A new study printed in the upcoming issue of Circulation claims heavy coffee consumption does not harm the heart. Prompting Reuters to encourage people to go ahead and order that second cup of coffee—or third, or fourth! Good thing, because according to Esther Lopez-Garcia coffee is an extremely popular drink worldwide:
"We believe this study clearly shows there is no association between filtered coffee consumption and coronary heart disease," said Esther Lopez-Garcia, an instructor in the School of Medicine at the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid in Spain, who worked on the study.
"This lack of effect is good news, because coffee is one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world."
Don't park yourself at your local coffee house just yet. The study does warn that heavy coffee drinkers also tend to smoke and drink alcohol more often. Two factors that clearly compromise health, but according to Dr. Fuhrman coffee is dangerous enough on its own.
In his book Eat to Live Dr. Fuhrman provides two reasons why lots of coffee shouldn't be included in a healthy diet:
First caffeine is a stimulant that allows you to get by with less sleep and reduces the depth of sleep. Sleep deprivation results in higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol and interferes with glucose metabolism, leading to insulin resistance.1 This insulin resistance, and subsequent higher baseline glucose level, further promotes heart disease and other problems. In other words, caffeine consumption promotes inadequate sleep, and less sleep promotes disease and premature aging. Adequate sleep is also necessary to prevent overeating. There is no substitute for adequate sleep.
The second issue is that eating more frequently and eating more food suppresses caffeine-withdrawal headaches and other withdrawal symptoms. When you are finally finished digesting the meal, the body more effectively cleans house; at this time people experience a drive to eat more to suppress caffeine-withdrawal symptoms. You are prodded to eat again, eating more food than you would if you were not a caffeine addict.
One cup of coffee per day is not likely to cause a significant risk, but drinking more than this one-cup maximum can interfere with your health and your weight-loss goals.
Dr. Fuhrman also refers to coffee as a mind altering substance that prohibits total nutrition excellence. But for heavy coffee drinkers quitting is tough and can leave you feeling lousy. Here's some words of wisdom from Dr. Fuhrman to help you soldier through it:
You could feel better by drinking a cup of coffee every three hours, evenly spaced out, to keep you caffeine blood levels constant. Or you could take medications such as Fioricet, Cafergot, Excedrin, Esgic, Fiorinol, Migrainal, Wigraine, and others whose active ingredients are narcotics, barbiturates, ergotamines, or caffeine; or you can just get some amphetamines or cocaine from the alley behind the liquor store. Either way, I hope you understand that temporarily feeling better does not mean getting well. Putting toxic drugs in your body can only compromise your health and lead to further dependence and suffering. In order to detoxify, you need to feel worse, not better; then after the withdrawal symptoms are completed, you will truly become well.
1. Spiegel, K., R. Leproult, and E. V. Van Cauter. 1999. Impact of sleep debt on metabolic and endocrine function. Lancet 354 (9188): 1435-39.