Myths About Coffee
There are some well-known ‘facts’ about coffee. Things we have been told or read about which are just accepted … but not all these things are true. Here we be-bunk some of the most common coffee fables.
1.Drinking coffee in the evening impacts on sleep
This is one of the most believed myths. An irrefutable fact. It’s probably so easily believed as It makes sense that by drinking something high in caffeine will impact your sleep.
However, according to a fairly extensive study conducted by Florida Atlantic University this is not actually true. They monitored 785 people for over 14 years, documenting their consumption of caffeine and keeping sleep diaries to work out how long and how well the participants slept for.
They were able to determine from this study that there was no correlation between caffeine consumption within four hours before going to bed.
They didn’t measure caffeine dosage and were unable to take into account individual variations in caffeine tolerance, but 785 people is a fairly conclusive trial size and allows for a confidence in the results.
Great news for all coffee lovers!
2. More than one cup of coffee per day is bad for you
The general upheld belief is that too much coffee is bad for you. One coffee is ok but any more than that might be bad for your general health. This is an old wives tail which is still widely believed today.
However various modern studies & trials have shown that drinking up to 6 cups of coffee a day is perfectly ok and that actually on the whole coffee is VERY good for you.
It has been proven to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s & Dementia, Parkinson’s & strokes. It may help to reduce chances of developing certain types of cancer. It can help to prevent depression, and generally has a positive impact on mood.
Two very large-scale scientific studies including over nine hundred thousand people, have suggested that coffee drinkers are less likely to die from natural causes in general than non-coffee drinkers.
Coffee is packed with antioxidants, which are thought to be largely responsible for the health benefits.
3. Coffee causes dehydration
This is another one which has been generally considered to be true but again it turns out to be a case of a little bit of knowledge being dangerous.
According to Dr. Daniel Vigil, associate clinical professor of family medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, while coffee and tea are mild diuretics, meaning that they cause your kidneys to flush water and sodium sodium through urine, you take on more water while drinking coffee (and tea) than the volume of water which is flushed out as a result.
In other words, the water your cup of coffee will contain will more than outweigh the slight dehydrating effects of caffeine. The water content of a cup of coffee is about 99%, so caffeine would have to have a huge dehydrating effect to outweigh the water you’re consuming along with the caffeine.
4.Coffee makes you need to poo.
While it would appear that for some that drinking a coffee in the morning makes them need to visit the bathroom, it appears that this isn’t the case with everyone. According to a recent study coffee has this type of effect on under one in three people. So, it would appear that coffee isn’t the universal laxative that it has the reputation of being.
The study showed that coffee consumption stimulated intestinal movement in 29% of the 99 people studied, and that the effects of caffeinated coffee was only 23% stronger than decaf (& of course decaf contains a tiny fraction of the caffeine).
So, what is it about coffee that keeps around one in three people regular?
Well, there are a number of potential factors that scientists believe could be behind this. It could be due to the increase in gastrin, a peptide hormone which stimulates secretion of gastric acid & aids contractions of the gastric smooth muscle. It could be due to production of another peptic hormone cholecystokinin (or pancreozymin), which stimulates the digestion of fat and protein.
The reality is that we simply don’t know and there would be lot of work to be done to determine exactly what it is, as there are nearly a thousand compounds contained in coffee. But whatever it is, this study does at least suggest that coffee only has a laxative effect on some people, not all.