Ever since I announced the 21 Day Clean Eating and Exercise Challenge, the comment I have been hearing the most is, “do I really have to give up my coffee?”
In this article, I would like to share with you the science on both sides of the coin, along with my personal opinion.
Americans drink 624 million cups of coffee per day. That averages out to a staggering 3 cups per person. 87% report not being able to live without their daily coffee. I have been told that my articles are sometimes too long, so I will do my best to be brief by providing you a list of the potential positives and negatives of coffee consumption, based off of current research. Feel free to dive deeper into the research by clicking the links I provide below.
The positives of small doses of coffee/caffeine (2 cups or less per day):
- Coffee beans are seeds which are filled with many biological compounds (antioxidants) and some recent studies say that limited coffee consumption may reduce things like: certain cancers; dementia; Alzheimer’s; Parkinson’s; stroke; and diabetes. These same compounds may improve concentration and memory.
- Increased alertness when very tired
- Increased stamina when working out
- Reduced risk of suicide
- “Grabbing coffee with a friend”—positive social experiences often go along with coffee consumption
The negatives of coffee:
- Potential problems for those who have high blood pressure
- Addiction: caffeine is the most-used drug in the world
- Increased anxiety and disrupted sleep cycles and patterns
- Interaction with some medications taken for thyroid, depression, and heartburn
- Increased blood sugar levels, making it harder to control diabetes and maintain energy
- Increased bone density loss post-menopause
- Potential stomach problems, especially for those susceptible to acid reflux and heartburn
- Highly acid (hence more heartburn)
- Potential adrenal fatigue
I have tried to lay out some of the highlights for the 10,000’s of studies that have been done on coffee and caffeine, but there is much more that you could learn.
I am a bit biased on coffee because I have only had one sip in my life, and I have never seen my parents drink any. In other words, it wasn’t part of my life growing up. My dad has a saying that has stuck with me. “True freedom is being able to say no to the things you can have.”
While a cup of coffee a day probably won’t do you much harm and may actually be good for you, I try to live by the following motto. How would I feel if I got stuck on an island with only water and fresh food? Would I go through withdrawals? Would I psychologically have a hard time not drinking my coffee, or my soda, or any other vice? If the answer is yes, I try to eliminate or moderate my behavior.
The biggest reason I am against coffee is that many use it as a band-aid to cover up the underlying issue… they are tired and need it for energy. They aren’t getting enough sleep, they aren’t eating foods high enough in nutrients, and they aren’t exercising enough to balance their hormones and keep themselves energized.
Whether or not this is you, I believe a 21-day coffee fast will benefit you greatly. You might experience headaches and crabbiness the first couple of days, but they will go away once your body gets cleansed. If you need ONE cup of unsweetened green tea to get you through the first couple of days, that is ok. But then let’s try to really get rid of caffeine. Having the willpower to say NO will boost your confidence and build momentum up that will carry over to all areas of your life.
If you don’t agree with anything I said and you are really resisting this notion of giving up coffee for 21 days, you need this challenge the most. =)
If you want me to help by providing you with fat burning workouts (in person or digital), along with eating plans and recipes that follow the challenge rules, you can invest in that for a small fee.
A side note on coffee: it stains your teeth. I get asked on a weekly basis how my teeth are so white. My answer is the same every time… Crest Whitestrips once per year, I don’t drink coffee or alcohol, and I eat tomato-based sauces only once in awhile. That is the secret to a bright smile!