True or False: Coffee is bad and should be avoided.
Written by Desireeh Chevere | Reviewed by Melissa Sirolli MS, RDN, CDN
Good news for coffee lovers, this is false! Coffee has been consumed for generations and can provide us with great health benefits when consumed in moderation. Research shows that coffee drinkers reduce their risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes, certain cancers, heart rhythm problems, and strokes. One reason that coffee has this effect on people is that it contains antioxidants.
Antioxidants are substances that may prevent or delay cell damage in your body. Researchers say that our bodies are consistently under attack by molecules called free radicals. Because of antioxidants, our bodies are better able to control these attacks, and reduce our risk of developing a disease, such as those mentioned earlier. Another source of antioxidants is fruits and vegetables, but there is currently inconclusive research on what is the best antioxidant source.
In the 2015 Dietary Guideline Advisory Committee (DGAC) scientific report, the panel weighed in for the first time on whether Americans should be drinking coffee. The panel cited minimal health risks associated with a moderate consumption of coffee, which means three to five cups per day. The catch being, incorporating moderate coffee consumption into other healthful behaviors as well as monitoring added calories from cream, milk & added sugar.
Even though coffee has been enjoyed in various forms for many generations, our modern world has distorted the vision and consumption of coffee, leading people to believe it is bad. For instance, it is now common to use additives that may take away from coffee’s health benefits. These additives include sugar, artificial sweeteners, or excessive cream. Sugar contains high amounts of fructose, which is linked to causing obesity and diabetes. Certain creamers tend to be highly processed and have harmful and unnatural ingredients, which are also linked to chronic diseases. Many coffee shops today, tend to serve coffee with these unnecessary ingredients, which creates the stigma that unflavored/unsweetened coffee tastes bad.
As a take home message, coffee alone is not bad. It only starts to affect your health when sugar and creamers are added. A few ways to tweak your coffee drinking habits is by either drinking it black, or switching to cocoa or cinnamon as a flavor booster!