In 1983, with doctors unable to cure me, I studied the human body and diet. Since then, food as medicine has been a strong interest.
Is Coffee Good or Bad For You?
While the research for coffee accentuates the positives, it does little to reveal the dark side of coffee.
- Coffee increases your blood pressure
- Coffee has coffee oils, and these increase your cholesterol.
- Those who are sensitive to caffeine suffer from insomnia as a consequence.
- Coffee decreases the amount of GABA in the brain, and for those who already have less than others, this means an increase of anxiety.
- Acrylamide in roasted coffee beans is a carcinogen and can cause cancer.
- Coffee has other components that have a long term detrimental effect on human health.
There are several things that happen when I drink coffee. I start putting on weight, my blood pressure increases, my cholesterol shoots up, I become jittery, can’t sleep, and something terrible starts happening to my brain. Yet, the health professionals out there would have you believe that coffee is a healthy drink and that you increase your health by drinking it. I seem to recall the same story about cigarettes.
I only need one cup of coffee in the morning to set me back a week!
Coffee Oils Increase Cholesterol
When my cholesterol has periodically shot over a healthy level, I have repeatedly noticed that simply abstaining from coffee (and tea) lowers it without any other changes to my diet. When I started researching it, I discovered that there are coffee oils, and it is these coffee oils that are responsible for the hike in cholesterol. However, it depends on how you brew the coffee as to whether it retains the oils or not. Instant coffee doesn’t have any coffee oils.
According to Dr. David Moore, a professor of molecular and cellular biology at BCM, cafestol, one of the coffee oils, is the most potent cholesterol-elevating agent known.
Is Caffeine Good or Bad
Rise in Blood Pressure
My blood pressure has averaged a healthy 110/85 for years. Yet The moment I have a cup of coffee before I get to the doctor’s office, it will spike to something like 129/? I eventually asked a doctor about this, and he said that coffee did spike blood pressure.
Loss of Sleep
Caffeine can take some fourteen hours to leave your system. So if you have a cup of coffee at ten in the morning, then the effects will only leave your system at twelve midnight.
Coffee Causes Anxiety
Caffeine causes the body to produce more cortisol – the stress hormone. And as we all know, the more cortisol we produce, the more tummy fat we produce. So there’s your relationship between weight gain and coffee, and it has nothing to do with sugar and milk. However, the bottom line is that coffee causes anxiety.
Not only does caffeine increase stress hormones like cortisol, but it also decreases calming neurotransmitters, and reduces blood flow to the brain.
I can confirm the fact that my brain does not work so well on coffee. In 1995, I did the same test for two different companies a week apart. In the first test, I had prepared myself by eating only greens with no coffee, tea, alcohol, or anything else. I scored very well. In the second test, perhaps a little cocksure of myself, I drank coffee about half an hour before I wrote the test. I failed. Everything else was the same. My brain just couldn’t work out the issues.
In the interest of fair disclosure, I do have a sensitive nervous system, and there is a genetic predisposition where some are more sensitive to caffeine than others.
Psychiatric Disorders Caused by Coffee
There are several disorders caused by coffee in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders psychiatric manual. Unfortunately, the general public is not made aware of the fact that coffee can cause a mental illness.
- Caffeine intoxication
- Caffeine withdrawal
- Caffeine related anxiety
- Caffeine related sleep disorders
- Caffeine addiction
Coffee and Aggression
In a study by Carnegie Mellon University, it was found that caffeine released adrenaline - the fight or flight hormone - into the body. They also found too much coffee resulted in raised blood pressure (something I’ve personally experienced) as well as increased your heart beat. I can confirm the latter as well. My resting rate is normally 60, but after about a year of drinking coffee, it rose to 90. I am now permanently off coffee.
A study from La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia, found five cups was exactly the amount that made people hear the song "White Christmas" by Bing Crosby, even though they were actually listening to plain white noise.
— Medical Daily
Coffee Increases Weight
Some twenty years ago, I went to a naturopath. He put me on a particular diet, and I was losing 15 pounds a week. He forbade me to have any coffee or tea. On week four, I got a little bored and had two or three cups of tea. I only lost 7 pounds that week. His first question was “Did you have coffee or tea?”
I have repeatedly experimented with weight loss and gain since then. Over and over I find that if I drink coffee or tea (even if it’s black with no sugar), the weight loss is much slower.
Coffee Depletes Vital Nutrients in the Body
Just as gluten prevents the body from absorbing calcium in some people, so caffeine prevents some nutrients from being absorbed. Caffeine interferes with the absorption of both magnesium and Vitamin B. As both magnesium and the various B vitamins have a lot to do with being calm and stress free, drinking coffee is self-defeating.
Caffeine also interferes with the osteoblasts which produces strong bones. So it’s a factor in osteoporosis.
Decaffeinated coffee, by the way, still contains caffeine (the same amount that black and green tea), plus it contains the residual elements of the chemicals used to remove most of the caffeine.
For people who are sensitive to coffee, decaffeinated or not, coffee still gives the jitters!
Coffee Gives you Bad Breath
Coffee dries out your mouth (and body), and this, in turn, produces the bad breath. This is because the mucosal cells in your mouth aren’t washed away once they die (they live for three days).
