Coffee: The Good, The Bad, and The Delicious Facts

By Eric G Braun, Senior Writer, USRW

When I was just a teenager, in my young, but distinguished double digits, it was a rite of passage and a mark of manhood and acceptance when your parents let you have that first cup of coffee.  There was no Facebook, no Twitter, no way to instantly express your new-found respect. You’d have to find a way of dropping it into the conversation between rounds of hide and seek.

Yes, respect is the right word. Today coffee… but what about the future? Could my promotion from the kid’s holiday table to the Taj Mahal of the adult tables be next?

Dare to dream.

Coffee and its family tree, espresso, cappuccino, latte, foam, froth, grande, turbo shot are a part of Americana. Gone are the days of an old cup of joe, now you need to speak a new language just to order your dose of caffeine. As Road Warriors, those delicious little beans are as important to us as the diesel in our tanks.

The over achievers at Harvard did a study on this choice of liquid amphetamines, and you may want to change your investment portfolio.

Ø  54% of Americans over the age of 18 drink coffee every day.

Ø  Americans drink an average of 3.1 cups a day and the average size cup is 9 oz. If you can find a cup that small, you should shop somewhere else.

Ø  When is the wrong time to drink coffee? That’s a trick question, there is no wrong time exactly.  65% of us caffeine addicts drink it with breakfast, 30% between meals, and only 5 % drink it with a different meal than breakfast.

Ø  How much you're spending on this delicious rocket fuel is on average of a $1.38 for the regular unleaded, and $2.45 for the high test.

Ø  As a country, we spend $40 billion a year on coffee, give or take a cup.

Coffee, like everything else, has its good points and the points we don’t think about:

  •  Coffee boosts your physical performance
  • Coffee may help you lose weight.
  • Coffee helps you burn fat. 
  • Coffee helps you focus and stay alert. 
  • Coffee lowers risk of death.
  • Coffee reduces risk of cancers.
  • Coffee reduces risk of stroke.
  • Coffee reduces risk of Parkinson’s disease
  • Coffee protects your body.
  • Coffee may lower risk of Type II diabetes.
  • Coffee protects your brain.
  • Coffee brightens your mood, helps fight depression and lowers risk of suicide.

And now of course it’s time to tell you that when it comes to those roasted beans; not everything is “cream and sugar”.

  • Bad coffee can be toxic. Bad quality coffee can have a lot of impurities in it, which can cause sickness, headache, or a general bad feeling.
  • Coffee can kill you. Yes, if you drink 80-100 cups (23 liters) in a short session. This dose is lethal and will amount in 10-13 grams of caffeine within your body.
  • Coffee can cause insomnia and restlessness. Again, it's the caffeine working here. Your recommended maximum amount of caffeine is 400 milligrams, roughly the amount that you’ll get from 4 cups of coffee.
  • Don’t drink more than one cup a day if you’re pregnant. Studies on coffee's effect on a fetus have been controversial, but one thing is sure: if you drink coffee when pregnant, caffeine will also reach the fetus, and your baby is highly sensitive to caffeine.
  • If you have high cholesterol please choose filtered coffee. Coffee beans contain cafestol and kahweol, two ingredients that appear to raise LDL cholesterol levels
  • Coffee for kids, may increase bedwetting. One survey reported that caffeine consumption of 5-7-year-old kids may increase enuresis a.k.a. bedwetting. (Who's giving their kindergartner coffee??) 

If you're wetting the bed, and you’re between 50 & 70, it’s probably not the coffee. It’s all about moderation Road Warriors, you know what your limits are. Just remember, caffeine is a diuretic and a stimulant. Which probably means nothing to the young drivers, as for the rest of us, plan those rest stops carefully, you know who you are.

Bottoms up!

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