“Frank do not come at me with your bull until I have had my morning cup of coffee”
If you feel like this, you are not alone. The impact coffee (and it’s psychoactive substance caffeine) has on our overall mood, focus and energy levels is well documented in research (1,2). Caffeine creates a stimulant effect on the brain that improves energy levels, your mood and other areas of brain function (3). So when Frank comes at you with whatever it is, you are at a disadvantage to comprehend what he is asking prior to coffee consumption.
We could write a novel on the health impacts (positive and negative) of coffee consumption, but in the essence of maintaining your attention, because you are most likely mid coffee, we will keep this as short as possible and focus on the highlight reel.
Coffee, so hot right now:
We already touched on the fact that coffee may make you appear smarter, by improving brain function. You aren’t actually smarter; you are just revved up on caffeineJ Here is what else it can do for you:
1) Burn baby, burn- almost all of the “fat burners” on the market have one thing in common. They include caffeine as a stimulant. They also include copious amounts of artificial ingredients, so why use them when you can boost your metabolic rate by just drinking coffee. This study found that lean and obese subjects increased their metabolic rate by 150kcals and 79kcals respectively (4). Drinking 1 cup of coffee could save you about 40 minutes of walking to try and burn that same 150kcals. This is assuming you drink it black, if not it would be a wash and then you still need to go walk.
2) Steroids? Nah, I take my coffee black- Speaking of exercise, caffeine has been shown to increase endurance performance by 12% vs. placebo (5). It works by increasing Epinephrine (your Adrenaline) levels in the blood (6) along with increasing the amount of your fat burned for more energy (7). Consuming a cup of coffee 30 minutes prior to exercise will only enhance your workout.
3) I ain’t got no time for disease- Well lucky for you drinking coffee may lower your risk of developing diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and risk of certain cancers.
-Some studies show upwards of 50% risk reduction of developing diabetes, but this one looking at almost half a million participants found a strong 7% reduced risk (8). -Caffeine intake was independently associated with lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease (9).
-Coffee can also reduce the risk of another neurodegenerative disease Parkinson’s (10).
-Studies show that coffee drinkers have a 40% lower risk of developing liver cancer (11) and 15% lower risk of colorectal cancer (12). Liver cancer is the 3rd leading cause of cancer death in the world and colorectal cancer is right behind it at 4th. (13).
Mining the black gold:
That was not an all-inclusive list of the benefits of coffee drinking, and it certainly wasn’t any of the negatives. Like anything in this world, if you kick over enough rocks you are bound to find something that tries to bite you. Here are our recommendation on how drink coffee responsibly and get all the benefits from above without pushing the boundaries toward the negatives.
We like to be conservative in our recommendations and think 4.5mg of caffeine per kilogram of body weight is the perfect blend of performance enhancing (cognitive and exercise) and lowering disease risk without bordering on over ingestion. (14)
To figure out how much that is for you, take your body weight in lbs and divide by 2.2. Then multiply by 4.5 and that gives you your daily caffeine limit.
A 200lb individual is 91 kilos. 91 X 4.5= a threshold of 410mg of caffeine per day.
Below is a short list of caffeine in drinks
20oz Starbucks Blonde Roast= 475mg of caffeine
12oz Starbucks Pike Place Roast= 235mg
14oz Dunkin Donuts coffee= 210mg
2Tbs (12oz) home brewed folgers, Maxwell etc. =100mg
8oz Black Tea= 47mg
8oz Green Tea= 30mg
20oz Coke or Pepsi= about 60mg
16oz Monster energy drink= 160mg
2oz 5 Hour Energy = 200mg
If you haven’t done so already, calculate roughly how much caffeine you consume on a daily basis. If you are well over 4.5mg/kg you might want to switch over to some decaffeinated drinks and try and bring that ratio down. That will give you all the upside without any downside.
Coffee has so many positives, but you can negate those and create new problems if you load it up with sugars, sweeteners and dairy. If you are that person “likes my sugar with coffee and cream”, then hopefully today is the day that you start dialing back. Start small, one less sugar packet for a week, then two less etc. Before you know it you might enjoy the black goodness and have improved your overall health!