Coffee Contains thousands of Ingredients – Not Just Caffeine
Coffee ingredients include chlorogenic acids, caffeol, polyphenols, phytoestrogens and diterpenes. All of these have both positive and negative effects on the human body. Insufficient studies have been done on those substances as caffeine has been predominantly studied. However, recently, with the realization that some effects happened regardless of whether coffee was caffeinated or decaffeinated, there is increasing interest in the other components of coffee.
Heartburn and stomach ache, for instance, can be caused by caffeine, catechols and various other chemical substances in coffee. Coffee is known to relax lower esophageal sphincter which allows the stomach contents and hydrochloric acid to be released into your oesophagus.
The general acidity of coffee is also responsible for aggravating conditions for those with ulcers, gastritis, IBS and Crohn's disease.
Acrylamide in Roasted Coffee Beans is a Carcinogen
In 2010 the Council for Education and Research on Toxics (CERT) sued Starbucks, 7-Eleven, BP America, BP Products, BP West Coast Products, and Gloria Jeans Gourmet Coffees for not warning their clients that acrylamide in roasted coffee beans was a carcinogen.
On the 28th March, 2018, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Elihu Berle sided with CERT and instructed coffee-selling companies to provide their clients with a warningof the cancerous effects of acrylamide.
The counter argument by coffee companies maintained that the health benefits of coffee outweighed the risk of cancer. The judge was not in agreement.
Naturally, the CEO of the National Coffee Association disagreed. "Coffee has been shown, over and over again, to be a healthy beverage. This lawsuit has made a mockery of Prop 65, has confused consumers, and does nothing to improve public health."
The more bitter and the darker a coffee is, the higher the acrylamide content . It is a by-product of roasting coffee at a high heat.
In a study (John Hopkins University) testing caffeine on the performance of athletes, it was found that caffeine increased the ability of those who were suffering the effects of caffeine withdrawal but did nothing for those athletes who were not suffering from caffeine withdrawal.
Essentially, when we begin to withdraw from the stimulus of coffee, we need another cup in order to feel better. This is addiction.
A study from The University of Nevada School of Medicine showed that caffeine can reduce a woman's chances of becoming pregnant by about 27%.
Are There Other Factors
Several studies have shown that there are most coffee beans have some sort of mold, and this may well be the reason for the negative effects. According to one study 91.7 of green coffee beans from Brazil were contaminated. The amount of toxins were below the accepted level for human consumption in Europe.
Ochratoxin, a carcinogen, was found in about half of all coffees, whether they were green coffee beans or roasted coffee beans. The substance was also found in brewed coffee.
Is Coffee Part of a Healthy Diet?
There are too many studies which indicate that coffee helps with the prevention of several serious diseases to deny that it has does some good. What is not said is that it’s not good for everybody and it’s not good for some other diseases. So if you are having some form of discomfort in your body, why not go off coffee for a month or two to see if coffee is the culprit?
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
Tessa Schlesinger (author) on May 31, 2019:
Yup. The problem is it's addictive, and very, very accidic. I battle like anything to go off it. I always come back to it - especially if things get tense.
promisem on May 31, 2019:
I certainly knew the caffeine in coffee causes loss of sleep -- just one cup in the morning makes it hard for me to go to sleep at night. But I didn't know about the other health concerns.
I'll add one more concern to the list. I found out that even decaf coffee was a factor in giving me acid reflux.
Alex on November 20, 2018:
hi, what is your favorite coffee
Zuzu Corneliu on October 21, 2018:
To me what seems fishy is that something that tricks your body into thinking it's rested when in fact it's tired is promoted as being healthy. So, especially for people that drink coffee _because_ they feel tired, I think it must be unhealthy - not the coffee itself, but the fact that it tricks your brain and you don't get the rest you need instead. Otherwise, if you are rested and drink it in moderation, I don't know, I'd be curious to know if it really is more healthy than damaging in this scenario. Currently, I'm slowly cutting it off in the morning or when I feel tired - otherwise it's like I sacrifice my body's signal for "get some sleep you dumbass, I need it" :)
Tessa Schlesinger (author) on October 04, 2018:
Thank you. :)
It's not the personal experience that counts. It's the hard science that backs it! :)
Grace on October 04, 2018:
Thank you so much for writing this article.I'm in 6th grade, I'm making a opinion on if 6th graders should drink coffee, I say no and this is will make my essay much more stronger especially because you had some sort of personal experience
Lupita on August 04, 2018:
Thank you very much for this article it was very helpful. I was reading because my 20 year old daughter has been drinking coffee for 1 year and within that year she started getting acne, and now I have taken her to the hospital twice for anxiety and irregular heartbeat and depression, she can’t sleep at night... and In the middle of the night as I was praying for her, I felt The Holy Spirit of God telling me to tell her not to drink cofffee and to fasten so she can get it out of her system. We are all about what we eat, is sad that we have researchers that know that certain foods and drinks are bad for us but it is all about the money.
Tessa Schlesinger (author) on January 04, 2017:
Why, thank you, kind lady! :) Much appreciated.
Amy from East Coast on January 04, 2017:
This is a very well written and laid out article. Beautiful. I agree, the main thing for me is that coffee causes anxiety.