Effects of Coffee: What a cuppa can give you….

Coffee has played a significant role in human society since the 9th century AD when it was exported out of the Middle East. Today millions of people around the world drink coffee every day because of its social connotations, taste, and caffeine content. With strains from the Americas, Europe, Africa, and Asia, coffee has had a major impact on almost everyone in the world. However, the drink has much more to offer than many people think.

Recent studies by a number of scientific institutions and universities have shown that the innocent looking coffee bean has a number of negative health affects.

The negative aspects of coffee

Coffee contains caffeine.
Caffeine causes a number of health problems including, but not limited to, sleep and anxiety disorders, elevated risks of Parkinson’s disease, elevated heart beat and stress, breathing problems in infants, and caffeine dependency syndrome. It is important to drink caffeinated beverages in moderation.

Coffee can cause constipation.
Because coffee is a diuretic it can cause people to become dehydrated; a lack of fluid in an individual’s body causes constipation.

Drinking coffee over a period of time can stain a person’s teeth.
Coffee has a similar affect on teeth as nicotine. Drinking coffee over an extended period of time can lead to an individual developing yellow teeth and cavities, especially if large amounts of sugar are added to the drink.

Daily coffee ingestion induces a 24 hour cyclic disturbance with morning arousal, irritability, difficulty concentrating, subtle levels of disorganization, clumsiness, and forgetfulness. As the day progresses, 3 or more cups later, a heavy fatigue sets in by mid to late afternoon. Further coffee doses may rouse one a bit, but then further collapse is inevitable by evening. Irritability may evolve into disproportionate or inappropriate angry outbursts, pleasure-loss, absence of good-feelings, or empathy anesthesia.

It is likely that the subtle psychopathology of moderate to heavy coffee consumption contributes to the production of unnecessary conflict and dysphasia. The subtle cognitive and memory deficits which appear after coffee intake should alarm employers who expect their employees to think, remember, or carry out skilled, coordinated acts. It may be that coffee facilitates dull, routine, rote tasks where thinking, skill and initiative are unimportant.

A lonely chemist from his R&D department, unwanted, depressed chemist published his invention in a scientific journal, describing the bad effects of coffee on health, hence, the importance of decaffeinating.

He wrote,” Caffeine causes thinning of the bones (osteoporosis), decreases the motility of the sperms, increases irritability and may harm the pregnant mother. Caffeine is habit forming and sudden cessation causes withdrawal symptoms.”

The caffeine, oils and acids in coffee irritate the stomach lining, which can cause excessive production of hydrochloric acid leading to a variety of digestive ailments. Decaf, which contains the same oils and acids as regular coffee as well as traces of ethylene chloride, brings on the same increase in stomach acid.

Drinking coffee on an empty stomach produces an even greater increase in stomach acid, and can cause stomach pain almost immediately in some people.

Research has shown a definite link between coffee drinking and ulcers. One study of 25,000 men showed that those who drink coffee have about a 72 percent higher risk of developing ulcers than those who don’t.

Coffee can cause a reflux of stomach acid which comes up into the throat causing “heartburn.”

Coffee tends to slow down the passage of waste through the small intestine and speed it up in the large intestine.

It is not how much coffee you drink but how long you have been drinking it. If you have been drinking coffee for years, the chronic irritation of your stomach lining can lead to inflammation and pain even if you only drink one or two cups a day.

Coffee’s as bad or worse, than nicotine and alcohol. It causes heartburn, excess gas, bloating ulcers, and it is terrible for your digestion. Drinking coffee increases your risk of getting ulcers by 72%! That’s a lot!

If you drink a lot of coffee, and you have digestion problems, stomach pains, or heartburn… Well, what are you waiting for! Stop already!

Side Effects of Caffeine

  • Women who drink caffeinated products lose more calcium in their urine and tend to have less dense bones than non-caffeine drinkers. This may increase the risk of osteoporosis in susceptible women. It has been suggested that women should drink at least one glass of milk a day for every two cups of coffee, to try to offset the calcium loss.
  • Caffeine aggravates pre-menstrual breast pain in a significant number of sufferers.
  • Caffeine can aggravate insomnia.
  • Women who drink more than four cups of coffee a day have twice the risk of urinary incontinence compared with women who drink little or no coffee.
  • Caffeine withdrawal can produce unpleasant headaches and shakiness.
  • Coffee contains many carcinogens, whether or not it is decaffeinated. There is, however, no strong evidence of an increased risk of cancers in coffee drinkers.
  • Coffee pumps up our stress hormones and can cause palpitations, a rise in blood pressure and symptoms of anxiety.
  • Caffeine is a diuretic; your body will flush more water than it needs to when you drink coffee and caffeinated soft drinks, so you urinate more frequently and can become dehydrated.
  • Caffeine blocks the naturally occurring chemical, adenosine from affecting the brain, which prompts the brain to create more adenosine.
  • Coffee impacts sleep cycles in a couple of different ways; caffeine and tannins can prevent restful sleep. Caffeine can also suppress REM sleep or deep sleep.

Coffee has a number of good and bad health affects. Drinking this bean in moderation should not lead to any problems, but it is always good to know how things will affect you.

But how many cups of coffee do you drink per day?

