Q. Recently I’ve been surprised to hear that drinking coffee may actually be good for me. Could this possibly be true?
A. You’ve probably seen the recent news report claiming that coffee can decrease your risk of heart disease and other conditions. But before concluding that coffee is a health elixir, it would be wise to take a broader look at the facts. While some reports may suggest that coffee has health benefits, many studies show just the opposite. Let’s look at a few of the pros and cons of drinking coffee, and see how they stack up.
An article in the American Journal of Epidemiology in 2000 stated that coffee consumption could decrease symptoms of gall-bladder disease.
According to an article in the Journal of Molecular Nutrition & Food Research in 2005, coffee has antioxidant activity that may help prevent type 2 diabetes.
A 2006 New York Times article claimed that recent studies have found coffee may reduce risk of diabetes, heart disease and cirrhosis of the liver.
Coffee is loaded with caffeine (about 100 milligrams per six-ounce cup), which can increase your heart rate and blood pressure.
Coffee can elevate risk of heart disease by raising levels of cholesterol and homocysteine, according to a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2001.
A study published in the International Journal of Cancer in 2002 found that heavy coffee consumption (four or more cups daily) may increase pancreatic cancer risk.
Heavy coffee consumption increases short-term risk of heart attacks in middle-aged men, according to a study reported in The Journal of Nutrition in 2004.
As you can see, drinking coffee may not be particularly good for your health, despite recent claims to the contrary. As we continue to study the effects of this ubiquitous drink on health, play it safe and keep your coffee intake to a minimum.