I wanted to take a moment to respond to an article in the Huffington Post that has recently gained a lot of traction. The article “11 Reasons You Should Drink Coffee Every Day” is correct in that coffee does contain a number of healthy compounds, such as chlorogenic acid, which has been shown to have a number of health-promoting effects such as prevention of cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s disease later in life, among others. Coffee consumption has also been linked to a decrease in mortality.
The quote “nothing else comes close” to providing as many antioxidants as coffee is a little eluding. Personally, I don’t care for the term “antioxidant” in general because its pretty much a marketing term (consumers resonate with it and therefore its widely used by companies). Sure antioxidants will keep your food from oxidizing (we add antioxidants to foods such as bread to keep it from going stale), but new research within the past decade show that phytonutrients such as chlorogenic acid in coffee are effective not because of their antioxidant properties, but because they have the ability to influence a number of inflammatory pathways and responses in the body. Many other foods such as blueberries and broccoli have shown benefits equal to or greater than those of coffee. The best thing you can do is consume a variety of healthy foods, including a daily cup of black coffee.
Along those lines, I also want to point out that all of the research showing beneficial effects is on straight up black coffee. So think twice before you run grab a 600 calorie grande iced frappuccino full of sugar and creamer (the extra calories and added sugar probably outweigh the benefits). The amount of caffeine you ingest daily is also relevant to this discussion… The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association) has the position that 200-300 mg of caffeine per day is safe for adults. An 8 ounce cup of black coffee contains about 80-120 mg of caffeine. Four or more cups of coffee a day to prevent type-2 diabetes seems a little extreme to me. Coffee is a very enjoyable and healthy product, but as I say in many of my blogs, MODERATION is the key to a healthy diet and lifestyle.