Coffee A Health Food?
A few days ago Nicholas Bakalar of The New York Times wrote a story quoting researchers saying that coffee might actually be good for us; suggesting its has the ability to reduce the risk of diseases like diabetes and cirrhosis of the liver:
Coffee is not usually thought of as health food, but a number of recent studies suggest that it can be a highly beneficial drink. Researchers have found strong evidence that coffee reduces the risk of several serious ailments, including diabetes, heart disease and cirrhosis of the liver.Accompanying the article (on the left) is a list of related studies also proclaiming the healthful qualities of java. Since coffee consumption is a hot topic (pun intended) I decided to ask Dr. Fuhrman what he thinks of all this. His response:
Among them is a systematic review of studies published last year in The Journal of the American Medical Association, which concluded that habitual coffee consumption was consistently associated with a lower risk of Type 2 diabetes. Exactly why is not known, but the authors offered several explanations.
Coffee contains antioxidants that help control the cell damage that can contribute to the development of the disease. It is also a source of chlorogenic acid, which has been shown in animal experiments to reduce glucose concentrations.
Coffee is a toasted plant food that contains some nutritive and some toxic substances. It has both beneficial and hurtful properties. There are enough really healthy foods and drinks available that do not carry addictive baggage like coffee. Plus, the withdrawal from caffeine leads to more frequent eating. Just because there might be some phytonutrient contribution from coffee that has some value for a junk-food-eating American, does not make me classify it as a health-supporting practice. Addicts are always searching for justification so they can rationalize continuing their addictions. We are a nation of addicts and coffee is a contributor to that. Anyone can see the results, with 80 percent of people overweight and sickly with the vast majority of people dying of diseases of nutritional ignorance. Drinking coffee may not be the worst thing people do, but it is not a solution either.Dr. Fuhrman also suggested I take a look at a recent study linking coffee consumption with heart attacks. Here’s a link to the ABC News Report: Does Coffee Brew Heart Attacks?
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