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Coffee: Grounds for Concern?
by Susan D. Moores, R.D.

There's a battle brewing over your coffee pot. First, reports link caffeine to health problems; then, new research comes along to say it's OK. It's enough to give a coffee drinker whiplash.

Do coffee and caffeine harm health? Not likely, say most experts - as long as you don't overdo it. Here's the latest scoop.

The Fears vs. the Evidence

* Heart Disease

The Fear: Research in the early '80s suggested coffee might raise cholesterol levels.

The Evidence: A recent study surveying more than 20,000 men and women for 10 years found no link between coffee and heart disease. Other large studies have drawn similar conclusions.

What Changed? Scientists speculate that the paper filters now used to brew coffee make a difference. Filters trap terpenes - components in coffee known to raise cholesterol.

Caveat 1: Caffeine can temporarily raise blood pressure - a risk factor for heart attack or stroke. However, it's rarely a significant issue for people who regularly consume caffeine.

Caveat 2: Watch what you add to your coffee. Loading up with creamers adds hydrogenated oils and their dreaded trans fats; stirring in lots of sugar adds empty calories, which could contribute to weight gain. Both raise risks for heart disease.

* Cancer

The Fear: In the 1980s, caffeine was linked to an increased risk for pancreatic cancer.

The Evidence: Several subsequent studies have disproved these findings. According to the American Cancer Society, there is no strong evidence that moderate daily coffee drinking - 2 - 3 cups - poses any cancer risk.

The Good News: Some studies report caffeine may actually reduce the risk of colon cancer. (See "Caffeine: Is It Good for You?")

* Osteoporosis

The Fear: Caffeine can cause the body to lose calcium, a risk factor for osteoporosis.

The Evidence: The small loss of calcium - 5mg for every 6 oz. of coffee - is easily replaced by a few tablespoons of milk or yogurt.

* Infertility

The Fear: Some research suggests that caffeine, when combined with alcohol, can reduce a woman's chances of conceiving.

The Evidence: By itself, caffeine has demonstrated no effect on fertility.

* Miscarriages

The Fear: Caffeine has been associated with increased risk for miscarriages, pre-term deliveries and lower birth-weight babies.

The Evidence: Women who regularly drink more than 3 cups of coffee a day seem to show greater risk. Researchers are uncertain if caffeine itself is the cause, or if a secondary factor is involved.

* Intestinal problems

The Fear: Caffeine can have negative effects.

The Evidence: Indeed it might, particularly if you have an existing condition. If you have reflux problems, caffeine may make it more likely for stomach acid to back up into the esophagus. Caffeine may also intensify pain from an ulcer. But while it might exacerbate these conditions, it won't cause them. In addition, caffeine can have a laxative effect on anyone.

Caffeine: Is It Good for You?

Research into caffeine isn't just about exploring the different ways it can hurt you. Researchers have found potential benefits from caffeine and coffee, too.

* Pain relief

The Good News: Caffeine can help produce faster, longer-lasting relief of headaches.

Why? Caffeine supports aspirin or ibuprofen, possibly because it improves the absorption of these medications in the stomach or it affects the flow of blood to the head.

Nothing's Perfect: In some people, caffeine can aggravate and trigger headaches.

* Gallstones

The Good News: A study following 46,000 men found that those who reported drinking 2 - 3 cups of regular coffee a day were 40% less likely to have symptoms of gallstones over a 10-year period.

Why? Experts think caffeine may help the gallbladder contract and empty, making it less likely stones will form.

* Colon cancer

The Good News: Some studies suggest coffee may reduce risk.

Why? Experts think that caffeine either may stimulate activity in the colon, which helps prevent cancerous cells from forming, or that caffeine and coffee inhibit the effect of cancer-causing agents.

* Brain function

The Good News: Two recent studies found that volunteers who drank coffee or caffeinated beverages exhibited improved short-term thinking skills and memory.

Why? Caffeine blocks adenosine - a chemical that slows brain activity.

* Parkinson's disease

The Good News: Preliminary findings loosely connect coffee to a lower incidence of Parkinson's disease.

Why? Unclear. Much more research is needed on the connection between Parkinson's and caffeine to establish a link.

The Bottom Line

Caffeine in moderation, whether it's from coffee, soda or tea, appears to do no serious harm to your health and may actually have some perks. Enjoy your java - just keep daily consumption to three 8-oz. cups or less. And if it makes you jittery or 24 oz. just isn't enough, there's always decaf.

Susan Moores is a nutritionist and health writer in St. Paul, Minn. Her specialty is easy-to-implement lifestyle tips for better health.
Woo, once more (I got the job!) I'll be contributing to all sorts of health problems to Americans.
Yay Em!!
Congrats, Em!!!

I guess it would be bad for business for you to make some SB pamphlets (that include this post) and hand them out with the coffee, huh? laugh.gif laugh.gif

Good luck with the new job!
Fantastic Em but I think Ive missed something - what job have you got?

Love Lolly

On another note about the coffee - If I dont have any I get a terrible headache - I guess Im addicted!
Lolly, I am the same way about coffee and think I must be hooked on it too. I must have at least one cup in the morning or I get an awful headache. My mother is the same way. On the other hand, I can't handle caffeine after about mid-afternoon or it keeps me awake at night.

