Coffee - Good? Bad?

And can it make you put on weight?

Coffee, oh the smell, the taste, the addiction. 


If there is one thing that has a lot of controversy in the health world, it’s whether coffee is good for you or not. 


So, read on to find out more.  Plus, tips on how to replace coffee with alternatives.

Truth be told, I’m a coffee lover.  I used to drink three a day, with two sugars in them each!  That’s until I was encouraged to give coffee a break to help with my PMS. 


It wasn’t until I cut out the coffee (which was like pulling teeth) that I realised that having 3 cups a day was actually affecting me. 


It would affect my bladder, sending me running to the loo a lot.  If I had them too close together I would get shaky and a little hypo, and then a little bitchy on the come-down.  And if I had it in the afternoon it would affect my sleep. 


So, I gave it up … for a while.  And then the smell, the taste, the addiction – it all came back.  But, now I only have one every few days, and I seem to be okay with that amount.

So, what are the cons of coffee?

  • Coffee can activate your “fight and flight” response, which gets your cortisol and adrenaline going in your body – considering most of us aren’t in life and death situations, this response is a state we do not want our body’s to be in most of the time.

  • It can give you an “up” but then there is always a “down”.  This is a result from the fight and flight response activating the glucose in our body, and then when the glucose dips lower our body needs more, so we quite often seek out sugary foods or drinks to quickly replace it.

  • When your body is in “fight or flight” response, it thinks that it needs to store fuel to use in a life and death situation, and the insulin from the sugary food you have just eaten gets stored as fat, meaning we put on weight.

  • In many people it can cause nervousness, anxiety or a feeling of being “hypo” or being unable to switch off.

  • Can cause insomnia, or having you wake in the night when your liver is trying to detox the caffeine.

  • Can affect bladder and bowel function – have you going too much.

  • Coffee can cause a lot of inflammation in our system as it thinks it had to be in “fight or flight” mode, meaning the nutrients to our hair, skin, nails and other organs are not being received.

  • Hormones can be affected due to your liver being overloaded by liver loaders such as caffeine, so then your body can not detox hormones as necessary and send them back into our system contributing to PMS and menopause.

  • Can raise blood pressure and has been linked to heart problems and allergies.

  • Can cause indigestion or stomach upsets.

  • Can cause adrenal fatigue – our adrenal glands can get over exhausted when constantly being in “fight or flight” mode, and can then no longer function correctly, which causes adrenal fatigue (i.e. your constantly really really tired).

Okay, now what’s the other side?  What are the benefits of coffee?

  • The smell, the taste, the sitting down with friends for a coffee, the routine of it all.  That sucks most people in.

  • Provides a kick of energy - many of us rely on coffee to get us going in the mornings.

  • Can boost your metabolic rate and aid in fat burning – I know I eat less when I have a coffee (however, apparently these affects can diminish over time, damn it.  Plus, I’m not nourishing my body with good food).

  • The adrenaline caffeine causes can be helpful when exercising.

  • Coffee contains nutrients including Riboflavin, Pantothenic Acid, Manganese, Potassium, Magnesium and Niacin.

  • Coffee MAY protect you from some diseases like Parkinson’s, diabetes, dementia and lower the risk of stroke.

  • Can lower your risk of depression.

So, coffee – yay or nay? 


Really, I think it comes down the to the individual and your particular body type. 


Ultimately, if you’re happy and healthy enough having a few cups a day and you don’t have any health risks, it may be fine for you (however, ultimately, I’d say one a day is best). 


But having more than three a day can definitely start to cause some issues, not to mention actually being addicted to it.  And yes, it can make you retain weight.


Ultimately, going for an organic coffee is your best bet, as there are many chemical sprays on regular beans, not to mention mould, so organic is the best option.  Bullet proof coffee may also be a great alternative.


However, if you do have any health issues, not sleeping well, hormones out of balance, bladder or bowel issues or anything mentioned in the “con’s” area, I would highly suggest cutting it out for a few weeks to see if you have any changes.  You may be surprised.

Cutting out coffee


Just start slowly, decreasing by a cup a day, and replacing with another drink (see below).  Be aware though that you may get some “detox” headaches etc when cutting down, so just take it slowly, and keep hydrated. 


Coffee alternatives:


  • Herbal teas

  • Green tea

  • Green smoothies

  • Lemon in warm water

  • Coconut water

  • Kombucha

  • Matcha green tea powder  

  • Dandelion coffee


What about Decaf Coffee?


Quite often, decaf can still contain some caffeine.  Also, originally, the process to extract the caffeine meant the use of many chemicals.  However, now some companies use a water extraction method called Swiss water extraction which is a better option.


Some brands to try:

Alternatively, try some foods that will give you a natural energy hit:

  • Banana

  • Nut butters

  • Kale

  • Hummus

  • Nuts and seeds

  • Spinach

  • Avocado

  • Eggs

  • Apple

  • Berries

  • Also, take vitamin B12 to help increase energy

All in all, whether you are drinking coffee or not, make sure you nourish your body with lots of whole-foods and drinks to keep you energised and healthy.

Keen to find out more about losing weight, gaining energy and balancing your hormones?  Then click here to find out more.

Image by Alexa Suter

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