Since I started doing research (about 3 years ago), I also started to drink more coffee. The smell of freshly brewed coffee in the morning, not much beats that for me. I drink a delicious cup of coffee before I go to the university and during the day I drink a few more. Together with my colleagues to catch up or a fast cup in between jobs. I drink coffee because I like it, but of course also because it keeps me alert and awake. Is it a guilty pleasure or is it nothing I need to feel guilty about?
The most famous component of coffee is caffeine, the component that is responsible for keeping you awake and increasing your focus. Additionally, caffeine improves sport performance. This positive effect is largest in endurance training, but there are indications that caffeine also has a positive effect during sprints and resistance training. So, a cup of coffee before your training might not be a bad idea!
Too much caffeine can have negative side effects like restlessness, headaches, anxiety and sleeping difficulties. How much caffeine is too much differs for every individual, some persons break down caffeine faster than others.
Caffeine is not the only active compound in coffee; it also contains minerals and anti-oxidants.
Coffee and diseases
Drinking 3-4 cups of coffee a day lowers your risk of cardiovascular disease. This protective effect is lower (but still present) if you drink 1 cup a day, highest at 3-4 cups and decreases again after that. Furthermore, coffee consumption has shown to be protective against type 2 diabetes. No links are found between coffee and cancer.
Often is said that coffee causes fluid retention, but this is not the case. If coffee is consumed with moderation (3-4 cups a day), coffee has similar hydrating qualities as water.
Caffeine is the most widely used stimulating component, and it is slightly addictive. When you stop drinking coffee “cold turkey” you might experience light withdrawal symptoms (like a headache). Furthermore you can build up tolerance for caffeine, but you cannot get completely immune for the effects of caffeine.
What do I do?
I enjoy my coffee without feeling guilty about it, and I try to limit my intake to 3-4 cups a day. Do you love coffee as much as I do? And do you think you should feel guilty about drinking coffee after reading this article?