23 Feb Is coffee good or bad for me?
There’s a lot of rumours floating around about coffee. Some say it can irritate your stomach, others that adding milk to it suddenly makes it good or bad for your health, and of course, there’s conflicting opinions about whether or not it increases or decreases your weight.
The reason why there’s so much misinformation about coffee is because until recently we weren’t really sure what the truth was. Here’s what we now know…
Metabolism and weight
Coffee is a stimulant. It activates your nervous system, which in turn activates fat metabolism to produce energy for your body. Considering most of us drink coffee sitting down, that energy doesn’t get utilized a lot, but that’s okay. Fat metabolism requires energy to work, so even if you don’t use any of the energy produces by it, you’ll still burn the calories used to activate it.
This mechanism can increase your metabolism by 3-11%, depending on your age, weight and coffee consumption. Younger age, lower fat mass, higher coffee consumption (with a limit of 5 cups/day) and drinking non-decaf coffee will increase your metabolism more.
Most of the available evidence points to coffee decreasing appetite. This is done through its stimulating effects and its ability to slow down carbohydrate absorption. However, this decrease is weak, mainly happens once you’ve already eaten something, and it doesn’t last long. Therefore, coffee is not a good way to control your appetite.
A recent study in the University of Harvard linked moderate coffee consumption to lower mortality from Type 2 Diabetes, cardiovascular problems, neurological conditions and even suicide.
Don’t ask me about the last one… There may not be a real causal relationship between coffee and suicide, and it’s not really nutrition related, so I’ll just leave this up to the experts. As far as all the other ones go, the dominant theory is that the natural antioxidants contained in coffee somehow help reduce mortality in some chronic conditions. Over the next few years, I expect more studies to show us just how that works.
Moderate coffee consumption was defines as: 3-5 cups per day. The most interesting part was that these positive effects were reported for both the people that drank normal coffee and those that drank decaf!
Milk and coffee aren’t some secret remedy, neither are they a deadly poison… There’s no conclusive evidence to show that their combination causes any positive or negative effects. One of the reasons you might feel some discomfort when you drink them together is because one of them, or both, may be irritating your stomach. Try them separately to see which one it is. If neither is bothering you, then both may be slightly irritating your stomach, but not enough for you to notice, and when you combine them, their combined effects become felt.
What to watch out for?
- Your body will progressively get used to coffee, and its effects will wane. Give yourself a 1-2 week break in which you stop coffe, switch to decaf or drink tea.
- If you’re having Εάν έχετε πρόβλημα stomach problems, avoid coffee altogether.
- Watch out for sugar and milk. Use less sugar/ sweeteners and skimmed milk.
- Avoid big coffees with cream, chocolate, caramel etc. from large coffee chains. They’re tasty, but the calories in them are not worth it! .
- Coffee can cause insomnia and irritability, both of which incrase your foor consumption!
Photo by Julius Schorzman – Own work, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=107645