How healthy is coffee really?
Rumors about the negative effects of coffee persist to this day. But what is really true about these statements? Is coffee healthy or unhealthy? On this page we take up some of these points.
Does coffee dehydrate the body?
The assumption that coffee removes water from the body is not correct. According to Antje Dahl of the German Nutrition Society (DGE), this opinion is based on misinterpreted data from earlier studies. „Regular and consistent consumption of coffee influences fluid balance solely through the amount of water supplied with the coffee.“ It is true that caffeine has a short-term diuretic effect, but for regular coffee drinkers, the body becomes accustomed to the caffeine intake. Therefore, coffee can be confidently added to the fluid balance. Coffee is probably one of the most popular non-alcoholic beverages in the world. In Germany, each person drinks an average of about half a liter of coffee per day.
„Coffee doesn’t dehydrate the body. I would already be dust otherwise.“(Franz Kafka)
Caffeine: friend or enemy?
Caffeine is an alkaloid from the xanthia group of substances and takes between 30 and 45 minutes to enter the bloodstream. The half-life of caffeine in the body varies from person to person and depends on age, body weight, the individual state of health and the genetic disposition of the person. On average, the half-life is about 4 hours. In pregnant women on the other hand, caffeine breakdown slows dramatically and takes almost 20 hours.
In small doses, caffeine has a stimulating effect on the heart and circulatory system, boosts physical performance and increases concentration and memory capacity in the brain. In addition, caffeine makes you awake and brightens your mood, which is why for many people the caffeine kick in the morning is an optimal start to the day. Because of its effect, caffeine is also an ingredient in many medications that are used to treat cardiac insufficiency, neuralgia, pain, migraine, asthma and allergies. Caffeine does not cause permanently high blood pressure (hypertension), which damages the heart and vascular system. However, anyone who already suffers from high blood pressure should be sparing with their coffee consumption. Recent studies have also shown that lifelong coffee consumption can reduce the age-related decline in mental performance and the risk of developing depression.
What influences the caffeine content?
The caffeine content in coffee is strongly dependent on the roasting process and the coffee bean itself. Robusta contains three times more caffeine than Arabica. Robusta contains up to 4.5 % caffeine, while Arabica reaches a maximum of 1.7 %. Another aspect that makes it unclear how much coffee is good for the body is due to the caffeine content, which is significantly higher in filter coffee than in espresso. Additionally, the caffeine content is conditioned by the particular roast. For example, an espresso from one manufacturer may contain only about 50 mg of caffeine and from another supplier already 300 mg.
Another difference is the way the coffee is prepared, which affects more than just the taste. Filtered coffee does not drive up cholesterol levels because the ingredients cafestol and kahweol, which can lead to an increase in „bad“ LDL cholesterol, remain trapped in the paper filter. So you see, the whole thing cannot really be generalized.
Solution: Really good coffee!
As a general rule, four cups of coffee a day are not a problem and even have a positive effect on health and concentration. When buying coffee, however, attention should be paid to the quality of the beans. Whether coffee is healthy or not depends on the amount consumed per day. As with everything, the following applies: in moderation, not in masses. One should not start drinking coffee instead of water – coffee still does not function as a thirst quencher. In addition, too much caffeine can lead to potassium deficiency and cause muscle problems, fatigue and headaches.
Can you lose weight with coffee?
You hear on bush radio all the time that coffee is a miracle weapon in the fight against unwanted calories. Is there truth to this rumor?
Pro: Coffee stimulates your metabolism
Due to the stimulating effect of caffeine on the metabolism and the central nervous system, coffee is generally considered a diet hit. This is because coffee causes the body to produce more heat and thus consume more energy, ergo you burn more fat. That’s why people like to have a cup of coffee or espresso after a meal. Believing in the miraculous effect of caffeine, many people even take caffeine tablets as a dietary supplement to get closer to their dietary goal.
Our conclusion: coffee won’t harm your diet plans, but it’s also not the magic bullet you should rely on alone.
Cons: Side effects and short-term effects
However, nutritionists completely advise against using such supplements as a weight loss weapon. The possible side effects, such as excessive sweating or increased high blood pressure, seem too risky. All these approaches are thought to be too short-term to have a lasting effect. Our body gets used to caffeine consumption and adapts, which means that the desired effect also quickly wears off.
The process of losing weight is far too complex to be reduced to one food. Losing weight requires a balanced lifestyle with a healthy diet and sufficient exercise.
Bulletproof: butter + coffee = energy bomb?
Ever heard of the Paleo hype Bulletproof Coffee? This is a mixture of butter and coffee. What sounds unappetizing at first, finds numerous followers internationally who swear by the energy bomb. Above all, the satiating effect of Bulletproof Coffee is said to suffice as a substitute for meals and lead to high weight loss. But here, too, the effect is hotly disputed.