What is the time difference between where you are and the U.S? I am in the eastern time zone and it is now 11:31 AM here. The posts I read from you were a little after 9:00 AM as shown on the post -- was that actual? Just curious.

I enjoy reading your posts and imagine what your lovely English accent sounds like. My hairdresser is originally from London and we enjoy talking about things here VS there. She has been doing my hair for at least 5 years and I really enjoy going to her salon. She is a super nice person and I'm sure you are too.

By the way, how did the deal come out with the publicity of the teenager you knew and your job at the nursery school, etc. I know that has nothing to do with SB but I feel like I know all of the regular posters on this site.

Have a wonderful New Year!
Thanks Euharlee

The teenager thing is going to be a real battle I think. My cousin and I are going to get moving on it again next week as the Christmas holidays will be out of the way but we have had some good responses. The local paper has since named about three or four other kids but they haven't posted their pictures so we must have got through to them. We e-mailed quite a few local authorities and childrens organisations and have had some terrific responses. Part of our complaints were not only naming and shaming but we said that many of the problems could be avoided if the teenagers had somewhere to hang out away from neighbours. It is a real problem as I have seen up to 20 kids in groups and they get up to real mischief. So far about 4 people want to meet with us to see if they can help us get funding for a local youth area.

With the nursery we havent gone back to work yet so I will probably go in next week. I am seriously thinking of withdrawing my resignation as I have calmed down a bit now. I dont think anyone will object but I guess I will have to wait and see.

I live in the South East about 25 miles to central London and I have what is described as a cockney accent. Not like Fergie or Princess Diana. If you ever have a chance to watch Eastenders (I read somewhere you get that in the States) thats what my accent is like. I can do a posh accent though.

Oh by the way it is now at this precise moment 10 past midnight.

Happy New year to you too! tongue.gif tongue.gif tongue.gif

Love Lolly tongue.gif tongue.gif
You should be very proud of what you and your cousin are doing to help those teenagers! Too many people won't get involved.

Sounds like there must be about a 6 hour time difference. I retired last year from a company that had locations all over the world and I used to be familiar with the time zone and what time I could call the other facilities. Guess that's why I was wondering about the time difference.

I don't think I have ever watched the program you are talking about, but there are several on BBC America that I really enjoy watching: Keeping Up Appearances (probably my favorite), Are You Being Served, As Time Goes By, Waiting For God, and Johnathan Creek (just a few of my favorites). We could not get cablevision where we live and we have a satellite dish so I was glad to be able to get my favorite programs. Unfortunately I have already seen most of the episodes on the sitcoms.

I'm glad you are thinking of going back to the school -- sounds like you were too good for them to lose! Hang in there.

Good luck getting back on the SB way of eating!
Thanks Euharlee for your kind words. I must admit sometimes I think Ive taken on too much but then when I read or speak to people who tell me its good what we are doing it gives me back my strength. I hope you are having a really good year - I weighed myself today and Ive put on half a stone (7 pounds) since Christmas so Ive got to get back on track!

Its funny I have sky (satellite) and I love watching the American tv shows like Friends.

Love Lolly

I drink a lot of coffee and can drink caffiene and still sleep at night. I read all the information but will take the one piece.........that it may help Parkinson's Disease.
My dad had Parkinson's and I definately don't want to have that! ohmy.gif

I have learned so much from reading all your posts! I am drinking my morning coffee now.........but I do try to add decaf during the day.
Gloria tongue.gif
If coffee is bad for you, at lease I'll die happy... And well-caffeinated!

Lolly, you've been in my prayers. God will guide you to do the right thing, just make sure you actually LISTEN when you pray, too <<<HUG>>>

Another good point for caffeine - I just heard this week that drinking caffeinated coffee (6 cups) can help prevent diabetes!! Hmmm....
Joanie, is that six cups per day or week. I just love my coffee!

Love lolly
Muahaha...I can now make every type of latte, breve, mocha, flavored crap-in-a-mug of coffee imaginable.

Pearls of Wisdom:

If you're ever at Books-A-Million and you want a latte, a breve or a mocha latte or even a cappucino, do not order the grande. It's robbery. The grande is a watered down tall. How? Well, in a latte (etc) you get shots of espresso. In the tall, you get two and in the grande you get two. But in the grande you get more milk/half and half. Thus, a watered down tall!

I hate to be a downer, but caffine for me is painful. In the fall of 2001, I kept having heart palipiations (spelling?) and hard time breathing. I ignored it for quite awhile. Finally it go to be happening every day. I finally went to the doctor to see if it was my heart. It was not. We tried all kinds of things. What we found was that it was the caffine. I am a tea drinker and a Pepsi haulic!

To make a long story short, I now drink decaffinated tea and DIET-no caffine-PEPSI. It was hard at first, but I'm use to it now. The only time I get it now is if I drink something with caffine. Oh, and I cut out chocolate - but do indulge with the wonderful SF choc - every once in a while.

