Is Caffeine Good or Bad? That is the Question

Coffee.  

Some love it, some hate it. There are many people who smell the strong aroma throughout the day and are in heaven, but for others, the idea of drinking a cup of joe makes them sick. While popular opinion may never agree on good vs. bad, scientific studies do have their fair share to say on the matter.

Some studies say caffeine decreases the risk of skin and prostate cancers. Some say it lowers depression risks in women. Also, findings show that it may protect you from Type 2 diabetes, and fight off Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. According to an article by AARP, the National Institutes of Health suggests coffee reduces the risk of Parkinson’s and dementia, and boosts concentration and memory, partially because coffee beans are seeds, which are loaded with protective compounds.

However, other reports suggest that caffeine should be avoided or limited during pregnancy. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (USNews article), coffee consumption has been linked to lower birth weight and increased risk of miscarriage and stillbirth, although there is no proof at this point that caffeine can be a cause of miscarriages. Another reported downfall to drinking coffee that is being studied is that it may act as a trigger for heart attacks with some people who don’t drink coffee often, though the report says more research is needed to determine if this is a serious issue.

Wow, that is a lot of information! So how do you know which reports hold more value? Which one do you pay the most attention to? Well, to start, the information above provides support about how caffeine can be both good and bad for you depending on who you are. And they all may be worth paying attention to in order to determine the significance.

That’s why it is important to look for a “conclusion” at the end of every article. In every reputable study where the author(s) give their summary of results, there is a statement about the strength of the findings. This is worth paying attention to, as it shows how strong the study is (or isn’t). And if you aren’t sure you are viewing a credible medical source, talk it over with a health professional.

If that information overload leaves you feeling overwhelmed, just let your body do the talking. If caffeine makes you feel sick, then it may not be good for you. However, if it gives you a boost without making you feel bad, then caffeine may be your friend. There is real value in paying attention to how your own body responds to what you put in it.

For more information about conflicting health recommendations, check out our 9Health Fair Topic of the Month page on How Do You Balance Conflicting Health Recommendations

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