is coffee good or bad for you?

I write this post as I am sipping a mug of pumpkin spice coffee. You now know where my heart lies in this inconclusive debate. Read on and like The Fit Chronicles on Facebook!

There are a disgusting amount of research reports and articles discussing coffee. I think a lot of it is concocted to make the general public feel confident about their cracked-out caffeine addiction, but that’s just my opinion. In any magazine or on any health blog you’ll find people praising it and people shunning it. Detox from your caffeine habit! they preach. Help fight cancer with coffee! they shout. So the real question is, should I feel guilty while I’m drinking my morning coffee or proud that I’m choosing java?

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The answer, my friends, isn’t black and white. There are gazillions of studies out there with gazillions of contradictory results, and to be honest, not much of a solid conclusion. Does coffee cause heart attacks and strokes or protect against heart attacks and strokes? Will I be a better or worse person for drinking coffee? I found this witty report on Medscape that is pretty much inconclusive. However, I thought I’d bullet some highlights so you can work on making your own caffeine conclusion:

  • Many studies have mentioned that coffee may temporarily raise your blood pressure a little, but it won’t cause or dramatically contribute to hypertension.
  • A conglomerate of 12 studies has reported that coffee may raise serum levels of total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol (the bad kind), and triglycerides. This isn’t going to be the sole reason you have high cholesterol though–I think I’d work on cleaning up the fatty foods from your diet and dialing up the exercise instead. No doctor has ever said to clean up your coffee habit. If you’ve been told that advice, please speak up. I have a lot of questions for you.
  • Another conglomerate of 18 studies involving over 400,000 people has said that each additional cup of coffee consumed per day results in a 7% decrease in the risk for type 2 diabetes. I have a feeling this doesn’t mean you should down 10 cups a day, but that’s just my guess.

What I’m trying to say, like my mug advises, is to keep calm and carry on. These mixed conclusions shouldn’t direct your feelings towards coffee. Do you just love the taste of it like I do? Is it ingrained in your morning routine? Do you feel naked without it? Are you a sleep-deprived zombie if you don’t get a quick hit? Then fine, keep drinking it. No one’s going to drop dead from a nice brew.

That being said, I do agree with the Medscape study when they say moderation is key. If you ever get the jitters or feel anxious after downing some java, PUT THE COFFEE DOWN. Why would you want to feel that way? Keep things under control and you can enjoy your coffee safely and successfully. Think of all the great things that have been invented and created by people all under the influence of coffee.

Are you a coffee lover or a coffee hater? Do you ever have coffee before exercise? After exercise? Morning? Evening? Spill!