Keto coffee is better than normal coffee. Coffee dehydrates you. Coffee cures hangovers. Coffee helps you lose weight. Pregnant women can’t drink coffee.
Ever heard any of these myths?
I bet you probably have, considering the average American drinks a little over 3 cups of coffee per day (1). Not to mention the United States coffee market is a 18 billion dollar industry!
As a Registered Dietitian, there have been many times inside and outside of the office I have been approached about coffee. However, what is so interesting about coffee is that so many people drink it, so many people don’t know what it actually does to the body, and there is SO much misinformation surrounding this sacred beverage.
How coffee is metabolized?
Ever hear someone say that they are “sensitive” to caffeine? Well there is some truth to that, as scientists have found that genetics are linked to how you metabolize caffeine (2). In fact, if you’ve done the the test 23andMe you can even determine what type of caffeine metabolizer you are!
Scientists have discovered is the CYP1A2 gene. How this gene is expressed will basically tell you how you metabolize and response to coffee.
That being said, caffeine metabolism is not only affected by your genome; smoking status, liver disease, diet, alcohol consumption, and medication all influence caffeine’s effect on your body.
When you take your first sip, caffeine is absorbed into your blood and various body tissues. It’s reported that it takes roughly 45 minutes for caffeine to be fully absorbed after completing your cup of coffee, with a peak concentration about 15-20 minutes after your first sip (3).
The responsibility for absorption is in your liver, where the Cytochrome P450 enzymes break down the majority of the caffeine you drink from coffee, sodas, tea, and other sources.
Is coffee bad for you?
Coffee is most certainly not bad for you, nor is it a miracle drug… although I do think it seriously works miracles on my productivity.
There are a few reasons I would recommend caffeine, and the biggest one would be because YOU ENJOY IT! While I’m obviously going to quote some amazing research showing you just how coffee is healthy… I think some of the healthiest foods for us (mentally and physically) are the ones we allow ourselves to have without guilt. Here’s a few other reasons coffee is healthy:
- Coffee can help reduce the risk of certain cancers including prostate, liver, and gastric cancers.
- Coffee has been found to have anti-aging effects that may improve your lifespan.
- Coffee has consistently been found (for a variety of reasons) to improve athletic performance. While it can help you run faster and lift heavier, it also gives you a mental focus and potential to push yourself harder in the gym.
Main reason I wouldn’t recommend caffeine? Depends on how you metabolize it, as it can give certain individuals panic attacks… literally. That’s because caffeine is a stimulant that has been linked to increased anxiety for those with certain polymorphisms on their genes (4). Other reasons would be if it gives you migraines, if it upsets your stomach, or if you over-consume (4-6 cups per day) and it is evident that it is affecting your health.
- Nehlig A. (2017) Interindividual differences in caffeine metabolism and factors driving caffeine consumption. Pharmacol Rev, 70(2):384-411
- Fredholm B.B. et al. (1999) Actions of caffeine in the brain with special reference to factors that contribute to its widespread use.Pharmacol Rev, 51:83-133.
- Alsene K. et al. (2003) Association between A2A receptor gene polymorphisms and caffeine-induced anxiety.Neuropsychopharmacology, 28(9):1694-702.