So is it healthy?
A coffee in the morning will perk you up, one in the afternoon will help defeat that 3 o’clock slump, but 10 cups a day and you might become jittery! This every coffee drinker knows and has learnt.
But do the show’s doctors have an answer for us? In these confusing times of conflicting medical opinions, did we get the verdict on how healthy coffee and caffeine is for us (you can view the programme here)?
The trouble is, there are a lot of perspectives. A plain, sugar-free expresso every morning or afternoon is not going to be too much of a problem – in fact it might even be beneficial. If you have 8 large flat whites with three sugars each day, on the other hand, chances are it might be a problem for you!
Trust me, I’m a patient
We all know that doctors mean well – but that doesn’t stop the health profession from being confusing! Carbs can be healthy, carbs can be bad, salt will kill you, salt is lovely – sometimes it seems like professional opinions ride on a carousel.
For many of us, taking an interest in our own health and following solid advice from trusted professionals – while filtering out the wilder debates – can help a great deal. Incremental approaches to better health, as well as listening to your body, will be better for you in the long run than a television series that is more entertainment than solid fact.
What about substitutes?
The episode also covers substitutes for coffee that could be used – sage pills, chewing gum and chocolate. Each had varying degrees of success (or failure). However, given that the show aims to see through misleading advice, such a small sample group and a test for television should be taken with a grain of salt. There are substitutes for everything, but it doesn’t mean they are better for you.
Moderation is the key
One or two cups a day, from a health angle, are not going to make much of a difference in someone’s overall health. If however you are in of the ‘10 cups a day’ group’ and you do want to cut down on coffee and caffeine intake for a healthier fix, try cutting out milks and sugars first. Another way is to improve the quality of coffee you drink – smaller, more aromatic and tastier amounts to form the morning ritual. Try using a bean to cup coffee machine or filter coffee instead of instant coffee.
It’s not just about physical health?
What wasn’t covered is the cultural aspect of coffee. There is a reason why people are passionate about coffee. For many of us, coffee isn’t used as a crutch, but as a social lubricant, a way to enjoy a break or to finish a great lunch (we might, however, use it sometimes to drag ourselves out of bed!). It might be a way to escape the stresses of work in the afternoon for a little while, or it could be used to gain better focus when at work.