If you’re like me, you cannot go a single day without your coffee. People like us look forward to their very first cup of coffee as soon as they wake up in the morning. In short: we cannot function without it. We’d be groggy in the office and have no energy to get through the day.
Those who make coffee a daily ritual, the people who crowd Starbucks in the morning or carefully brew their pot of joe at dawn have caught the attention of the scientific community. I mean if millions of people are drinking this stuff daily, we should probably know if it’s good for us, right?
The scientific community, hundreds of researchers in fact, have spent the time to look into the effects of coffee on the human body.
The short answer to their research is: no, coffee is not bad for you, as long as you consume within moderation. Much like anything else, too much of a good thing becomes a bad thing. If you want to learn more about these potential negatives to excessive coffee consumption, keep reading.
But first of all, let’s get the no-brainers out of the way. There are well-known effects of coffee that you’ve likely heard before and they will not be the main focus of this article. We want to clear up those misconceptions and wives-tales that you aren’t too sure about.
Some No Brainer Effects of Coffee
- Coffee is a Stimulant: This is the most well-known effect of coffee. Honestly, it’s why most people drink it, unless you’re my mother and grandmother who simply enjoy the taste of black coffee. The caffeine content in coffee serves as an energizer to the peripheral nervous system (this includes the nerves that aid in digestion, blood pressure regulation, and respiration)
- The Jitters: One caveat effect of potentially too much coffee (really too much caffeine) is the jitters, or shaking of the extremities due to caffeine consumption
- Yellowed Teeth: It’s a shame coffee can yellow your teeth. This is why many people opt to drink iced coffee with a straw
Now that that’s out of the way… We believe that attending to the worries and concerns, or just the pure curiosity of our coffee drinking readers will not only leave you all more knowledgeable, but also more likely to value and enjoy your next cup of joe.
With that being said, let’s dive in!
Using Coffee to Suppress Appetite
Many people believe that coffee can act as an appetite suppressant. Many communities that preach lifestyle and dieting philosophies such as intermittent fasting (eating all your calories within a certain window of time in a day) recommend coffee to help with controlling hunger.
Controlling your hunger is helpful in fighting obesity, or for anyone who has a hard time controlling food portions. Lifestyle choices like intermittent fasting are often used to facilitate weight loss.
In terms of appetite suppressing, one study concluded that it was actually decaffeinated coffee that lead to suppressed levels of hunger.
This is because decaffeinated coffee leads to higher levels of PYY, a plasma that can lower hunger levels
The participants of this study also experienced this decreased hunger for up to 3 hours after the lab visit, which is a significant amount of time to not feel any hunger. So, while it’s not necessarily the caffeine in coffee that will reduce hunger, a cup of decaf may do the trick.
Coffee Speeds Up Your Metabolism
On a similar weight loss note, some people believe that coffee can speed up your metabolism as well.
A faster metabolism means that more calories are burned throughout the day, which would therefore induce a loss in weight.
This study found that coffee, specifically caffeinated coffee, can increase one’s metabolism between 3-11% for around 3 hours. This effect is referred to as caffeine induced thermogenesis.
It’s concluded that both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee have positive weight loss characteristics. It’s important to note that loading your coffee full of sugars and additives (like whipped cream, milk, and caramel to name a few) will significantly increase the caloric content of that coffee and possibly negate the positive weight loss benefits that a cup of joe contains.
A cup of black coffee, caffeinated or decaffeinated contains 0-2 calories.
So, to get the optimal weight loss benefits from coffee, make sure to drink it black.
Coffee Makes You Pee More (But Doesn’t Dehydrate You)
The technical term for something that makes you pee more is a diuretic.
Those who drink coffee regularly may experience a frequent need to pee. For one, coffee is a liquid so it’s obvious that you’d have to go more after ingesting liquids. This happens with any liquid ingested. But coffee specifically has also been shown to be a diuretic.
And while some people have previously thought that coffee can have a dehydrating effect, that has been shown to not be true.
Coffee Does NOT Cause Pancreatic Cancer (among other things)
We included this because the scientific community isn’t perfect. Back in 1981, a study was published that linked drinking coffee to an enhancement of pancreatic cancer cells. This study is likely a reason why coffee doesn’t have the best reputation among some people. These dated notions of coffee are not true, and coffee actually may be beneficial for similar bodily functions such as digestive health.
This study has since been discredited, and many more have come out in the past 40 years to state the opposite of the 1981 version.
The above article actually states that hot beverages such as coffee may help with someone’s fight with pancreatic cancer, because they aid in digestion. But while this may be the case, it’s important for patients to be wary about the additives in coffee that contain large amounts of sugar.
It’s also important to note that various other dated studies that accused coffee of contributing to bladder cancer and gallbladder ailments have since been discredited as well.
Coffee Can Help with Certain Conditions
Several research studies found small benefits by using coffee in the treatment of bronchial asthma as it has been shown to dilate one’s airways.
These research studies actually even went as far as to highly recommend that coffee intake be completely avoided just before breathing examinations so as not to decrease the breathing issues that the tests were meant to identify.
Also, during the Experimental Biology 2007, an American Society for Nutrition’s yearly seminar, analysis specialists evaluated evidence that intermediate intake of coffee, state 3 to 5 mugs per day, could minimize the threat of diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, kidney rocks, gallstones, and anxiety.