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Myth: Coffee is bad for you

TRUTH: Coffee itself is not bad.   It’s when you start adding cream, sugar, or having 4 cups a day that it becomes a problem.  Cream, sugar, artificial creamers, et al add sugar, fat, and preservatives.  In that sense, coffee drinks may sometimes contribute to excessive sugar or fat consumption – but the coffee itself is not the culprit.

Now, portion sizing.  Let’s talk about what 1 cup of coffee is not.  It’s not a large Dunkin Donuts iced mocha.  It’s not a Starbucks frappucino.  It’s a single cup (8 ounces) of water brewed with ground coffee beans.  Most coffee mugs are larger than 8 ounces, so it’s likely that your standard mug is more than 1 cup. A standard cup of brewed coffee has anywhere from 95-200mg of caffeine per cup.

And, best of all, it has health benefits! Contrary to popular belief, coffee isn’t linked to cancer or heart disease.  Caffeine has been shown to have a protective effect against Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases because it stimulates the brain. It also helps prevent type 2 diabetes and contains a lot of antioxidants and minerals.  Everything, in moderation…

BOTTOM LINE: A moderate intake of coffee, about 2-4 cups (or 200-300 mg of caffeine) daily is safe and probably won’t have any negative effects.  Aside, of course, from a slight and temporary raise in blood pressure and heart rate, as caffeine is a stimulant.  However, if you drink more than 4 cups, are particularly sensitive to caffeine, or have certain medical conditions, you should limit your intake.

Heavy caffeine use (more than 4 cups or 600mg daily) may interrupt sleep patterns, cause anxiety or nervousness, or make you jittery.  These effects should be expected (remember, it is a stimulant).

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

  1. Harvard Health Watch: Coffee Health Risks: For the moderate drinker, coffee is safe
  2. Mayo Clinic: Caffeine: How much is too much? 

 

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