Disease Proof

Have a Drink, But Which One?

Here’s a curious little report from The New York Times. Last year, the Unilever Health Institute published a “Beverage Guidance System” in order to help people make more informed beverage choices. It’s worth noting that Unilever also owns Lipton Tea, keep that in mind. Jane E. Brody reports:
Coffee, Tea and Caffeine
Here the news is better. Several good studies have linked regular coffee consumption to a reduced risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, colorectal cancer and, in men and in women who have not taken postmenopausal hormones, Parkinson’s disease.

Most studies have not linked a high intake of either coffee or caffeine to heart disease, even though caffeinated coffee raises blood pressure somewhat and boiled unfiltered coffee (French-pressed and espresso) raises harmful LDL and total cholesterol levels.

Caffeine itself is not thought to be a problem for health or water balance in the body, up to 400 milligrams a day (the amount in about 30 ounces of brewed coffee). But pregnant women should limit their intake because more than 300 milligrams a day might increase the risk of miscarriage and low birth weight, the panel said.

Mice prone to an Alzheimer’s-like disease were protected by drinking water spiked with caffeine equivalent to what people get from five cups of coffee a day. And a study of more than 600 men suggested that drinking three cups of coffee a day protects against age-related memory and thinking deficits.
Okay, Unilever’s research does a nice job bashing sweetened drinks and alcohol, but—and Dr. Fuhrman would agree—it goes way too easy on milk, and, pulls a lot of punches when it comes to caffeinated beverages. Again, a major tea-producer is behind this report. Now I’m no lawyer, but in the court of life, shouldn’t this research be thrown out the window?

So, allow DiseaseProof to provide objective criticism on caffeinated beverages, and what the heck, milk too. Let’s start with caffeine, Dr. Fuhrman talks about it in Eat to Live:
Caffeine addicts are at higher risk of cardiac arrhythmias that could precipitate sudden death.1 Coffee raises blood pressure and raises cholesterol and homocysteine, two risk factors for heart disease.2
And a little more on caffeine from Disease-Proof Your Child:
Caffeine has been a controversial topic for decades. Evidence clearly concludes that heavy coffee drinkers have an increased risk of miscarriage and low birth weight infants, but evidence is not clear for moderate users of caffeine.3 Nevertheless, is wise to stay away from as many potentially harmful substances as possible. The bottom line, if in doubt, don’t do it.
I agree with Dr. Fuhrman on this one. I used to drink a lot of coffee, which contributed to intense bouts with gastiris—that often landed me in the hospital! But, since I ditched the coffee/caffeine cold-turkey and began eating my weight in fruits and veggies, I haven’t had a problem since. Okay, now what about milk? From Disease-Proof Your Child:
The leading cause of digestive intolerance leading to stomach complaints is dairy products. Many kids have subtle allergies to cow's milk that perpetuate their nasal congestion, leading to ear infections.


Milk, which is designed by nature for the rapidly growing cow, has about half its calories supplied from fat. The fatty component is concentrated more to make cheese and butter. Milk and cheese are the foods Americans encourage their children to eat, believing them to be healthy foods. Fifty years of heavy advertising by an economically powerful industry has shaped the public's perception, illustrating the power of one-sided advertising, but the reality and true health effects on our children is a different story. Besides the link between high-saturated-fat foods (dairy fat) and cancer, there is a body of scientific literature linking the consumption of cow's milk to many other diseases. If we expect our children to resist many common illnesses, they simply must consume less milk, cheese, and butter. Dairy foods should be consumed in limited quantity or not at all.
Pretty scary stuff, right? Now this report makes me wonder. For example, what if Coca-Cola, Anheuser-Busch, Lipton Tea, and The American Dairy Association had all gotten together to publish this beverage guide? Seems to me that all four beverage choices would have received a glowing endorsement—aren’t hidden agendas grand! That's why I drink water.

Curious about alcohol and soft drinks, check out these previous posts:
1. Mehta, A., A. C. Jain, M.C. Mehta, and M. Billie. 1997. Caffeine and cardiac arrhythmias: an experimental study in dogs with review of literature. Acta Cardiol. 52 (3):273-83.

2. Nurminen, M.L., L. Niittymen, R. Korpela, and H. Vapaatalo. 1999. Coffee, caffeine and blood pressure: a critical review. Eur. J. Clin. Nutr. 53 (11): 831-39; Christensen, B., A. Mosdol, L. Rettersol, et al. 2001. Abstention from filtered coffee reduces the concentration of plasma homocysteine and serum cholesterol—a randomized controlled trail. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 74(3):302-07.

3. Bracken MB, Triche EW, Belanger K, et. Al. Association of maternal caffeine consumption with decrements in fetal growth. Am J Epidemiol 2003; 157(5): 456-466. Vik T, Bakketeig LS, Trygg KU, et al. High caffeine consumption in the third trimester of pregnancy: gender-specific effects on fetal growth. Paediatr Perinat Epidemiol 2003; 17(4):324-331. Rasch V. Cigarette, alcohol, and caffeine consumption: risk factors for spontaneous abortion. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand 2003;82(2): 182-188.
Trackbacks (0) Links to blogs that reference this article Trackback URL
Comments (0) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Dr. Fuhrman's Executive Offices
4 Walter E. Foran Blvd.
Suite 408
Flemington, NJ 08822