Is Coffee Bad for You?

When asked why people drink coffee, many people say, "to stay awake," "to recover energy," "because stomach doesn't feel good after a meal." When a body is tired and mental state is hazy, people drink coffee or coke to make mind clear. For many people when they come to work, it became customary to drink a cup of coffee in the morning and after a meal.

Is coffee bad for you? Is it good for you? Yes, there are some benefits of drinking coffee. However, even if it does, the addictive side of coffee and caffeine should not be overlooked.

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Coffee, Caffeine, and its Effect on Body

Modern human has all the things to make their life easier. Despite of these technological advantages, instead of feeling good, many people feel tired, have frequent headache and dizziness, insomnia, loss of appetite, indigestion, anxiety, and etc. People resort to stimulants in order to overcome these symptoms.

As a result of taking stimulants before body can fully rest, body perpetually stay in semi-active mode which is likely lead to chronic fatigue syndrome.

Three most common addictions among average modern human is tobacco, alcohol, and coffee. Among those three, coffee is regarded as most benign. Many people drink coffee from 1 cup to 2-3 cups per day. Some people even drink 7 to 8 cups. There are a lot of arguments of whether coffee is good or bad.

In medical term, what coffee does to human body is called stimulation of central nerve system. This stimulation also affects peripheral nerves, blood stream, internal organs, and skeletal muscles. It also cause diuretic effects, stomach acid release, and creates other physical effect.

As a result, coffee invigorates brain and muscle temporally, heighten attention, concentration, and make a person agile in thoughts. As a result, decision making capacity, memory, and discernment increases.

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Coffee and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Most people say when they drink coffee, the fatigue is disappeared. Is coffee a substance that truly helps recover from fatigue? Fatigue is there to keep body from ticking over too much. It is a built-in alarm system for body to let you know there is something going on and/or recharge is needed. Thus it is only right to eliminate the cause of fatigue – not to turn off the signal. Fatigue is warning sign of a body.

Coffee is nothing but make your body fool your mind and sense that it is not tired by over stimulation. It is no different then taking pain killer due to pain caused by disease and think disease is gone. If coffee is recovering people from fatigue, why do so many people who drink coffee suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome and have to drink coffee day after day?

Nowadays, the intensity of labor and working hour increases ever more year after year. Inversely, the time for resting and sleeping are reduced. In such circumstances, it is a mistake to think that people can do away with basic need of body with a substance. There are a lot of reasons to be tired, but if one looks at his/her nutrition, kinds of activity done, level of stress, time rested and slept, it is no brainer to figure out why a person is tired.

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Effect of Caffeine on Body

Caffeine is odorless white substance which sublimates at 176 Celsius (348.8 degree Fahrenheit). It melts well in water and has characteristic bitter taste. Caffeine is included in 60 different plants world wide. Most of them are used in making coffee, tea, coke, soda, cocoa, and etc.

For average American, on average 200mg of caffeine is consumed daily. (Orientals are lower, for example, average South Korean is 50mg). Most of the caffeine in the body go to liver. Within 24 hours it goes through process of disintegration into acids by liver microsome, passes to kidney, and then goes out of body as urine. This process make liver and kidney tired.

From the time when caffeine is taken into a body to the time when caffeine has become half of its original intake amount is called ‘half life' or 'half period.' Half period of caffeine in blood plasma alone is 3 hours; in entire body, it is 5~6 hours for an average person. Pregnant woman is 18 hours. Person with liver problem takes few days. Also children have longer half period thus they must watch their caffeine intake.

List of Caffeine Effect on Human Body

  • Central Nerve System Excitation
    When caffeine is taken a small amount, the sleepiness disappears and thinking capacity increases. In large amount, symptoms like sensitivity, insomnia, excitableness, hand shaking, heart palpitation, arrhythmia, etc. However, due to its addictive nature, people who drink coffee every day tend to drink more as they age.

  • Cause Chronic Fatigue Symptom Caffeine is stimulant that makes a person feel stimulated when they are tired. It doesn't do anything to help recover fatigue. As a result, body takes toll of not resting when the person is suppose to, and if continued, lead to inevitable chronic fatigue syndrome.