Yesterday, I heard about a girl that had caffine deposits. I asked if it was calcium deposits and was told no it was caffine deposits and that they were very painful. I guess that will help to keep me on the right track.

I need to pat myself on the back; I gained 3 pounds over new years weekend - to much eating from boredom. I've excercised and tried to be good (If that's possible), this am I checked and have lost one of the three pounds.

Our office has put in some excercise equipment and I used it last night. I plan on using it quite often after work. Traffic is bad at night, so by excercising, it helps me stay out of the heavy traffic.

Keep on keeping on!

Shelley In Texas
Sorry to hear about the caffeine for you! I gave up caffeine during both pregnancies and while I breastfed them, and thought I would DIE!! I would walk in the door, start shedding clothes, and collapse on the couch until about 10pm. It was really hard for me. I have, however, dropped by intake. I used to drink 2 pots a day (some espresso), and about a gallon of tea and an assortment of sodas in the mix. Now I'm pretty much down to 3 to 6 cups a day. Period. No sodas, no tea. As for exercising after work, that's a grand idea! When I was in the office all day I'd plan it so I could come in later and leave later to avoid the traffic both ways!! But then, my boss would find things to talk about (which could have waited) and then I wouldn't get home until 7:30 and STILL have to cook, bathe the kids and get them in bed. It was crazy, so I started working from home more. I may work just as much if not more, but at least I can stop to cook, etc... and we're not eating at 8:30 anymore!!

Lolly - yes...6 cups a DAY!!! :-) Who can live on 6 a week?! laugh.gif

Well, I need to get back to work. I have to take a quick shower first so I don't get caught at the last minute not being able to go get the kids on time.

They're forecasting shower showers/sleet here this afternoon. I think we had a few pelts of sleet last night the way it sounded on the windows. Hopefully that nastiness will stay away!! It's going to be a CHILLY weekend here...maybe we don't have to get all the projects done we had planned for this weekend!! It'll be too cold to paint Rennie's "found" desk that got passed along to us. (Still have to sand it down.)

Love you guys,
Hello friends of Beverage,

I am going to get myself some Postum when I go to Wally World since it is naturally Caffiene free and I have had a problem with that for some time, I can't sleep at night and I just feel very crummy when I drink things with it. I am sure that Caffiene is not bad for some, but it has not done me any good.

When I was working construction in Florida, in 1987, I had to drink about four or five cups of coffoe a day just to keep my job since I had to wake up at 4:30 AM in the morning and although I got eight hours of sleep, I would not have been able to keep my job since I would have been too tired to be able to work all day.

When that job ended, I did not have to wake up at 4:30 AM so I quite the coffoe and although I went through about two weeks of being very tired and for about a week with more headaches, I am glad to say other than having to avoid Caffiene or suffer the consequences, I have had no harsh problems in my life.

When I get this Postum, I was told that I would need to add some powder, and my favorite will be 'Hazelnuts' I am sure although I will look at the yahoo club I am in.

Sincerely, Vernon cool.gif cool.gif smile.gif
WELCOME!! I enjoy my coffee too much to even think I'd want to give it up. I guess that's one of my "comfort foods" and just enjoy the experience of it. Sorry it made you feel so yucky.

What part of FLA? My husband and I both have family there, spread been Sarasota and Naples. We were there at Thanksgiving and the weather was beautiful!

Well, gotta scoot. Welcome! Let us know if we can help you with anything!

QUOTE (jokeje @ Fri, 23 Jan 2004 19:41)
WELCOME!!  I enjoy my coffee too much to even think I'd want to give it up.  I guess that's one of my "comfort foods" and just enjoy the experience of it.  Sorry it made you feel so yucky.

What part of FLA?  My husband and I both have family there, spread been Sarasota and Naples.  We were there at Thanksgiving and the weather was beautiful!

Well, gotta scoot.  Welcome!  Let us know if we can help you with anything!


Hello Joanie,

Thank-you for the response to me, I lived in Port Saint Luci when I was about 12 years old when I was in 7th grade although this was a Private school when we were there half a year and I got in trouble since they were careful with behaviour.

I lived there again in 1987-88 and I could get a radio station FM 89.3 out of the Tampa, area. I worked construction and lived there a year. I think the Gardens had a station on AM 540-550 which I also listened to at the time.

I have a good friend who lives in Floral City who was about 10-11 years old when I lived there in 1987 although I have no idea how he is doing now.

When I think of Naples, I think of Bob Sheets in charge of the Hurricane Center.

I hope to talk more about Coffoe another time, but I did not care for the perpetual summer there although we got some nice weather and I was so glad when I was leaving Florida and on the Florida panhandle and a cold front I never thought I would be so grateful for some nice weather.

I have a very dear friend who lives in Oak Hill, I think, she moved there since her husband could not handle the cold weather in the Northeast.

I live in Louisiana where I have lived most of my life.
Sincerely, Vernon cool.gif cool.gif smile.gif smile.gif smile.gif smile.gif smile.gif smile.gif

P.S. I love to mix COLD water with concentrated lemon juice, which is with no sugar or sweet flavor, that is a blessing to me although I like hot beverages too.
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