Growing up in the mid-70s and 80s, I remember commercials for decaf coffee: “only half a cup for me” and “I’m not a doctor but I play one on tv…” I hadn’t started consuming coffee at the time these commercials aired, I but something told me that I shouldn’t consume a lot of coffee, if at all, once I became “of age.”
However, once I started on coffee, regular, fully leaded coffee, I was hooked. I like it. It’s a comfort food for me.My boyfriend, who later became my husband, wasn’t a coffee drinker, but I brought him to the caffeinated, dark-side once he started an early morning shift at 4:30 in the early 90s.
I drank coffee during my pregnancy – and my son is healthy.
We got our son hooked on those early morning trips to ski when he was about 15 years old.
We are a family of addicts.
I kid. I joke. But then again, I am completely serious. We like coffee and honestly can take it or leave it. But we just don’t want to. It is mostly a morning drink, but you will find us drinking it in the afternoon on occasion.
As a health conscious person, concerned wife, responsible mother, and a dietitian who keeps up on current research, guess what? Coffee has a bunch of health benefits! Backed by research. Yes, a bunch.
If you drink coffee, compared to those who don’t, you are:
- At lower risk of type 2 diabetes (T2DM)
- At lower risk of heart disease and stroke
- At decreased risk for Parkinson’s
- At decrease risk of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease
- Apparently at lower risk of many types of cancer, likely due to coffee’s high antioxidant properties
The information on coffee consumption during pregnancy appears confusing, but when one looks at the information closely, the recommendations usually end up the same: consume no more than 200 mg caffeine/day, equal to about 16 fluid ounces of coffee per day.
I tell people to make sure that you are consuming coffee which has about 5-10 calories per 8 ounces. If you add milk, cream, sugar, or syrups you add calories and in some cases a lot of calories, turning a 5-20 calorie beverage into a 150 calorie beverage. This doesn’t change the health benefit of the coffee; it just adds calories, so keep it in mind.
On the other hand, some fancy coffee beverages, such as ones that end in “ino,” may have very little coffee in it at all. I suggest that those be treated at a dessert not a beverage.
Finally, I have to say it: even though coffee has its benefits, don’t overdo it. Some people will hear that coffee is good for them and consume in “excess.” This is different based on the person. For some 16 ounces is more than enough, while others can handle 32 ounces no problem. In general, I recommend no more than 40 ounces a day. Less is better.
Disclaimer: I drink coffee almost daily and the coffee maker would be the appliance replaced in under 24 hours if it broke. We would likely swing by a coffee shop on the way to the store. I am not related to anyone from a coffee producing country. Scratch that, since Hawai’i is a coffee producing state, making the United States a coffee producing country. But I’m not related to anyone from there. Wait, my uncle was born there, but doesn’t live there any more. And I lived there too, but not tied to any coffee production. Bummer.