Monday, March 31, 2014

Caffeine Buzz

There has been quite a bit of talk about caffeine in the news lately...Is it good or bad for you?  Here are what the recent (and not-so-recent) studies are showing.  Do keep in mind that some of these claims still need to be studied further.

Negatives:
Positives:

And no, coffee does not increase risk of cardiovascular disease or cancer as once thought.  These myths have been debunked.  Also to note, coffee itself, independent of its caffeine content, has been studied for its own health benefits and has been found to be quite high in certain antioxidants. 

So, it is for you to decide - do the benefits outweigh the risks in your particular situation?  For most, they may.  Personally, I have chosen the moderation rule - consuming enough to reap the potential benefits, but not enough to pose a huge threat to my health.  Common advice taken from both the positives and negative studies indicate that 1-2 cups per day is the "magic balance."*  Keep in mind, most of the positives still have a lot of studies to undergo.  In other words, do not count on your coffee habit to prevent diabetes or liver cancer, though one thing is for sure (at least for me); You can still count on it to give you that energy boost in the morning. 

For more reading on this topic, check out the International Food Information Council's report - "Caffeine and Health:  Clarifying the Controversies." 

*The studies on estrogen levels in women and caffeine are quite new.  I was unable to find a specific "recommendation" anywhere in my research on what measures should be taken as a result.  All reports seem to acknowledge that further research is needed.  

Photo courtesy:  Umer Shabib