Why is Coffee Bad for You?

Why is Coffee Bad for You?

That delicious fragrant morning brew which makes you slightly friendlier and puts a bit of dance in your step might just be the underlying source of numerous physical and emotional complaints according to some top researchers and medical authors. But wait a second… How can caffeine be bad? Is this propaganda designed to pry us away from everything we’ve grown to love, associate fond memories with, and enjoy as a daily ritual? How can something so pervasive and used for so many years suddenly be off limits?  Find out how coffee has instilled itself into the fabric of our lives. Find out why coffee is bad for you.

The Turks were the first country to adopt it as a drink, often adding spices such as clove, cinnamon, cardamom and anise to their brew. Today, grown and enjoyed worldwide, coffee is one of the few crops that small farmers in third world countries can profitably export.  By conservative estimates, humans consume more than 4 billion cups o’ joe a day, without any thought or understanding of the debilitating effects that caffeine addiction can cause.

Just short of shooting this stuff intravenously, I’ve had a wild passion for dark roast with a splash of vanilla creamer. Organic. I spent enough years learning about my personal connection between caffeine and headaches, fatigue, low back pain and poor sleep. Finally, I realized that I had to get off it as a daily addiction so that I could enjoy it randomly—without the neurosis of a daily fix. It wasn’t easy, but I learned how. 

What most consumers are in the dark about is that this innocent looking little cup sets their bodies up for a daily blood sugar rollercoaster of highs and lows, only to result in predictable exhaustion, poor sleep and a strong contributor to digestive acidity, not to mention that a high caffeine intake can increase the chance of developing cancer. While researchers do not understand the precise mechanism of how caffeine influences cancer, they believe that an excess of caffeine could affect how tumors grow and flourish. 

Dark Eye Circles As An Indicator Of Adrenal Stress?

But its lows warrant greater need for the stuff and this cycle eventually keeps people in fluctuating states between hi-energy and foot-dragging exhaustion. Eventually, the one organ system that suffers most is the adrenal glands. Adrenalin is responsible for that winning burst of energy and for giving compassionate individuals the ability to instinctively rescue people by lifting cars. Adrenalin is the origin of our “flight-or-fight” response. Supposedly, this response enabled our prehistoric ancestors to escape from mammoth-toothed predators.

When we continually stimulate our adrenal glands to produce this discharge of adrenalin, we put our bodies into deficiency and irregular blood sugar patterns. It’s important to remember that Caffeine does not provide energy—only chemical stimulation.

However, you may be knee-deep in Java denial; assuming that you don’t drink nearly enough to become addicted to it, but common patterns indicate you actually are. Careful research conducted by the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine reveals that low-to-moderate caffeine intake (as little as one 14-oz. mug daily) can immediately produce withdrawal symptoms.  This is because caffeine is essentially, a drug.

What Caffeine Does To Your Body

There is an old saying I’m fond of: “Every front has a back and the bigger the front, the bigger the back.” It doesn’t take a Ph.D. to see that there might be negative drawbacks to all of this displaced neuron activity that temporarily makes you feel alive and vital. In fact, uncontrolled neuron firing from caffeine stimulation creates an internal emergency situation that stimulates the pituitary gland, housed in the brain, to secrete a hormone called, ACTH. This hormone signals the adrenal glands to begin furiously pumping out stress hormones—another side effect of caffeine. Therefore, enough caffeine can keep your body in a state of chronic stress.

Five minutes after you’ve downed that morning Java, the caffeine begins to stimulate your central nervous system, releasing stress hormones and creating an internal emergency response. If you’re facing a life-threatening situation, this can be useful, but if you’re at a desk, playing with your kid or reading a paper, you may begin feeling agitated, anxious, hungry and eventually exhausted. In this condition, you’re usually temped to eat more sweet food or take more coffee…and the cycle continues until burn-out.

