75 percent of Australians drink at least one cup of coffee a day. It can help boost energy, alertness & focus.
But is our love of the bean becoming a grind?
Let’s start with the upside:
Coffee is one of the most studied substances we consume. And on balance the effects are positive.
For example, a data review of over 500,000 coffee drinkers in the UK has found drinking less around one cup of coffee per day may reduce risk of death by 6% and drinking 6 to7 cups by 16%.
But it’s unlikely to be the caffeine. It’s almost certainly the other bioactive compounds present in coffee (and indeed tea as well).
But before you hit your barista for more shots of coffee, note the limitations to this review:
- They were all observational studies rather than randomised trials
- Other dietary, health and lifestyle factors were not always accounted for
- Self-reporting responses may have been inaccurate.
- All participants were over 40 years.
Now the downside:
At doses of 400mg of caffeine a day (about 4 shots espresso), or less for those sensitive to caffeine, it can cause:
- interrupted sleep
- increased heart rate
For heavy coffee drinkers, reducing your caffeine intake can bring on unpleasant withdrawal symptoms like:
- Muscle pain.
The takeaway messages:
- If your daily coffee consumption is nearing 5 or 6 cups a day consider drinking decaf
- Caffeine addiction can disrupt your lifestyle
- Caffeine in moderation ie less than 200g / day (2 shots espresso)
- Best to avoid caffeine if pregnant as it can affect heart rate and blood pressure.