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Sanjana Shenoy

About Sanjana Shenoy

A dietitian from Mangalore, India. A post graduate diploma holder in “Dietetics” and a university topper from Welcomgroup School of Hotel Administration from the prestigious Manipal University. At present working as a Dietitian for the Manipal Group of Hospitals namely KMC hospital Mangalore, India. Consultant for corporates like Infosys and others, conducting talks and presentations for various associations and local television shows.

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9 Responses to Effects of Coffee: What a cuppa can give you….

  1. daina January 19, 2010 at 7:03 pm #

    thank you for your post on the effects of coffee. i have had terrible stomach pain-its gas pains-and im trying to figuire out wat is causing the gas. i have changed my diet to mostly friuts and vegetables. i eat salad once or twicw a day. but i also just got a nespresso coffee maker and have been drinking more than two small cups a day. is it the coffee or the salads or both? should i change my diet or get some medication like beano to counter act the gas?
    would appreciate your comments. thank you:)

  2. Michael February 3, 2010 at 10:25 am #

    Thank you also for your post on Coffee. I have recently taken a full time job in an office. Every morning at 9:00am includes a coffee run. I would drink half decaf, 16oz each day. After reading other sites, I was sure that drinking decaf would save me from the effects of caffeine.

    After 2 months of this I noticed that I had a lot of gas. A lot. I am vegetarian, so I thought that this might the problem, even though I have never produced as much gas.

    At Christmas I caught a cold. I kept drinking coffee. I did not get better. The cold infected my lungs. Still after 6 weeks I did not get better. After seeing a doctor I was given antibiotics to clear up the pneumonia that was starting. Still I kept drinking coffee, assured by my doctor that it was fine.

    2 weeks after I was given a prescription for more antibiotics, since the first round did nothing. While waiting for my prescription to be filled I thought I would check my blood pressure. Since I run marathon distances, don’t smoke or drink and am in very good physical condition I assumed it would be fine. There is no history of high blood pressure in my family. My bp was 158/88!

    The next day I left work and quit coffee. The headaches over the next 3 days were intense.

    I have been off coffee for 1 week now. My gas problem is gone, my blood pressure is lower (but still has a way to go) and the headaches are gone.

    Am I right to assume that coffee could have this effect on me? Between the acidity and the caffeine I believe that coffee has played a large part in my illness.

    Can you comment on what I have said. And if you could, also suggest another “social drink” that I could have in the mornings. I still want to take part in the social aspect of going for coffee.

    Thank you.

  3. Sanjana Shenoy
    Sanjana - Dietitian February 3, 2010 at 4:47 pm #

    Hi Michael,
    It is quite okay to stick to decaf and 16oz is really too much. You dont need to completely quit drinking coffee just cut it down. For your blood pressure to be high, you may be stressed. So I suggest take adequate rest and relax.
    I suggest you switch over to herbal teas. You can keep tea bags in your desk and all you need is hot water to dunk the tea bags. So you can still be in the social circle. Green tea and other keep you more healthier and strengthen your immunity

  4. T.S.SUNDARAM. March 4, 2010 at 5:24 pm #

    DRINKING COFFEE. GOUT.

    Coffee still plays a big role even today when four people meet, and as mentioned in the above article, this drink has much more to offer than many people think. The latest revelation is that Coffee may cut risk of GOUT. And if men ever needed a reason to justify an extra cup of coffee, here it is:- four or more cups a day appear to reduce the risk of Gout, Canadian researchers said recently.

    Gout is a painful joint disorder caused by a build up of Uric acid in the blood. In the past, patients suffering from Gout were asked to avoid Coffee.

    A study based on a survey of 50000 men aged 40 to 75 with no history of gout was undertaken. Men were asked to drink coffee. There were men who drank decaffeinated coffee also. They also were benefitted , the researchers said, but tea appeared to have no effect. The researchers found significantly low levels of Uric acid in the blood of those who consumed large quantitities of coffee. Uric acid is the compound that caused gout.

    The findings appeared to suggest that something in the coffee other than caffeine — such as a strong antioxident– may be helping to reduce the uric acid levels.

    So, if you are drinking coffee already and have gout or are at a higher risk of developing gout, there is no need to reduce or stop coffee consumption. Reuters News.

  5. gulshan July 8, 2010 at 6:22 pm #

    Well I found this on Digg, and I like it so I dugg it!

  6. Chirag November 13, 2010 at 9:50 pm #

    Dr.
    I like to have cold coffe mostly but only when i am tired and stressed
    And I prefer to drink hot coffee 2 cups a day in winter when I feel cold
    So is it still much harm full
    How much coffee should we drink in a day or in a week for being in normal health?

  7. Sanjana Shenoy
    Sanjana - Dietitian November 16, 2010 at 2:24 pm #

    Chirag,

    2 cups of coffee per day will do to beat the heat. It can be undesirable if you exceed more than this quantity.

  8. Arlene March 24, 2012 at 6:02 am #

    If i take beano before i drink my decaf coffee will that help. i do suffer from gas pain every so often.

  9. niki September 6, 2012 at 7:03 pm #

    How about dark tea? I’m starting to realize that some of my health issues are coffee related and would be willing to switch to dark tea (hate green tea-gives me gas). Is Tea the same as coffee in pro and cons? Also. Ive noticed that coffee drinkers (myself in particular) are less thirsty…but we are more dehydrated)…How ironic.
    Thanks.
    ~Niki

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