bean. As well, it is possible to get coffee decaffeinated using a water method.

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