Is Coffee Bad for You?

Since coffee one of the most commonly consumed beverage in the world, it's no surprise that several tests have been conducted and expanded upon in the last few years. As scientific studies become more precise, we adapt by weeding out all of the misinformation. Is coffee bad for you?


Firstly, it's important that we're talking about the same beverage. In this article, "coffee" refers to itself in the truest form- not diluted by additives such as cream and sugar. To put it into perspective, black coffee has zero calories. Coffee with cream and sugar is high in calories, fat, and sugar. This type of drink is not very healthy, even before considering the potential risks of the coffee itself. 


"For one thing, coffee drinking is correlated with other dietary and lifestyle behaviours such as alcohol and nicotine consumption and a sedentary lifestyle. In other words, people who drink a lot of coffee also tend to drink and smoke, and be out of shape.

On the other hand, people who avoid coffee often do so for health-related reasons. They’re also more likely to be health-conscious in other ways, making health-promoting lifestyle choices such as exercise. Comparing coffee drinkers with non-coffee drinkers thus misses a number of important variables."


Since coffee is made up of several different compounds, and each compound behaves differently in the body, blanketing coffee as "good" or "bad" just doesn't make sense. Instead, let's go through some of the positive and negative effects.


Weight Loss

Caffeine in coffee tricks you in to thinking that you’re not hungry, which can be dangerous for some people. However, people trying to lose weight might find this helpful.


Problems Sleeping

To put it simply, caffeine blocks the receptors in your brain that tell you you're getting tired. For most people, this is a benefit. Obviously, if you're losing sleep completely because of your caffeine intake, you might want to slow down. 


High Blood Pressure

Although there are no recorded effects on long-term blood pressure of those acclimated to caffeine, people with high blood pressure should limit their caffeine intake to 200 mg a day.

"To see if caffeine might be raising your blood pressure, check your blood pressure within 30 to 120 minutes of drinking a cup of coffee or another caffeinated beverage. If your blood pressure increases by five to 10 points, you may be sensitive to the blood pressure raising effects of caffeine. If you plan to cut back on caffeine, do so gradually over several days to a week to avoid withdrawal headaches." - MayoClinic

Pregnancy Issues

There is still much debate about whether or not coffee is bad for pregnant women. We do know that the caffeine does reach the fetus, and that the fetus is very sensitive to caffeine. Most doctors recomend pregnant women to limit their intake to one cup of coffee a day. 


Mental Effects

Coffee increases the receptors of GABA (alertness), acetylcholine and seretonin (happiness). One study suggests that those who drank 2-4 cups of coffee a day had a decreased suicide risk by up to 50%. On the other hand, there can be withdrawal symptoms such as headache and a depressed mood. Basically, coffee makes you feel great, but a dependency can make it tough to go without it.


In summary: Coffee can be perceived as "good" or "bad" depending on what you're looking for. It is neither a killer or miracle drug. As they say, "everything in moderation". 


Sources: Precision Nutrition, TIME, Harvard, Live Science, The Blaze



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