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To Coffee or Not To Coffee?

Posted May 21 2010 1:00pm

onthepage asked: What is your take on coffee &, with all the different types of coffee drinks, which should I avoid like the plague & which should I indulge in? Are there any healthy coffee drinks?

I wrote about this a long time ago, but because I know a lot of you are just joining Your Nutritionista (welcome!), I’ll repost my answer now!

I’ve written about coffee before , but like alcohol, it’s a topic that just keeps coming up. Also like alcohol, coffee is controversial from a health and weight loss perspective. Mary says the ladies at Skinny Bitch (I don’t know a lot about them, but I don’t think we agree on very much) take a strong stance against coffee because because they argue it causes fat retention.  Well, I’m going to give you both sides of the story and then tell you my thoughts.

The Good

  • Harvard researchers found that people who drink one to three cups of coffee daily can reduce diabetes risk.
  • At least six studies indicate that people who drink coffee on a regular basis are up to 80% less likely to develop Parkinson’s.
  • Caffeine has been  proven to boost athletic endurance and performance. Some people claim this helps weight loss efforts since better endurance/performance = more calorie burn.
  • Studies have shown that coffee might contain anti-cancer properties.

The Bad

  • Coffee is associated with elevated blood pressure.
  • The body’s natural reaction to coffee is to produce extra insulin which does slow the burning of stored fat (so the Skinny Bitches just might be onto something…).
  • If the caffeine in coffee disrupts your sleep schedule, your eating patterns can get out of whack causing weight gain.
  • It’s addictive! Whether you’re trying to lose or maintain weight, eating or drinking anything in abundance is not the best idea.

The Ugly

  • Coffee can easily become a very high-calorie beverage. The hard truth is that not too many people drink their coffee black. So what? Well, very few things you can add to coffee is great for you. Sugar? Nope. Artificial sweetener or creamer? Nope. Caramel or chocolate sauce? Nope. Plain cream or whole milk are your best bets, but most people don’t stop there.

Bottom Line 

Are you starting to see a pattern here? Many controversial foods have both good and bad effects on the body, so the only thing you can do is consume them in MODERATION. Here are some helpful guidelines to keep your coffee habit from slowing your weight loss or health goals:

Personally, I don’t drink coffee very often because I’m super sensitive to caffeine. But I love tea!

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