HOW COFFEE AFFECTS PERFORMANCE Is coffee not as unhealthy as we previously thought?? It is one of the most popular drinks in the world. Yet coffee drinking is often seen as a vice we'd be better off kicking. But why actually? Research shows that caffeine offers many benefits – especially when it comes to athletic performance.
Coffee drinkers in California – and around the world – might start thinking about their morning cup from now on. A California court recently ruled that coffee sellers must now post signs warning customers that their beverage contains acrylamide, a potentially dangerous substance produced when coffee beans are roasted. Although acrylamide may be a carcinogen that causes cancer, medical experts say it's far from clear whether it actually increases cancer risk in humans. The American Cancer Society advises caution, but notes that "most of the studies [on acrylamide] conducted to date have not found an increased risk of cancer in humans." The effects of acrylamide need to be further researched, the company said.
There are many myths about coffee. It is the fuel that drives many of us. It is a stimulant. It is part of many cultures. But is it good or bad for us? Since coffee and caffeine are so well researched, the answer could be "both".
THE BENEFITS OF COFFEE
Caffeine has been proven to reduce fatigue and increase alertness, as anyone who has had an espresso to get back on track after a sleepless night knows. As it stands, caffeine from coffee may also improve athletic performance and endurance. In a study published in 2015, researchers found that between 3 and 7 milligrams of caffeine per kilogram of body weight increased endurance performance by about 24 percent – not insignificantly. Caffeine is thought to stimulate and increase alertness, allowing athletes to work out longer and harder.
Caffeine has historically been on the list of banned substances for athletes. Currently, this is not the case, although it is a recognized performance-enhancing agent. It is under "further review" by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), but has not yet been put back on the list.
So can coffee improve workouts for non-athletes too? According to the current state of research, it is possible that we experience the same endurance-enhancing effects as professional athletes. The effect of caffeine reaches its peak about an hour after ingestion. So it's best to drink coffee about an hour before your workout to find out if it helps you. If you go easy on milk and sugar, the benefits of your workout won't be negated by extra calories.
There is much speculation on the Internet about caffeine's potential as a "fat burner," and it is used in dietary supplements to provide this purported benefit. It's entirely possible that caffeine helps muscles burn more fat. However, the evidence so far is contradictory. There is some research linking caffeine to weight loss. But: It's not a miracle cure.
COFFEE AS A "FAT BURNER"?
A 2020 study showed that the ingredients in coffee could counteract obesity. Women who drink two to three cups of coffee a day are likely to have lower total body fat than women who don't drink coffee. In men, the link was also apparent, but less so. Interestingly, the fat-reducing properties cannot be attributed to the caffeine – the results were independent of whether caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee was consumed!
Coffee may also have some other benefits in preventing disease: It's been linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and liver cancer. Like tea, coffee contains antioxidants that have a positive effect on health.
THE DISADVANTAGES OF COFFEE
Most importantly, caffeine has a long half-life: It takes about six hours, depending on the person, for the body to break it down completely. This means that six hours after your espresso, half of the caffeine is still in your body and can stay there even longer. At 2 p.m., it's not a problem, but at 10 p.m., it's a different story, because caffeine affects the duration and quality of your sleep. If you drink coffee late at night, you may fall asleep without a problem, but you'll have less of the deep, restful sleep you need to wake up feeling rested.
Too much caffeine – which is classified by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as both a drug and a food additive – can also have other side effects, including nervousness, heartburn, constipation and diarrhea. Longer-term effects include impaired judgment, emotional exhaustion, mood swings, depression and anxiety.
If you are concerned that you may be drinking too much coffee, you should avoid drinking coffee in the late afternoon and evening. If you have sleep problems, you should generally limit your coffee consumption.
There are few official guidelines on how much coffee a day is healthy. This is partly because we all process caffeine at different rates; what leads to pleasant clarity for some makes others nervous and shaky. I only drink two cups of coffee a week, but I know others who like to drink five or six cups a day. Pregnant women are advised to drink only one cup of coffee a day.
Also to note: The caffeine content of a cup of coffee can vary widely – from 80 to 150 mg, depending on the variety and how it is roasted and brewed. Espresso contains more caffeine than instant coffee, and cold brew coffee can contain even more caffeine. Big coffee drinks have more caffeine, of course. So the exact amount of caffeine is difficult to determine.
So what about that extra shot of espresso in the morning? As with everything, the dose makes the poison. And as always, it's worth looking at the big picture. On a plant-based diet with lots of colorful, whole foods, you can safely have a cup of coffee – or double espresso – every now and then.
IS THERE A BETTER MORNING PICK-ME-UP??
A coffee in the morning is not the only option to start your day. A study Recent research found that a short endurance workout can have the same effect as caffeine – not to mention the health benefits that exercise can bring. The researchers also found that morning coffee withdrawal does not affect working memory – and that a brisk 20-minute walk can reduce other withdrawal symptoms, particularly fatigue and a depressed mood.
MORE COFFEE FACTS
Coffee and its effects on human health have been the subject of hundreds of studies and meta-analyses, d. h. of studies on studies of other people. At least in the last few decades, these studies have produced no evidence that coffee is harmful, and there is even evidence that it may benefit health.
For example, it could protect against heart disease. A large-scale study Study with 25.000 adults from South Korea in 2015 found that people who drank between three and five cups of coffee a day were less likely to have calcium deposits in their coronary arteries – an early indicator of cardiovascular disease.
A study published the previous year, in which researchers compared the results of 36 studies involving more than 1.270.000 subjects combined , showed that moderate coffee consumption was inversely related to cardiovascular risk 1 : Those who drank about three to five cups per day had the lowest risk of cardiovascular problems, and those who consumed five or more cups per day had no higher risk than those who drank no coffee at all.
And it gets better: a meta-analysis published in 2011 that included 59 studies suggests coffee is associated with a lower risk of pancreatic, liver, breast and prostate cancers.. Another 2015 study of three large groups of health professionals showed that consuming five cups of coffee a day was associated with a lower risk of death than people who drank no coffee at all.
In 2015, the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) concluded in its Dietary Guidelines (which for the first time assessed the impact of coffee on human health) that three to five cups of coffee is not bad for us, that there is good evidence that coffee drinking is associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and that there is moderate evidence of a beneficial effect of coffee and Parkinson's disease.
This year, the World Health Organization (WHO), which had classified coffee as "possibly carcinogenic to humans" in 1991, reviewed 500 relevant and recent epidemiological studies and revised that classification.
One caveat: WHO still says there appears to be a link between coffee that is too hot (more than 65 degrees Celsius) and esophageal cancer. (This is based primarily on evidence of a link between cancer and mate consumption in South America, as well as animal studies ).
Of course, a correlation is not proof of cause and effect and many of the studies have limitations. Coffee contains more than 1,000 chemicals, some of which have been shown to have health benefits, including substances that have been shown to reduce insulin resistance and reduce inflammation. Exactly which substances could play a role in this and how they act has not yet been definitively clarified.