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Is drinking coffee bad for you?
Back when David Letterman had his heart trouble a few years ago, he talked about how his doctors had told him that he couldn't drink coffee anymore. At the time all I could think was, "Find a new doctor." There has never been good evidence for telling patients not to drink coffee. In fact, there's a ton of research showing that coffee is good for you.
Does caffeinated coffee have more antioxidants than decaffeinated coffee?
There's a tremendous amount of research showing the benefit of both coffee and tea. One of my favorites shows that coffee consumption may actually reduce the risk of diabetes. The feeling is that these benefits come from the large amount of antioxidants in coffee.
Drinking Coffee Reduces Your Risk
Yet another study has come out that supports drinking regular coffee. In the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2006;83:1039-46), Dr. Lene Frost Andersen and colleagues studied the relationship between coffee drinking and diseases like cardiovascular disease, cancer (other than skin cancer), Parkinson's disease, gallstones, cirrhosis of the liver, and diabetes.
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A 12-year study of 18,417 men and 39,740 women found that those who increased their caffeine intake had a lower average weight gain than their peers. (Am J Clin Nutr 2006;83(3):674-80) Those men who drank an additional cup and a half of coffee per day gained a little less than half a kilogram less weight, while women who drank a single additional cup per day gained slightly less than the men. Interestingly, those who drank more decaffeinated coffee seemed to gain weight.
Surprising results: women whose BMI were 25 or greater (those who are considered clinically overweight, those who smoked, or those who were less physically active) seemed to derive greater benefit (that is, gained less weight) from increasing their caffeine intake. The researchers controlled for the number of calories consumed and the intake of soft drinks, so it seems likely that it's not just a matter of drinking coffee instead of eating.
Go ahead and have your coffee. It might even help you minimize that swivel-chair spread.
First posted: April 25, 2006