  • It has diuretic effect which results frequent urinating and dehydration.

  • Muscle contractile force increases.

  • Stimulate excess production of stomach acids and enzymes which may result heart burn.

  • Stimulate stomach acid release which cause heartburn, worsen gastritis and ulcer, and worsen irritable bowel syndrome

  • If the level of stimulant is too much, it can cause anxiety and other undesirable effect such as sensitivity, insomnias, hand shaking, headache, heart palpitation, and arrhythmia.

  • Decrease body's immune function, increase cancer formation, and harmful to kidney and liver.

  • Dramatically decrease pancreas function and make diabetes worse

  • Increase bad cholesterol which make high blood pressure worse.

  • Alleged cause mutation in DNA and induces abortion.

Compare to person who does not drink coffee at all, a person who drink 5 cups of coffee or more have 3 times more risk of heart disease. Also even though caffeine gets rid of headache, when it is taken too much, it will increase chronic headache and also cause chronic diarrhea.

Symptom of heart palpitation, anxiety, sensitivity, and insomnia after drinking coffee is very common cases. Even though people know about these, it is very difficult to stop drink because of withdrawal symptom due to addiction to caffeine. 2 cups of coffee a day is limit (about 250 mg) if you must drink it for whatever reason. However, even if a person drink only one cup of coffee every day will lead to caffeine addiction.

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Other Effects of Coffee

If drink coffee in empty stomach become habit, it cause to release excess amount of stomach acid, which can lead to ulcer. Also when coffee is combined with tobacco, it can considerably increase blood pressure. If a person is smoker and have high blood pressure, it is better to not drink coffee.

Tannin in coffee prevents iron absorption. Thus causing iron depleted anemia. Nowadays, there are anemia caused by lack of iron increase in countries where coffee consumption is increasing, one of the major reason may be coffee drinking.

Tannin also prevents calcium absorption. It also makes blood acidic. As such it is one of major cause of osteoporosis in the countries where people drink lots of coffee.

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Decaffeinated Coffee

There are decaffeinated coffee, however decaffeination, unless it is done with water, if they are done with chemicals (which is usual) such as methylene chloride, trichloroethylene etc. These substances pass through cell membranes at will and interfere with cellular metabolism which cause fatigue, energylessness, indigestion, lowering immune system function, and cause depression.

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Coffee, Cream, and Sugar

Most people drink coffee with sugar and cream. This also gives additional undesirable effect.

On average, a cup of coffee is accompanied by several tea spoons of sugar. One tea spoon is 4 to 6 gram and has 16 to 24kcal. If a person drink one cup a day, 830g to 1,250g calorie is added, therefore gaining to weight. If a person drinks coffee and increase physical activity, it can be negated, but for most people that is not the case. There are many more bad effects of sugar and milk. Click on each links to read more about them.

Coffee cream is 100% saturated fat, so it is not really good to eat on daily basis. Fat make people fat. When there is excess energy intake, it is converted into fat, if not burn through exercises and etc. The fat reserve is first created around stomach. In and around stomach, there are more enzymes that synthesize fatty acid to store excess food intake into reserve then any other parts of body.

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Coffee, Viewed from Oriental Medicine Perspective

According to Oriental Medicine, coffee addiction is manifesting as dryness in bronchial tube. If you ask the person with such symptom and how much the person drinks coffee, it is usually 3-4 cups of coffee a day.

In Oriental Medicine, the typical coffee addiction looks always like somewhat of swollen body state, easily getting tired, and getting cold easily. With such people, many have no problem with blood pressure but their back neck and shoulder often become stiff.

These symptoms may not be entirely blamed to coffee. However if a person does not have other chronic problem and drinks coffee every day, this symptom gets much better just by stop drinking coffee.

There are three cases of people who never drank coffee in their life and got a shock in their system. It just tells how potent coffee is.

