Coffee: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of your Daily Cup of Joe

“America’s Fuel Source”

How many of you drink at least one cup of coffee a day? How many of you are drinking a cup right now while reading this?

Coffee has turned into “America’s fuel source,” helping just about everyone over the age of 21 get through their day.

While we are on our daily caffeine high, we probably never stop to think about what exactly is the coffee doing? Is it having any positive or negative effects on me?

What exactly is coffee?

Coffee comes from the coffea plant that is native to subtropical Africa and southern Asia. This black drink is actually made from roasted coffee beans, which I’m sure you’ve all seen before, that are the seeds of berries from the coffea plant mentioned before.

That’s just a very, very brief lesson, let’s get into the good stuff.

The Good

Coffee actually does have some pretty profound health benefits that just up until recently, weren’t known about.

People who regularly drink coffee have been shown to have:

· Improved insulin sensitivity (which is a great thing for people suffering from type 2 diabetes)

· A lower number of cases of cancer, strokes, and heart problems

· Lower rates of developing Parkinson’s disease (coffee also has benefits for people who suffer from it)

· Lower rates of liver disease and cirrhosis

· Coffee has a very high number of antioxidants

· Coffee also contains several micronutrients such a magnesium, potassium, vitamin E, and niacin.

· Have an easier time “going” (although this may be bad for some)

Many of us normally don’t think of drinking coffee as having benefits to our health other than waking our lazy asses up but in fact it does have a number of benefits.

Even your coffee is happy when you drink it

However, as with most good things, they often come with some bad as well (even ugly in this case.)

The Bad

There are a few bad things that come with excessive coffee drinking that tend to creep up on us rather quickly:

· Unless you drink it black, we tend to load it full of unnecessary calories from sugar and fat

· It stains our teeth and makes our breath stink (Some people just have chronic coffee breath)

· It can get expensive especially if you’re using a Keurig or going to Starbucks every day for their Mocha Choca Vanilla Whipped Chai Pumpkin Spiced Vente Latte (Look it up, it’s on the menu)

Black Coffee is Gross!

Unfortunately, many people feel this way and end up adding a cup of creamer and 6 tablespoons of sugar (I know this because I’ve watched my dad do it for 21 years.)

If you think of how many cups of coffee you drink and add up all of the sugar and creamer you add to it, imagine the amount of empty calories you’re adding to your diet. Calories that supply you no nutritional value whatsoever.

I’m not saying to drop the sugar and creamer cold turkey and nose dive straight into black coffee because I’m not. A better strategy would be to start reducing how much cream and sugar you use. If you normally use 2 packets or 2 tablespoons of sugar, reduce it to 1. Eventually you can go to black coffee but for now, start slow.

After me choking down many cups of coffee just for the caffeine, I grew to actually love the taste of black coffee and I believe that if you get a high enough quality coffee, you’ll love the taste of it too.

Yellow Teeth and Stinky Breath (sounds like the title to a very bad night)

We all know that coffee stains our teeth, eats away at the enamel and makes our breath smell like dog poo but that doesn’t stop most of us including myself. I’m addicted. I’m sure you are as well.

Other than whitening your teeth periodically and chewing some gum, I really don’t have any help for you on this one. Either suck it up and deal with it or start sipping some tea instead.

If anyone wants to make a stupid amount of money, create a coffee that doesn’t make your breath smell bad.

Spending your Life Savings at Starbucks

I know I talk a lot of shit about Starbucks in here but I actually love it there. The atmosphere is cool and laid back, most of the time the people working there are always in a good mood, and their coffee is great in my opinion.

This doesn’t take away from the fact that Starbucks can take a significant cut out of your retirement fund. Most drinks average $5. If you get that 5 times a week, that’s $25 and for 52 weeks would be $1,300.

Now I know that’s not a lot of money in the grand scheme of things but imagine if you put that $5 per day in a good mutual fund that gives you a 10% return. This would net you well over $100,000 (I’ll leave the math up to you.)

Just let that sink in the next time you’re waiting in line for half hour to get your unfestive red cup.

The Ugly

No, the ugly is not you without your coffee in the morning, believe it or not.

It is the addiction and reliance we get from the caffeine consumed in the coffee. If you’re an experienced coffee drinker, you probably know what I’m talking about as by now, you need an IV drip of coffee just to keep you moving throughout the day.

An 8oz cup of light roast coffee contains roughly 100mg of caffeine. When we first start drinking coffee, this amount is great as it provides the perfect boost that we need in the morning. However, after sometime 1 cup just isn’t cutting it so we make it 2 cups. And 3 cups. And 4 cup. And by the time you realize it you’re drinking 10 cups of coffee a day. This is most likely an exaggeration for some but might actually be a reality for others.

The reason why we need coffee in the first place is that our body releases adenosine when we’re tired. When we drink coffee and consume the caffeine, the caffeine binds to the adenosine receptor giving us that boost. However, because of this our body produces even more adenosine meaning we will need more coffee to get that same boost. See where this is going?

However, once we stop drinking coffee or miss a cup, our body continues to produce that excess amount of adenosine and we start to become groggy, grumpy, and can often result in headaches.

A way to slowly ween yourself off of coffee is to start slow and reduce your intake by about a cup per week. If you’re like me and enjoy the taste of coffee, you can also venture to the dark side and use decaf instead.

What does this all mean?

In case you were or weren’t wondering what effects coffee had on you, I wanted to lay them out and show you that it in fact can be beneficial. So next time your smartass coworker tells you he can smell your coffee breath from across the room, tell them the health benefits of drinking coffee and to shove it up their “you know what.”

However, the real moral of the story is that if you know someone hasn’t had their coffee yet, stay the hell out of their way.

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