October 22, 2019

5 most common myths about drinking coffee

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By Richard Scott

Imagine this:

You meet a friend whom you haven’t seen for ages. You two decide to stop by a coffeehouse to chat over a cup of your favorite beverage. Surprisingly for you, your friend orders a cup of herbal tea, giving you a judgemental look and starting to blame coffee in causing addiction, insomnia, depression, cancer… you name it.

Yes, there’s a lot of controversy around coffee.

And despite it has been one of the most popular hot beverages throughout the world for the last two centuries, the number of coffee-related myths and misconceptions seems only to multiply with time.

Today, I want to debunk 5 most common myths about drinking coffee so that you would have facts to share with that friend the next time you meet.

#1 Caffeine Is Highly Addictive

Quite a lot of people believe that caffeine causes a strong addiction comparable with that caused by alcohol and tobacco.

In fact, caffeine can cause slight dependency, like all stimulants, and does have a withdrawal syndrome characterized by the following unpleasant symptoms:

  • headache;
  • irritability;
  • nausea;
  • fatigue.

The good news is that these symptoms disappear within 1 day.

Well, or two, in case you’re a really hardcore fan of this beverage.

Therefore, if you suddenly decide to quit drinking coffee, it will be easier than you think.

#2 Coffee Is Bad For Your Heart. And Bones. And Immune System. And Whatever

Since we figured out that coffee is a stimulant, does this mean that it harms our heart, causing it to beat faster than it should? Many people also believe that caffeine causes osteoporosis by washing out calcium from our bones and is responsible for certain cancers.

Okay, let’s look at each of these myths.

Assuming a connection between coffee consumption and cardiovascular health seems logical.

But here’s the truth:

According to the American Heart Association, there is no significant evidence that moderate coffee consumption is bad for heart health. In fact, it can be quite the opposite.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Coffee can really make your heart beat faster. For a short period. But the worst case scenario can happen only if you have hypertension or drink literally gallons of coffee.

The same with osteoporosis.

Yes, coffee contributes to the leaching of calcium out of the bones, but for any pathologies to develop, you need to drink exclusively coffee and in large amounts.

As for cancer, scientists still do not fully understand the mechanisms of its development. But some studies prove that coffee — if consumed moderately — can reduce the risks of pharynx, liver, colon cancer and melanoma.

Bottom line?

Drink healthy amounts of coffee (no more than 3-4 cups a day) and you’ll be fine. Or switch to decaf.

#3 Decaf Means No Caffeine

Speaking of decaf, here goes another myth:

People often tend to think that decaf means zero caffeine.

Well, it’s not.

The truth is, the amount of caffeine in decaffeinated coffee is so small that you won’t feel its effects. The percentage may vary depending on the extraction method, but usually, it is as low as 3%.

That’s because you can’t remove it completely.

Even the extraction method called “Swiss water” — which, according to its creators, is capable of removing up to 99.9% of the caffeine from coffee beans — still leaves 0.1%.

Most people believe decaf to be inferior in taste. But interestingly enough, a simple blind test can prove there is very little difference in taste between decaf and regular coffee, so that’s just another myth. Anyway, decaf has one significant advantage — you can enjoy it late in the evening not worrying about disrupting your sleep.”

#4 The Lighter the Roast Is, the Less Caffeine It Contains

This one is the most controversial.

Some people believe that dark roasts contain more caffeine (because they’re darker, you know!), while others think that the darker the roast is, the less caffeine it contains (because it allegedly evaporates).

Let me clear this up.

First, the amount of caffeine doesn’t differ a lot by the cup. So, if you think you will get more energized if you go with a cup of the darkest roast coffee,I have to disappoint you — the difference will hardly be noticeable.

Second, lighter roasts are actually higher in caffeine. They are roasted for less time and, therefore, preserve more of their original attributes. But again, the difference is not significant for an average person who drinks a few cups of coffee a day.

Also, the amount of caffeine depends on the coffee variety. See, there are two most common species of coffee beans — arabica and robusta.

Robusta, as the name suggests, is more robust and potent in caffeine, but its flavor profile is blander. Arabica, on the other hand, is more fragrant and flavorful, but it has lesser caffeine contents.

Most coffee brands use blends of arabica and robusta. Depending on what you want to get from your morning coffee — whether it’s energy boost, flavor, or both — you can choose blends with different percentage of these two coffee species.”

#5 A Cup of Espresso Can Sober You Up

There’s hardly a person on earth who has never had a fun, boozy night after which they wanted to die.

Different solutions can be used to get oneself back to normal functioning. And coffee is thought to be one of them. You have probably heard that it can help break down alcohol and sober you up faster.

But is that true?

The answer may be disappointing for some of you.

There is no way to improve the speed of metabolic reactions from the outside. Otherwise, all those magical teas for quick weight loss would work. Although coffee really can make you more alert, it does not relieve the hangover symptoms.

IMAGE Credits – supplied by author

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