Coffee: Revitalizer or Bone destructor?

22nd March 2016

Photo by Nolan Issac

Photo by Nolan Issac

What are the pros and cons of drinking coffee regularly?

  1. Pro: It decreases the risk of type-2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease.
  2. Pro: It increases productivity and antioxidant levels.
  3. Con: It’s highly addictive with sever withdrawal symptoms.
  4. Con: The usual condiments in coffee lead to weight gain.
  5. Con: It increases cholesterol levels and risk of dehydration and osteoporosis.

What keeps majority of employees buzzing like busy bees? The answer is fairly obvious – coffee. It is the most basic pick-me-up for people in the workforce and even students. Whether it be at the pantry or at an event with corporate catering, coffee is the one beverage that people are sure to look for.

How Popular is Coffee?

Coffee, as we all know by now, is a caffeinated beverage that is, essentially, an energy booster. People enjoy drinking because it gives them the energy they need to get motivated at the start of a day. At the same time, it’s soothing and relaxing, which makes it a great drink for afternoon bonding with a friend. People enjoy chilled, piping hot, or what have you. Truly, it has become a staple in everyday life.

According to ScienceDirect.com, at least 85% of the population of the United States of America consume one glass of caffeine a day. (Mitchell, Knight, Hockenberry, Teplansky, & Hartman, 2013). Based on this, a huge number of people drink coffee United States alone. Bet you didn’t know that! It makes you wonder what the statistic is worldwide.

Based on the above statistics, a lot of people drink coffee in the United States alone. The question now is this: how good, or bad, is coffee for you?

The Good

Reduced Risk of Diabetes

According to the journal of the American Medical Association, people who consume more than 3 servings of coffee daily decreases their risk of type-2 diabetes by a significantly (van Dam & Hu, 2005). In fact, this risk is shown to reduce by 7% with every cup of coffee added daily.  Research also shows that people’s preferences with coffee, whether caffeinated or not, did not affect the chances of decreasing their risk of type-2 diabetes.

Reduced Parkinson’s Risk

Another benefit of drinking two to three cups of coffee daily is added protection from Parkinson’s disease. Such daily consumption of coffee can decrease the risk of the said disease by as much as 25%.

An Effective Antioxidant

Another positive aspect of coffee is that it is scientifically proven to be an effective antioxidant, kind of like tea. Coffee beans contain a significant amount of phytochemicals which are proven be effective antioxidants. Antioxidants are substances or elements similar to vitamin E or vitamin C that eliminates potentially damaging oxidizing agents in a biological organism.

Reduced Alzheimer’s Risk

Although it has yet to be identified, there is a mystery ingredient in coffee that is currently being studied. The current research shows that this ingredient X, when combined with coffee, can increase G-CFS levels. For those that don’t know, G-CFS means Granulocyte-Colony Stimulating Factor. When this has high levels in the human body, it gains an increased ability to prevent Alzheimer’s disease. This relation between ingredient X and G-FCS has, so far, been tested with positive results on laboratory mice. In humans, so far, G-FCS level can be seen rising when one consumes four to five cups of coffee daily.

Increased Productivity

Research has also shown that people who drink coffee in the morning manage to retain more information as well as learn new concepts faster throughout the day, as opposed to those who do not. In other words, coffee allows its drinkers to improve their cognitive functions in terms of working memory and continuous attention.

Photo by Cathryn Lavery

Photo by Cathryn Lavery

The Bad

Increased Cholesterol Levels

Unfiltered coffee, such as espressos and lattes, have been shown to increase cholesterol levels. Luckily, filtered coffee doesn’t do this. This is because when you use a filter for brewing your coffee, you only you remove two substances the increase cholesterol: kahweol and cafestol. Thus, doing so is healthier for you.

However, some evidence points toward decaffeinated coffee as another cause for rising cholesterol levels. More research needs to be conducted when

Weight Gain

Coffee itself isn’t associated with weight gain, but the usual condiments added to it are. These usual suspects are sugar, milk, and cream, which make any coffee drink delicious. If you are looking to lose weight, but still have coffee in your diet, then you should either significantly lessen these condiments or not use them at all (e.g. black coffee). This is strongly recommended for those who have weight loss diets that their life depends on.

Addiction

Caffeine is highly addictive, especially when consumed every day. When one has coffee daily and stops this routine all of a sudden, he can experience severe withdrawals. These can be any of the following:

  1. Fatigue
  2. Irritability
  3. Headaches
  4. Jitters
  5. Insomnia
  6. Mood swings

Decaffeinated coffee drinkers aren’t safe from this as well. Even if their coffee of choice only has small amounts of caffeine, they can still get addicted to it.

A big factor as to why it is so addictive is because it triggers the brains to release large amounts of dopamine. This is an organic chemical that makes people feel pleasure and it causes the “buzz” that coffee drinkers always crave for.

Increased Osteoporosis Risk

Coffee, however, has also been proven to increase the risk of osteoporosis and osteoporotic fracture. This is due to the fact that it causes the human body to excrete calcium along with waste while urinating. The loss of calcium in the body can lead to the bones deteriorating to the point of developing osteoporosis.

Dehydration

In addition, coffee has also been proven to dehydrate people who regularly drink it, leading to wrinkles and other dermatological imperfections. Therefore, coffee drinkers are advised to drink a glass of water per cup of coffee that they consume at any given time to compensate.

Key Takeaway

All in all, those who regularly drink coffee may keep doing so if you take into account the cons. Like all good things, coffee must be taken in moderation and coupled with plain water, and to consume non-dairy food that are high in calcium. This is the best way to ensure that you can reap the benefits without putting yourself at too much risk for the disadvantages.

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