By Jenna Lincoln:

So of course I had to buy a nice creamy coffee before I could delve into the good, the bad and the ugly about coffee.

Some swear they can’t start the day without it, many models live off it as do many stressed out big-bellied bankers.  So what’s going on?  Is coffee good for us?  Does it help with fat loss or does it make us gain fat?

I find myself talking to clients often on this topic and that’s because it’s a very confusing topic when it comes to health and fat loss.  It’s also one that’s of great interest to me being a coffee lover that sees great benefits in avoiding it also.

Much can be said on this topic, but for the purpose of this blog, I will present key facts that have come about from studies and try to help you as a coffee drinker make a more informed choice.

Lets start with the ‘good’ in coffee:

There are several studies out there that link regular coffee consumption to life longevity and lowered risk of a variety of cancers, heart attack and heart disease due to its high antioxidant content.  It can improve vascular and cholesterol health.  Research shows that coffee can improve fat burning and potentially influence the body composition as greater intake is associated with lower triglyceride levels and better glucose tolerance.  It furthermore increases your metabolic rate so you burn more calories, and can help shift body fat rather than glucose for energy.  Coffee also controls blood sugar and can improve insulin sensitivity. Caffeine also increases power and strength performance, so a pre-workout coffee can certainly help your performance in the gym and improve your results; and speed up recovery and reduce muscle soreness according to researchers.  They suggest that caffeine may improve muscle glycogen re-synthesis post work-out while mobilising fatty acids to be burned for fuel during exercise.

Sounds too good to be true.  But before you go order your next cup let’s take a look at the darker side of coffee.

Coffee as we generally consume it (the bad):

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‘Associative addictions trend with coffee – who doesn’t immediately think of warm, frothy sweet cream and sugar when they picture coffee?  Surely the business of coffee has inspired a culture addicted to the sugary, fatty tastes of what has become more of a meal then a drink!’  Dr Hyman

The darker side of coffee reveals a less encouraging picture: inflammation, hormonal imbalance, compromised nutrition, over-worked, stressed out, fatigued, depressed and toxic bodies.  This is where the coffee gets pushed aside and we ask the waiter for that green juice we were going to order originally.

According to Dr Hyman, Director of the Ultra Wellness Centre, the caffeine in coffee increases catecholamine, your stress hormones.  The stress response elicits cortisol and increases insulin.  Insulin increases inflammation and this makes you feel lousy.  Adaptation to caffeine decreases insulin sensitivity, making it difficult for your cells to respond appropriately to blood sugar.  High blood sugar levels lead to arterial deterioration and increased risk of mortality related to cardiovascular disease. Which is the exact opposite to what I’ve just been writing about.  Confusing.

He also states: “Unfiltered coffee has the highest amount of beneficial antioxidants yet also leaks the most diterpenes into your system.  These diterpenes have been linked to higher levels of triglycerides, LDL and VLDL levels. The helpful chlorogenic acids which may delay glucose absorption in the intestine have also been shown to increase homocysteine levels- an indicator for increased risk of cardiovascular disease which tends to be elevated in diabesity. The acidity of coffee is associated with digestive discomfort, indigestion, heart burn, GERD and dysbiosis (imbalances in your gut flora).  Addiction is often an issue with coffee drinkers and makes it really difficult to rely on the body’s natural source of energy”

You can read the full article here: http://drhyman.com/blog/2012/06/13/ten-reasons-to-quit-your-coffee/

The ugly truth: What I know….

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The few things I do know for sure is that coffee is loved by billions around the world and after crude oil, coffee is the most sought after commodity in the world.  It is worth over $100 billion worldwide!  The world is addicted to coffee.

Now as we all know, to make things cheap in the consumer world, more needs to be produced in shorter time periods, and to meet demand farmers cannot risk a bad crop.  For this reason coffee is one of the most chemically treated crops in the world. According to the CS Monitor, up to 250 pounds of chemical fertilisers are sprayed per acre of non-organic coffee.  When you sip your conventional coffee, you are ingesting the pesticide residues, which contribute to many health problems including cancer and miscarriages in pregnant women.

Not only this, but how many of us actually drink our coffee black, organic, fresh pressed without the addition of milk and sugar? The sugar and milk alone cause enough health problems and could be an explanation for a lot of the bad press related to coffee studies, but unless your coffee is organic you are definitely ingesting a lot of rubbish for your body to deal with.

To conclude from my own experience: I love coffee, especially with almond milk.  The true reality of it is that when I cut it out, even black organic coffee, I personally look and feel a lot better.  My energy feels natural and the glow comes back to my skin. This to me is enough evidence that my insides are happier without it.

If you currently drink coffee, feel great and full of energy, sleep well and have good skin – chances are your body is dealing with it just fine. But if not, I suggest you try cutting it out and see how you feel. After all we are all individual.  ‘One man’s poison is another man’s medicine.’

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