Is coffee bad for you?
Apparently, in the UK alone coffee consumption has soared to 95 million cups a day in 2018, according to the figures released by the British Coffee Association.
So, if it tastes so good, is coffee really bad for you?
As much as you want me to say ‘NO’… the real answer is… it depends!
There is a lot of conflicting evidence showed by multiple studies, so let’s try to make some clarity.
Coffee has been linked to various beneficial effects on health in some studies (see below) including lower risk of cancer, obesity, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and heart disease according to Functional Medicine Dr. Chris Kresser.
Coffee beans have great antioxidant properties hence possibly the cancer protective correlation, and as most of us know, caffeine is both a physical and brain performance enhancer (which can be very handy at times).
However, this is where it gets tricky!
1.Genetically, humans metabolise caffeine differently according to which variant of the CYP1A2 gene we appear to have. 50% of the population seems to have a variant that impairs coffee metabolism and slows down this process. If you are a ‘slow coffee metaboliser’, chances are you will have trouble sleeping and relaxing at night if you drink coffee after 1-2pm. So, be mindful of this and reduce your consumption of caffeine in the afternoon (if not completely avoid it).
2.Caffeine seems to worsen cases of anxiety in some people and possibly if drank in higher quantities.
3.Caffeine is addictive. As mentioned, it can be a real brain boost and most people abuse this power! If you reach out to a cup of coffee every 2 hours because you NEED to feel better, that’s an issue that needs to be addressed.
4.Caffeine (including teas and cacao) can also inhibit the absorption of certain vitamins and minerals such as iron, magnesium, calcium, so a good idea would be to have it away from meals.
As you can see, it’s very hard to give a definite answer on coffee being bad or good, as humans can be SO different from each other. When it comes to health, we need to consider many aspects including not only genes but also gut microbiome, epigenetics, lifestyle choices, diet and more. This will all affect your response to specific foods and drinks.
When choosing your coffee, other few factors I’d invite you to consider are:
QUALITY: Where do you get your coffee from? What’s its quality (organic, fair trade)? How is it processed and extracted?
QUANTITY: How many coffees do you have in a day? And how intense are they (espresso VS filtered coffee)?
ADDITIONS: Do you add any sugar? Any milk?
Again, ask yourself if you really need anything else to go with your coffee.
In case you’d like to read more, here are a few interesting articles on the studies here:
Roberta is a qualified Nutritional Therapist & Women's health specialist. With a deep passion for hormonal health, Roberta loves empowering busy women to regain vitality through nutrition and lifestyle changes. She created iBelieveInGinger.com after successfully reversing her symptoms of PCOS, debilitating periods, PMS, and gut imbalance to inspire other people to live healthier and more productive lives. Roberta Fusco, Nutrition Therapist, mANP, mBANT @ibelieveinginger