    A person was only eating organic foods in his organic family farm in his entire life. When he went to a big city for the first time, he drank coffee out of curiosity and fainted right at the spot.

    An Oriental medical student drank 1cup of coffee while he was extremely nervous, and because of that, he suffered 2 years of indigestion and neurosis. After that experience, coffee didn’t seem simple favorite food among people.

    An alumni doctor of the said oriental medicine doctor above mentioned that at one point in his life, he drank coffee non-stop. As a result, at one time he lost sense of direction and was loitering in the middle of street.

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Coffee and Environment

Coffee is crop that yields very little of final product compare compared to time and effort went in the crop. Let say a person drinks 2 cups of coffee per day for a year; that is equal to coffee harvested from 18 coffee trees for a year. Coffee industry is 13 billion dollars industry. World wide, coffee consumption does not diminish, but increases. As a result to meet such demand, the coffee farm increases leaps and bounds.

Only 30 years ago, most of coffee was produced naturally. However, as coffee consumption increases worldwide, for last 10 years 40% of Mexico, Columbia, and Central America area have turned into coffee farms.

Almost all land available from latitude 28 degree to 30 degree north and south from equator has been turned into coffee farm. Nowadays people call these areas as 'Coffee Zone' or 'Coffee Belt.' The amount of coffee produced in these areas is equal to 80 million bags in 60kg bag.

As coffee product spreads, a lot of environmental problems are created. The worst of which is destruction of tropical rain forest, which is home to enormous numbers of yet to be found species. Tropical rain forest consists only 3% of earth surface, but more then half of all species lives there. Tropical rain forest even out severe weather and turning huge amount of carbon dioxide into oxygen. Many people say spring and fall are getting shorter and summer and winter is getting longer. This is due to destruction of tropical rain forest. Click here to read more about why tropical rain forest is important for earth and humanity.

In Costa Rica, ever since coffee and banana has been imported in 1830’s, the tropical rain forest which was 99% of land now only remains 18% due to development and plantations. Nowadays, due to lumber industry, coffee plantation, oil and mineral mining, dairy and meat production, rain forest area more then 1.7 times of Indiana is disappearing every year. This is same rate as 2 football stadiums disappearing in 1 second. It is the matter of time before rain forest disappears – unless people stop doing what they are doing and conserve. There is another type of agriculture that does more damage to rain forest then all other agriculture and industry combined. It is raising meat for human consumption. Click here to read more about meat raising and environmental destruction.

Also paper cups, which is used for coffee cups, become a problem as excess land fill. When paper cups are buried in land fill, it takes 20 years to lot. They also produce dioxin while rotting, which is a sure cancer causing agent.

Non-recyclable 1 time use utilities such as paper cups are going to land fill 1,035 ton per day, 380,000 tons per year. More then 340 million dollars are spent to produce them. To clean these trashes, about 86 million dollars are spent. What a waste of money and resources.

Please keep in mind that seemingly neutral personal taste can have extremely effect – good or bad – to our global environment when so many people do it.

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Instead of Coffee

Many people drink coffee in order to stay awake. There is replacement for this.

Drinking water helps more active brain function. Do not get bottled water as they may contain harmful plastic residues from bottle. Get 7th recycled plastic bottle and fill your own filtered water. If you just cannot drink water, green tea is better. The caffeine in green tea is not as addictive as caffeine in coffee.

I also recommend Jason Winters Tea if you really need to stay awake for many hours, as Jason Winters tea is better then coffee in this regard. Click here to read more about Jason Winters Tea.

If you just want to drink something, drink kelp tea and ginger tea as they calm the stomach and gives vitamins and minerals.

If you are constantly tired and need to be alert, eliminate and mitigate the causes of fatigue such as polluted water, lack of sleep, smoking, drinking, eating junk food, stress, lack of exercise, and etc. Eat mineral rich fresh organic fruits and vegetables, get enough sleep, exercise, and cope with stressful situation.

People may say these are a lot of work, but it is important to remember there is no replace for rest and sleep – not even Jason Winters Tea cannot be replacement for rest and sleep.

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