Coffee Talk: The Benefits and The Downfalls

Between the ritualistic morning cup and the afternoon pick-me-up order, it’s clear that coffee is a necessity for many to stay focused, attentive—and maybe even awake? Unlike other diet marvels, like sugar substitutes, scientific research continues to prove the benefits of coffee on the mind and body.

Let’s count the ways…

1. Caffeine

The average cup of coffee has 95 milligrams of caffeine. This is more than twice the amount found in green tea. The benefit of caffeine is obvious—it provides that jolt when you need it most whether it’s right out of bed or before your first conference call. Caffeine can also help ease migraine symptoms.

2. Type 2 Diabetes

Studies have shown that moderate consumption of coffee, whether caffeinated or decaffeinated, may lower the risk of type 2 diabetes. If you need a reason to reach for that seventh (!) cup of coffee, one study even found that seven or more cups decreased the health risk by half. The reason for the correlation is still being studied but it’s not due to the caffeine. One report notes that coffee partly inhibits postprandial hyperglycemia and thus protects the body from the disease.

3. Heart Health

If you want even more encouragement to amp up the coffee consumption, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that drinking six or more cups a day reduced the risk of early death relating to heart disease and stroke—10 percent for men and 15 percent for women. The caffeine in coffee helps increase the body’s blood flow.

4. Depression

Feeling like coffee boosts your mood may not be all in your head. A study from the Harvard School of Public Health found that women who drink caffeinated coffee have a 20 percent lower risk of depression. The researchers studied 50,739 participants.

With all these reported benefits, it makes sense to let the low-calorie beverage have a role in your life. It’s important to note, however, that this doesn’t mean a free-for-all when it comes to Frappuccinos and other high-sugar forms of the beverage. Those are still not good for you. Here are a few coffee diet killers to keep in mind the next time you order up.

  • Artificial Flavors: Many companies use fake ingredients to give you the flavor your want without all the calories. Opt for a sugar packet and coconut milk if you want to make your usual cup a bit more rich and flavorful.
  • Whipped Cream: The frosty, mocha concoction that has just been placed on the counter has a lot of added ingredients that outweigh the coffee’s benefits. For example, whipped cream is a sugar-filled topping that carries with it no nutritional value. Avoid adding it on top and you’ll save yourself up to 110 calories and 11 grams of fat.
  • Sugar: As a kid, you may have sneaked a cup of coffee and dumped multiple sugar packed in before stirring. Well, it’s time for your palate to mature. Slowly cut back on the amount of sugar and soon your taste buds will be adjusted enough to enjoy the robust flavor of coffee without the added sweetness. The fun then becomes trying different types of coffee and learning which you prefer.

 

Author: Allison Klibanoff