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When Confusing Coffee Claims Contradict Each Other

August 21, 2011

ROASTe has reported many health claims for coffee in our news articles, because more and more research teams are investigating what coffee has to offer us nutritionally. At the same time, some researchers are reporting negative effects of coffee on health. Amid the confusing contradictory claims, how do we sort out the true facts? Recently Health.com ran a pro and con discussion of coffee, pitting a professor of nutrition against a psycho-physiologist. The nutritionist pointed out several health benefits of coffee for healthy people, suggesting that if caffeine causes problems, such as sleep interruption, people should switch to decaf. The Psycho-physiology researcher pointed out a weakness with some of the research and some problems caused by caffeine, especially for those with high blood pressure or diabetes. His advice was also to switch to decaf while he already had said Yes to the question of quitting, a self contradiction. The summary of advice at the conclusion was good until the very end. At first they stated that coffee doesn’t hurt you and may make you healthier, unless you’re in the two groups mentioned above, so people don’t need to ditch the coffee. However, when they advised non-coffee drinkers NOT to start drinking coffee, the confusion begins. If something appears to have health benefits, why tell people not to start consuming it? While it’s not our place to advise regarding health claims, we can point out the logic or lack of such in the advice. The main consideration is that coffee does indeed possess healthy nutrients, regardless of the studies and any inherent weakness therein. Coffee has been said to have more antioxidants than blueberries, which traditionally have been a recommended source of these important nutrients. There are many other compounds in coffee which also have nutritional value. Beyond the nutritional value, it’s a comfort food for many, a social drink that helps bring people together for conversation, an energy booster and so much more. It does make sense, as the article said, that those who are bothered by the caffeine should switch to decaf. The bottom line: for most healthy people, coffee in moderation is good for health. Even the proponent of quitting coffee consumption contradicted himself by stating it’s good for healthy people while for those with problems, decaf can be substituted. Therefore, despite the title and the way the article was organized, the answer to the article’s question, “Should I Cut Back?” seems to be NO and NO. Brew on in good health.






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