There is also a concern that caffeine depletes the body of B vitamins. This group of vitamins is necessary for brain and nervous system function, as well as for energy conversion. Dr. Michael Murray, an author and naturopathic physician in Seattle, states that caffeine can interfere with iron absorption, which could potentially lead to weakening condition of anemia. This is a condition where you suddenly have too few oxygen-carrying red blood cells, a major contributor to fatigue, as well as shortness of breath.

Caffeine is also known to elevate blood-cholesterol levels, irritate stomach and bladder and possibly instigate prostate and breast problems. Medical research has linked caffeine consumption to fatigue, mood swings, PMS, hypertension, anxiety, panic attacks, irritable bowel syndrome, migraine, restlessness, headaches, joint pain, insomnia and other sleep disorders.  As if that’s not enough, coffee acids can deplete available calcium, forcing it to be excreted through the kidneys. It is estimated that one cup of coffee depletes over 25 milligrams of calcium, thereby increasing the risk of osteoporosis. 

Decaf consumption paints a nastier picture. The chemical solvents used in extracting the caffeine content remain as a residue that shows up in your cup. Even the Swiss-water process, which exposes the beans to a hot-water bath, leaves behind oil and acids.

So what’s the bottom line?  Now that you know why coffee is bad for you, try to gradually reduce your intake over the course of several weeks so that you are ingesting no more than 1 cup a day. Experiment with caffeine-free tea, and caffeine-free herbal coffees.  A whole-food, plant-based diet of whole grains, vegetables, beans and small amounts of fruits, nuts and seeds, is an effective way to maintain acid-alkaline balance overall.  

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6 thoughts on “Why is Coffee Bad for You?”

  • Thanks for sharing this scary article Amy. I am a coffee drinker, addicted. I have given up heavy drinking and smoking over the years. I have not always been a coffee drinker, it comes in waves and I never thought it was that dangerous for one’s health. I have read a lot about drinking coffee, some say it is very bad for your health, others affirm that drinking coffee in moderation is not that bad. I know that I am drinking more coffee than I should and can easily do with less, although not without it altogether.

    When working in the US, I was surprised to see how much coffee people drank, and in huge cups, compared to our very little cups here in France. But when I was in Australia I just couldn’t drink coffee from a coffee shop, so strong it was, and they can’t get in their car without stopping at a coffee shop to get their very large and super strong coffee for the road to work.

    But I promise to read your blog-post “Help for Caffeine Withdrawal” and follow your advice.

    Thanks for sharing.

    John ツ

    • Hi John and thanks for your honesty. I get it and I get the addiction. When you can, just try the Teeccino as a substitute, even if it is once a day. All you can do is the best you can, right? Thanks for writing!

  • This was very informative about coffee and I like how you referenced numerous medical professionals and institutions. Do you have an article that goes into more detail on why decaf coffee is bad for you? Would it be okay to have something like 3 cups of regular coffee and 4 cups of decaf per week?

    • Hi Dan and thanks for writing!  In answer to your question, decaf coffee is also bad because of the high acidic levels in the coffee, even more so than regular coffee with caffeine. The processing of decaf accounts for the high levels of acid. I think as long as you are weaning yourself off coffee, then you can have more decaf than regular, and eventually wean yourself off regular coffee as well.  Here is a starter size of Teeccino, which may help your transition. Let me know how it goes!

  • Hi Amy,

    Great article, I’ve found it fascinating!
    If I knew that coffee was so bad for the health, I would never have drunk it. I was aware that the caffeine releases insulin and raise the blood sugar because I read a lot of stuff on this subject. I am a big believer that insulin is responsible for gain weight:) Now that I read your article, I will definitely try the caffeine-free herbal coffee. Just a question, please. Do you think that Chicora could be a good alternative to coffee as well?
    Thank you for this excellent post!

    • Hi Daniella — I am not familiar with Chicora and couldn’t find any info about it.  Yes, caffeine raises insulin levels and so your best bet is to wean off, and try the Teeccino. Here is a link to a small, starter size – give it a try and let me know how you like it!

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