If you Google "coffee + health" and click on a random result, there's about a 50/50 chance you'll be told it's either good or bad for you. For some it's a magic bullet that aids weight loss and helps prevent disease, while for others it's a harmful vice that will ruin your body. So it's understandable that there's a lot of confusion about whether you should or shouldn't be having your beloved morning cup of Joe.
The trouble is, both sides of the argument claim to have the backing of scientific research. So what's the truth — is coffee good or bad for you? Let's find out by taking a look at three of the biggest claims:
1. Coffee Is Addictive
This is true to some extent, but not to the point where it would cause you the same problems as, say, alcohol or heroin. It all hinges on whether there's some form of chemical dependence there, or whether people just drink coffee out of habit. In some cases, long-term users who attempt to give up coffee may experience withdrawal symptoms such as headache and lethargy, which might compel them to keep drinking the stuff. But this research says that coffee simply doesn't fit the criteria to be labelled an addictive substance.
2. Coffee Can Help With Weight Loss
This one isn't exactly cut and dry. Sure, there's plenty of evidence that caffeine consumption temporarily boosts thermogenesis (metabolism), and studies like this one show that it can increase fat burning by as much as 10-29 percent. Plus, the nervous energy you get from coffee means you'll be more likely to drag your bum off the couch and get some exercise.
But — and this is a BIG but — caffeine's stimulatory effects also raise your blood glucose levels, which is something you definitely DON'T want if you're trying to lose weight. And too much of it can cause insomnia, anxiety, adrenal fatigue and a range of other nasty side-effects. You have been warned.
3. Coffee Causes Cancer and Other Diseases
This is almost certainly myth. In fact, there's mounting evidence that shows coffee can actually help improve or protect against conditions like type 2 diabetes, liver cancer and Parkinson's disease. The misconception about coffee and disease probably comes from the fact that previous research neglected to take associated high-risk behaviours like smoking and lack of physical activity into account, but we know better now. Too much coffee will certainly lead to negative side effects, but life-threatening diseases? Nope.
So what's the verdict then — is coffee good or bad for you? It will definitely impact your health one way or the other, so it's important to figure out where you stand on it. One thing we can agree on right off the bat is that too much coffee is definitely a bad thing, so limit your consumption to no more than 2 cups a day.
If you're currently attempting to lose weight, however, we recommend moderating even further or avoiding coffee altogether due to its effects on blood sugar levels. Besides, there are far more effective measures you can take to help shift a few pounds, such as cleaning up your diet or upping your exercise.
Want more advice on the best nutrition for your health? Request a free consultation here at our Personal Training Studio in Ranelagh and we'll steer you in the right direction.