Coffee. What’s the deal?

Mmmmmm yummm. The smell of coffee is intoxicating. It really is so good! And what about all of the antioxidants, isn’t coffee proven to keep our mind sharp?

Coffee is one of the foods (we’ll call it a food) people ask me about on the regular. And every other week there is another headline proclaiming coffees miraculous benefits or demonizing its existence. So where does GBW stand and what do I recommend?

After recently leading a 21 day detox program, it’s clear to me, coffee shouldn’t run our lives! After slowly weaning off the coffee, the detoxers couldn’t have previously imagined just how much energy they would have without their morning joe. And energy that was long lasting, with a clear mind.

Here are 10 other reasons to cut back (or quit!) on the coffee: (thanks Dr. Mark Hyman!)

  • The caffeine in coffee increases your stress hormones. The stress response elicits cortisol and increases insulin. Insulin increases inflammation, and this makes you feel lousy. (Insulin is also your FAT storage hormone… we want to keep it to a minimum for obvious reasons)
  • Habituation to caffeine decreases insulin sensitivity (i.e. more insulin in your blood- remember what insulin does… see above), making it difficult for your cells to respond appropriately to blood sugar. High blood sugar levels lead to arterial deterioration and increased risk of mortality related to cardiovascular disease.
thanks Dr. Gottfried
thanks Dr. Sara Gottfried
feel tired… drink more coffee…
  • Unfiltered coffee has the highest amount of beneficial antioxidants yet also leaks the most diterpenes into your system. These diterpenes have been linked to higher levels of triglycerides, LDL and VLDL levels (colloquially: bad cholesterol).
  • The helpful chlorogenic acids that may delay glucose absorption in the intestine have also been shown to increase homocysteine levels — an indicator for increased risk of cardiovascular disease, which tends to be elevated in diabesity.
  • The acidity of coffee is associated with digestive discomfort, indigestion, heart burn, GERD and dysbiosis (imbalances in your gut flora). (Although a little acid for some is helpful)
  • Addiction is often an issue with coffee drinkers and makes it really difficult to rely on the body’s natural source of energy. Ask any coffee drinker about how it feels to withdraw from coffee, and you will mistake their story for that of a drug addict’s…
  • Associative addictions trend with coffee — who doesn’t immediately think of warm, frothy sweet cream and sugar (or um hello – baked goods!) when they picture coffee? Surely the business of coffee has inspired a culture addicted to the sugary, fatty tastes of what has become more of a meal than a drink! That morning latte is the epitome of food lacking nutrition density yet packing energy!
  • 5-HIA, an organic acid and component of the neurotransmitter serotonin (the happy chemical) seen in the urine tends to be elevated in coffee drinkers, which means they may be at risk for lower levels of serotonin synthesis in the brain. Serotonin is necessary for normal sleep, bowel function, mood, and energy levels. It is a vicious cycle, as caffeine can disrupt sleep and promote anxiety and depression. We all know someone who tends to be tired, wired and over-caffeinated! (see image above!)
  • Elevated urinary excretion of important minerals such as calcium, magnesium and potassium have been noted in coffee drinkers. An imbalance in your electrolyte status can lead to serious systemic complications.
  • Constituents in coffee can interfere with normal drug metabolism and detoxification in the liver, making it difficult to regulate the normal detoxification process in the liver. Another issue to be aware of with coffee intake is how certain medications such as levothyroxine (thyroid) as well as tricyclic antidepressants are poorly absorbed, making symptoms curiously worse for patients.

It’s a wise experiment to provide yourself a break from coffee intake and see what it feels like to live your life on your own fuel. In the mean time – stay hydrated.

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