Over 2.25 billion cups of coffee are consumed in the world every day. It is one of the leading hot drinks, and the variety and choice has only boosted its presence in our diets.
But we don’t all drink it for the taste or warmth – coffee contains caffeine, which is a stimulant. And with this has come an awful lot of myths and whispers about the effects that coffee has on the body, and the best way to consume it.
Don’t be afraid to drink your daily Americano because you’ve heard the latest rumour about how bad coffee is from a friend. Read below to see what is true, and the tales which are indeed just myths.
FALSE – The more you drink, the more you get used to its effects. But if you drink too much one time and start feeling the negative effects, you naturally learn the sweet spot.
So while you may need three cups to feel as energetic as your co-worker, your central nervous system is actually just more tolerant to it, not addicted. And withdrawal symptoms will last around one to two days, so can’t be classed as addictions.
TRUE – As mentioned above, there are negative effects of too much coffee. Shakiness, headaches and a big slump when it all wears off are some, but people often know their limitations.
But there is also the chance you could be consuming too much water, or sugars. Researchers say six cups should be everyone’s absolute limit, as it is the perfect balance of consumption for everything.
FALSE – It is a common misconception, but as coffee is largely made up of water, all of that H2O actually makes up for the fact that the caffeine itself is dehydrating.
TRUE – Think a cup of coffee will sober you up after a night out? Caffeine can make somebody who is intoxicated feel more alert, but it doesn’t reverse the effects of the alcohol. In fact, it could be a dangerous mix as it could make you feel as though you can handle things which you can’t.
FALSE – While it is a stimulant offering adrenaline, which is why your heart can speed up after drinking a cup of strong coffee, it doesn’t have such an effect that it could cause damage. Those with existing problems are often told to steer clear, but a doctor will know if your heart can take any caffeine.
FALSE – The more a bean is roasted, the more caffeine is actually burnt away in the process. So while it may taste stronger if it is a dark roast, the chemical compound is altered to mean the caffeine is not as present. Keep to blonde roasts if you want the maximum kick, or even invest in your own at-home coffee bean roaster if you want more control over the blend.
FALSE – Coffee actually goes through the liver really quickly, and around 75% of it is entirely out of your body after around five to six hours, depending on your metabolism.
What remains probably won’t be enough to stop you sleeping (or have any other energy affect). If you have a cup at 7pm you’ll probably not be able to sleep at 10pm, but around 3pm is a good limit.
TRUE – Well, it is true to a limit. While caffeine won’t harm a foetus according to studies, it can still pass through the placenta. It is advised that women should limit their caffeine intake to 200 milligrams, but most just avoid it to be safe.
FALSE – They taste stronger, and are more concentrated, but a standard 12oz cup of coffee has more caffeine (120mg) than a single shot espresso drink (80mg) on average.
TRUE – Do you use 100°C boiling water to make your morning cup of coffee? Well, chances are you are overheating the grounds, causing them to burn and develop an acidic taste.
FALSE – While growing children probably shouldn’t have coffee anyway, it is still worth mentioning that this is a myth. Yes, caffeine mildly reduces calcium absorption in the body, but not enough for stunted growth.
FALSE – Stimulating effects of coffee can (very very slightly) increase metabolism, but not enough to make an impact. While you’ll probably feel less hungry after a cup of joe, this is just your stomach full with the liquid – you’ll still have to eat.