I have been drinking coffee since I was about 15, although I only started drinking it regularly when I was 18. Now I am 20 and I still drink coffee everyday, but I’m having doubts about this habit of mine.
I guess this dependence on caffeine was heavily influenced by watching my parents drinking coffee every single day (all addictions start by watching others consuming). They never tried to make me drink coffee, but I was super curious about the miraculous beverage everyone drank to get energy. How could a drink, mostly made from water, give me even more energy?! I had to try it! And so I did… and I liked it! I like it so much, I drink it every day now! I don’t drink it to give me energy (I have plenty of energy without it), I drink it because I like the flavour and the smell (allegedly 5-methyl-furfuran is one of the several compounds responsible for its characteristic smell, along with acetone, 2-methyl-furan and isoprene). I do, I really do, I never put sugar or anything that changes that acidic flavour I love so much. But lately, I’ve been asking myself if this addiction of mine is really healthy and, on the top of all, if it is really necessary to spend time everyday making and drinking coffee. That led me to a quick online delving into the world of coffee (get ready for the scientific diarrhoea).
Coffee is one of the most popular beverages in the world, without a doubt. And we can safely say its popularity has been growing in the last decades. Recently, Nestlé created a robot to help sell coffee in Japanese stores! In Britain, that mouldy island famous for its tea, an estimated 70 million cups of coffee are drunk just in one day! A drink of this magnitude must have its perks.
From what I could gather, scientific literature is not really consensual about the benefits and disadvantages of coffee, but I noticed a clear tendency towards the benefits. Coffee was shown to decrease the risk of Diabetes Type 2 by 50% in people who drink four or more cups of coffee a day, probably acting by the inhibition of amyloid formation. Moderate coffee consumption was also shown to effectively reduce energy intake in the following meal and in the total day compared to lower or no coffee intake in overweight participants. The antioxidant effect of coffee, by diminishing the reactive species of oxygen (compounds that damage the cells), is one of its best studied effects and also one of the most desirable. Finally, the improvement of memory and the induction of an arousal state are clearly the most recognizable effects of caffeine consumption.
Despite this several benefits, some concerns about coffee are constantly being raised. Some articles I’ve found shown that coffee consumption may have an undesirable effect on plasma cholesterol and inflammation biomarkers regardless of its antioxidant content. The increase in the blood pressure is also one of the undesirable concerns often raised, but some studies seem to disprove this theory. Despite some common beliefs, coffee is not linked to spina bifida or pancreatic cancer. In general, coffee has been studied over and over again and even the mug in which we drink it affects its taste. Apparently, coffee from a white mug is perceived as more bitter than exactly the same coffee when consumed from a transparent mug!
After all this scientific talking, what’s my take home message here? From what I could gather, there’s nothing wrong in drinking coffee everyday. In a matter of fact, coffee consumption has several advantages, but I just can’t have this addiction of mine who is taking control of some aspects of my life. I just don’t want to have to drink coffee every morning so I don’t get a massive headache from coffee whithdrawal. After all, an addiction is an addiction, even though CGP Grey calls it the greatest addiction ever!
For now, I’ll cut back on coffee and start drinking tea.