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The downside to coffee

Posted on June 5, 2014 by 40 Mile Commentator

By Jamie Rieger

With the good comes the bad. Last week, I wrote about some of the benefits of drinking coffee, so this week, I thought I would look at the other side of the coin and write about some of the health risks involved with drinking coffee.

Most of the articles I found referenced a study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, that studied the health records of 45,000 people (I am assuming all American) and their coffee habits.

Another article referenced the Harvard School of Public Health and John Hopkins School of Medicine. The results are somewhat similar and most studies show that like most other things, coffee in moderation is just fine, but too much and there can be concerns.

Also, some of the studies looked at caffeine in general and not just coffee, so one must factor in their cola and tea consumption as well.

Caffeine can be addictive, and increases anxiety, disrupts sleep patterns, and can lead to that vicious cycle of daytime fatigue and insomnia at night.

It can also interact with medications, so if you are taking thyroid medication, or certain antibiotics or heartburn medication, washing your pills down with a cup of coffee may not be a good idea.

It can also cause your blood pressure to spike.

Post menopausal women who drink more than three cups a day and do not get enough calcium in their diet may need to take calcium supplements as caffeine can lead to spinal bone loss, according to Bess Dawson-Hughes, MD, director of the Bone Metabolism Laboratory at Tufts University in Boston.

If you drink a lot of coffee, you may also have heartburn or issues with acid reflux. (Some research suggest that decaf is actually worse than caffeinated coffee for increasing stomach acid.)

Coffee is also a diuretic, so drinking cup after cup with no water intake (amount should be at least equal to the coffee intake) can lead to dehydration.

While all of the studies I read determined that moderation is key, three cups a day seems to be the magic number to reap the benefits of coffee without experiencing the hazards. Any more than three cups and the risks start out-weighing the benefits.

This sort of reminds me of the optimal driving speed where you drive the speed that is most efficient for time and fuel consumption. However, driving at that speed does not guarantee you will not have a wreck.

So, I will still enjoy my morning cup of brewed coffee, but in small doses.

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