These days, there are lots of articles in the media on yet another disease that drinking coffee is supposed to protect you from. The coffee industry has funded many analyses of the diet of large groups of people, called “epidemiological” studies, to show that people who drink lots of coffee have lower incidence of various diseases. This type of study doesn’t prove that coffee drinking is the cause of the lower incidence of disease, it just shows an association.
Then along came the Dr. Oz show last March where he recommended Teeccino for too much caffeine.
Too much caffeine? Oh yeah! It finally dawned on the media that maybe there was another side to the story.
Fortunately, Mark Hyman, M.D. had just published his best selling book, The Blood Sugar Solution, and in it he recommends getting off of coffee to keep your blood sugar stable. Now, the media found a spokesperson for the other side of the story.
The Huffington Post decided to host the debate and recruited Dr. Hyman to speak about the cons of drinking coffee. They selected their wellness editor, Dr. Patricia Fitzgerald, a naturopath, to speak about the pros of drinking coffee.
Wait a second! The medical doctor was speaking against coffee and the naturopath was speaking for coffee???
It turns out that Dr. Hyman’s argument was more persuasive because 9% more voters disagreed with the statement that “coffee is a health food” after reading both their arguments. But in the end, more people voted for as opposed to against the statement, which goes to show how many coffee drinkers want to keep their habit intact, thank you very much!
Then the “coffee is a health food” stampede captured another prominent convert. Dr. Mercola, a widely followed doctor giving natural health advice online, changed his long-held position against coffee to recommend drinking it only black and organic. Say what? No milk or non-dairy alternatives in your coffee? His readers weren’t too enthusiastic about that.
I had the most fun reading the comments by all the coffee and non-coffee drinkers on both the Huffington Post and Dr. Mercola debates. Here’s what seems true across the board. Those people who have trouble tolerating coffee, whether for its caffeine content or its high acidity, know who they are!
I long ago gave up trying to convince coffee drinkers that there are healthier hot beverages to enjoy besides coffee. My recommendation is like Dr. Hyman’s. Take a drug-free holiday from caffeine for at least a couple of months and see how your body responds. If you can drink coffee without problem, good for you! Keep watch as you body ages though, because your tolerance for coffee can change sometimes quite dramatically.
What I don’t respect, however, is when the media doesn’t acknowledge the other side of the story. I posted on both these debates the list of diseases or conditions for which coffee is detrimental and may even be part of their cause.
Millions and millions of people suffer from these conditions. Many take drugs to cover up the symptoms instead of listening to their body and making healthy lifestyle changes to improve their health.
Here’s the list of conditions that scientific studies show (and Teeccino drinkers testify) are aggravated or exacerbated by coffee drinking:
- Heart conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high homocysteine, and tachycardia (rapid heart beats)
- Acid Reflux and GERD
- Inflammatory bowel conditions like IBS and Crohn’s
- Interstitial cystitis
- Enlarged prostates (BPH)
- Insomnia and fatigue
- Meniere’s disease
- Fibrocystic breasts
- PMS, fibroids, hot flashes and other women’s conditions affected by hormones
- Stress and depression
- Skin rashes
- Muscle tension
Of course, pregnant and nursing mothers shouldn’t have caffeine because the liver of a fetus and young baby (up to 9 months old) are not capable of detoxifying caffeine properly.
Additionally, even if your central nervous system isn’t sensitive to caffeine, you may have the slow version of the gene in the liver that is responsible for detoxifying caffeine. If you are a slow metabolizer (and there is no way to tell other than by a gene test), and you are under the age of 59, drinking more than 1 cup of coffee a day can increase your risk for heart attack by 24%. If you drink 2 – 3 cups a day, your risk goes up 67%, and at 4 or more cups per day it increases 133%. This data is from a study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
After listening to Teeccino drinkers for so many years, I just had to make a contribution to this debate! Now I’d like to hear from you.
What’s your opinion about whether or not coffee is a health food?