Starting your day with a cup of Joe not only helps you face the day, it can affect your health. There are many misconceptions and myths about the value of including coffee in your daily diet. Can coffee help you lose weight? Will drinking coffee help you live longer? Will you get dehydrated if you drink too much?
According to USA Today, here are the truths surrounding some common beliefs about coffee:
- Drinking coffee helps you lose weight. The caffeine in coffee boosts your metabolism, says dietitian Katherine Zeratsky from the Mayo Clinic. “Caffeine can increase your basal metabolic rate, but the basal metabolic rate has only a small percentage overall of what happens when we burn calories,” she tells USA Today. “It’s probably not going to be significant enough to see a change in weight that most people are looking for.” Other nutritional experts point out that drinking a cup of coffee before a meal may suppress your appetite so that you won’t consume as many calories.
- Coffee is healthy for you. According to WebMD, dark roast coffee contains the vitamin riboflavin to promote the growth of healthy cells and maintain good blood flow. It also contains pantothenic acid that helps your body convert food into energy. Recent studies show that coffee may reduce the risk of prostate cancer. “Coffee does have some unique compounds that are beneficial to health,” says Edward Giovannucci, a professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health. “These include some antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds.” He also cautions that caffeine increases the risk of pregnancy loss in pregnant women and consuming too much can raise blood pressure and cause sleep disturbances. “Yet, overall, coffee drinkers have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease,” says Giovannucci.
- Coffee stunts your growth. If children drink coffee or other caffeinated beverages, such as sodas, instead of more nutritious foods, this could affect their growth potential, says Zeratsky, according to USA Today.
- Coffee affects longevity. Drinking java can increase your lifespan according to several studies that found drinking coffee, whether caffeinated or decaf, has an “inverse association with mortality” even among participants who drank up to eight cups daily. A 2019 study found that drinking even one cup of coffee is linked to a 3% reduced risk of death while downing three cups reduced mortality by 13%.
- Drinking coffee dehydrates you. Coffee is a fluid that can help you meet your daily need for hydration, but drinking too much has a diuretic effect, says Ashley Shaw, a registered dietitian with Shaw Nutrition. “Basically, a diuretic just kind of causes you to go to the bathroom more, so you are having more fluids leave the body,” she tells USA Today. “So, a balance of one or two cups should be fine.”
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