Coffee: Good or Bad?

by in Healthy Tips, October 22, 2009

coffee cup
Americans down 400 million cups of coffee every day. In Italy, people sip 14 billion espressos every year. But the coffee-guzzling king is Finland, where residents drink more coffee than anywhere else in the world.  Clearly, coffee is one of our favorite beverages, but is it good or bad?

The Good
Okay, so here are coffee’s positive points:

Low cal: The black stuff is virtually calorie-free.

Full of antioxidants: Coffee — decaf and caffeinated — contains a staggering amount of good cell-protecting antioxidants. (But don’t think your morning java means you can skip other potent sources such as fruits and veggies!)

Other health benefits: Because its so popular, researchers have investigated this brown brew a lot. Some new research suggests drinking coffee may decrease your risk of type 2 diabetes, dementia and Parkinson’s disease.

The Bad
Now here are the negatives to keep in mind:

Caffeine overload: Too much caffeine can affect your blood pressure, heart function, anxiety and give you an upset stomach. Sure, it helps perk you up, but don’t confuse that with giving you energy (only calories from food can do that). Caffeine also interferes with our calcium absorption, which can negatively affect long-term bone health.

Sugary, fatty add-ins: Some gourmet coffees and lattes tip the scales at more than 400 calories thanks to the extra fat and sugar. Adding a small amount of sugar or milk (even half and half) is fine — just pay attention to portions and how many cups you’re drinking a day.

Pricey perk: Those same dress-up coffees can also drain your wallet. Stop and add up the cash you spend on daily coffee runs — you might be able to make an extra car payment. To save, make your cup of Joe at home or the office.

Bottom Line: There’s no clear-cut right side of the coffee debate. If you’re not currently a coffee drinker, there’s no need to adopt the habit — you can get its antioxidants and health benefits from other foods. If you’re a drinker, stick to a moderate amount (1 to 2 cups a day) to reap some of the benefits.

TELL US: How much coffee do you drink each day?

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Comments (16)

  1. I always drink decaffeinated, fair trade and organic when possible, and I have it black with stevia. I like to brew my own most of the time to save cost. With all that eliminating the bad, I probably drink coffee more than water

  2. Teresa says:

    Both me and my husband like our coffee.We make our own "HALF CAF" by mixing regular and decaf beans togther. I have gotten myself down to 1 cup per day. My husband has cut back quite a bit from the ridiculous amount he used to have.

  3. A. R. says:

    Here is what I think: I have heard from numerous doctors that drinking one – two 8 oz. (one cup) of coffee each day can really lower your chances for dementia–as mentioned in the article from 'Healthy Eats.' Like the old saying: "One apple a day keeps the doctor away" my new 'famous' quote is: "drinking one – two cups of coffee each day is pretty healthy – why NOT drink it?" Unless, however, you don't like it… But, if doctors are recommending it, I don't see why you wouldn't listen to them!

  4. magnesium says:

    According to me drink coffee 2 times a day is good but too much coffee is harmful for you health.You have given really nice information about coffee.Thank you very much for sharing this with us.

  5. L.D. says:

    I love flavored coffee (we grind our own flavored beans). I drink no more than 2 cups per day if that much. I would drink more hot tea, but it doesn't seem that a cup of hot tea stays hot as long as a cup of coffee. My imagination? Perhaps. Anyone know of any research to either substantiate or disprove my
    unscientific theory?

  6. Connie says:

    My folks always said coffee helped them stay "regular". True or false?

  7. Nina says:

    Although I love coffee, my husband wants me to stop drinking it, and rightfully so. It absorbs MOST nutrients, and flushes the protein intake of food right out of you (you will notice if you have coffee with your eggs in the morning). I still love it, but haven't had it in a while. If you are looking to wean yourself off, try mixing it half with Teccino, an herbal coffee. It has the same feel as if you were to drink coffee in the morning, you will eventually just drink teccino. Plus instead of the caffeine boost, you get a kick from potassium.

  8. grossesse says:

    I like to drink coffee so much. I love it !!! I always drink coffee. When I am drinking coffee that time I feeling fresh myself and very enjoy!!!

  9. A.R. says:

    Actually, it is funny: some studies show that people who drink 6 or more cups of coffee decrease their chances of type 2 diabetes. Men: by 54%; Women: by 30%. That's a lot. Also, I read that if you at least drink 2-cups of regular coffee per day, you're healthier than someone who doesn't drink coffee at all. Just something interesting to think about!

  10. Coffee Lover says:

    There is conflicting data. Coffee has been found to have anti-oxidants and also have a insulin-regulating effect. Those things are good! However, in excess, the caffine in coffee (and other drinks) is bad for you. Also, if you load your coffee with sugar – it can be bad too. So, drink in moderation and its great. Overdo it and its not so great.

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