I am asked almost daily by patients if they have to give up their beloved coffee in the morning. Caffeine consumption is a routine question I review during a visit along with amount of water, juice, and alcohol. Oddly, nobody has any problems telling me they ‘don’t drink enough’ when it comes to water, however coffee is a different story. I can tell the liars when they say “one or two” while looking down at their shoes, in a mad attempt at covering up their secret treat.
Being a pretty smart woman, I also know the difference between one cup of an 8 ounce mug versus your one cup of a big honkin’ huge morning brew mug that holds a gallon…either way patients always say, “Just one cup.” As an FYI, I always clarify what you mean.
But fear not! I’m not here to take away your coffee as it’s not the beans themselves I have concerns with – it’s the heaps of sugar, artificial sweetener, syrup, whip, creamer, and more that you pile in that ‘one’ cup.
Although it is true that the initial caffeine can increase blood pressure and amp up your sympathetic nervous system, long term habitual coffee drinkers tend not to have this problem as they develop a tolerance. In fact, more research is showing that coffee might be good for you.
In the February 16, 2009 edition of Circulation, researchers showed that drinking coffee could actually lower a women’s risk for stroke. In March of 2009, it was published that coffee may help against type II diabetes. Finally, in May of 2009, women who drank coffee had less coronary calcification build-up in their arteries.
Yet some scientists are still on the fence. Some studies show a positive correlation between coffee and myocardial infarction (heart attack) while others show no change or an inverse relationship meaning that coffee might actually benefit you. But who knows for certain?
Overall, it appears that moderate coffee consumption (4 or less 8 ounce cups/day) does not pose a risk to cardiovascular disease but more research is necessary. So, should you give it up? Not quite, but remember it’s the coffee beans that are potentially protective, not the sugar or artificial creamer dumped inside.