Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Is Coffee Right for you?

As of June 21st I put my coffee machine away and pulled out my green tea stash, which I might just mention comes from Beijing thanks to a very dear friend who knows I love it. It is the whole leaf variety, it is delicious and gets my day off to a good start. You might be wondering if you should do the same. Not everyone drinks a pot of coffee a day (like I used to) and some people can drink one cup a day and be satisfied. If you want to know more about whether coffee is right for you, read Igor's post below. (Used with permission) If you would like to sign up for Igor's weekly informative newsletter, please If you would like to sign up for Igor's weekly informative newsletter, please email him and ask to be added to the list. Mention that you heard about it through this blog. Email: igor@torontofitnessonline.com

Is Coffee Right For You? 
by Igor Klibanov 
Original post date: May 7, 2012

            Do you like coffee? Do you crave coffee? Do you drink it at specific times of the day?
 I got a request to make this newsletter about coffee consumption, so we’ll talk about the good and the bad, and what you should do. It is such a controversial topic that it bears discussing.
 The Good
             First and foremost, let’s get one thing straight: coffee is a stimulant, and it will have many of the positive effects of other stimulants, when used correctly.
            As a stimulant, it causes the body to release adrenaline, which gives you energy, and is a fat-burning hormone. Along with that, it promotes mental alertness.
            Organic coffee also has lots of antioxidants. For the laymen, antioxidants are nutrients naturally found in food, and some that your body naturally produces that helps prevent damage to your blood vessels and other organs, so it may have a cardiovascular-protective effect.
            Some studies even link coffee consumption to decreased incidence of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, liver problems, and other chronic conditions.
 The Bad
             Yep, coffee has antioxidants, but it also has toxins (for the people who want the technical terms, the specific toxins are cafestol and kahweol). These are toxins that can cause LDL (the “bad” cholesterol) cholesterol levels to rise.
            Because coffee is a stimulant, it also elevates blood pressure. If a person already has high blood pressure or is prone to high blood pressure, this doesn’t help.
            Coffee can increase the risk of osteoporosis because it acidifies the blood slightly. To neutralize the acid, calcium does a great job, but most of the body’s calcium is stored in bones. So the body has to break down bone to get the calcium to neutralize the acidity caused by the coffee.
            Coffee also has a slight diuretic effect, and if certain measures aren’t taken (like simply drinking water along with coffee), it can cause dehydration.
            If you are a high-stress individual, chances are that you over-produce the stress hormone cortisol. And unfortunately, coffee prolongs how long excessive cortisol stays in your system.
            In the right quantities and at the right times, cortisol does great things, but if there is too much, it starts to break down muscle, bone, and other organs, and it depletes you of essential nutrients.

Is Coffee Right For You?

            As you can see, coffee is a very multi-faceted topic. I preach this all the time, but each person’s individuality must be considered, because as the saying goes, “one man’s food is another man’s poison.”
 So how do you figure out if coffee is right for you?
             Here are a few ways:
 What if I told you to stop drinking coffee? Does the mere thought of stopping coffee consumption make you feel a sense of deprivation? If that’s the case, chances are coffee isn’t all that great for you. People usually crave what they are addicted to, and as we know, addictions aren’t good (but that’s an entirely different topic).
But if the thought of stopping coffee consumption doesn’t frighten you all that much, chances are that for you, it’s either neutral or beneficial.
Another way to determine the effect that coffee has on you is to cut it out for 2-4 weeks, and notice if you feel any changes. Look for changes in energy levels, bowel movements, sleep patterns, skin, weight and body fat.
If there are changes, chances are you were going through withdrawal, so coffee isn’t good for you.
If you didn’t feel a difference, chances are that coffee is either neutral or beneficial for you.
Lastly, there is my favorite test:
            Have someone who is trained in using body fat calipers measure your umbilical skinfold (it looks like this: http://www.topendsports.com/testing/skinfold-abdominal.htm). Then stop drinking coffee for 2-4 weeks. Do not change anything else in your nutrition. This is critical. After this 2-4 week period, have your skin fold re-measured. I’ve seen some clients drop a noticeable amount of fat simply by making this one change. I’ve seen others make no change.
            If you’re the person who dropped body fat simply by stopping your coffee consumption, chances are that it’s not good for you. If your body fat didn’t change, chances are that it doesn’t have a negative effect on you (although I wouldn’t go strictly by body fat. I’d take into account other factors, like your symptoms).
            By the way, if you need help finding someone who can do precise body fat assessments using skinfold calipers, the trainers at our company (Fitness Solutions Plus) would be glad to help you with that, so if that’s a test that you’d like to do, just get in touch with us by calling 647-271-8672. Just mention you got this number through Melony's blog.

            This newsletter just scratches the surface of coffee consumption, but it should give you a good starting point in figuring out whether coffee is right for you.


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