Many people consume coffee as part of their daily routine, whether in the morning before work, or after lunch as a treat. Some even consider it a necessity. 

Some coffee drinkers consume so much coffee that the caffeine no longer seems to have any effect on them – they can drink coffee right before bed and still go right to sleep. 

This article is going to cover some common questions about coffee. Is coffee good for you? How much is too much? What are some negative side effects of too much coffee?

Is coffee good for you?

YES! Coffee itself is a healthy beverage. We’re talking black coffee without all the sugary and high calorie additives. If you’re into a sweeter coffee, try a couple tablespoons of sugar-free creamer or some almond milk. Research has shown that coffee taken in moderation (about 3-4 cups per day) might:

  • Help increase longevitythis study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine that lifespan could possibly be lengthened by drinking three cups of coffee a day. This happens because of the risk of death from several conditions (including heart disease) is lowered significantly. 
  • Help increase energy levels as well as performance – everyone is familiar with the boost of energy and alertness that caffeine provides. After being absorbed in the bloodstream, caffeine sets off certain neurons in the brain that could improve mood, energy, memory, and cognitive function (as shown in this publication).
  • Boost metabolism – some research findings suggest that caffeine boosts metabolic rate and fat burning. 
  • Help blood sugar balance – for those worried about developing type 2 diabetes, there is some evidence that suggests coffee could lower that risk. For people who already have type 2 diabetes however, it’s unclear whether or not coffee is suitable.
  • Support brain function – studies published in 2010, 2011, and 2015 all explore the link between drinking coffee and preventing neurodegenerative diseases (like Alzheimer’s and dementia). Such findings haven’t really been consistent up to now though, so more research is required. 

How much is too much?

A moderate amount of coffee intake generally means 3-5 cups. Anything more would be considered high amounts.

Caffeine in coffee is perfectly safe in low doses, but in high doses can have some unsavoury and even dangerous side effects. These differ in nature and severity from person to person because their unique gene makeup determines how they react to and handle caffeine.  

The average person can safely enjoy 3-5 cups a day, but pregnant women are usually advised to keep their caffeine intake to 200mg per day, or about two cups of instant coffee. If given coffee, children can experience more intense effects because they’re smaller, so be warned! Factors that affect how much caffeine is safe include:

  • Genes
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Weight
  • Smoking 
  • Liver disease
  • Certain medication which can interact with caffeine

Negative side effects

When in low or moderate doses, caffeine itself:

  • Acts as a diuretic (makes the body produce urine faster)
  • Is a stimulant (and can cause a crash after the high)

But in excess, the caffeine in coffee can cause:

  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Digestive issues
  • Muscle breakdown
  • Addiction 
  • High blood pressure
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Fatigue
  • Frequent urination (and urgency)

Conclusion

Drinking coffee doesn’t just taste great, it’s healthy too. As with all things though, it should be done in moderation! 

Sources

https://www.acpjournals.org/doi/10.7326/M16-2945

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1467-3010.2007.00665.x

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27824614/

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00125-009-1516-3

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20182054/