The Benefits and Risks of Coffee: An Expert's Perspective

When we drink coffee, caffeine binds to adenosine receptors in our brain preventing us from feeling tired & increasing our alertness & exercise performance. Here's an evidence-based review on how it works & its potential benefits & risks.

The Benefits and Risks of Coffee: An Expert's Perspective

When we drink coffee, caffeine binds to the adenosine receptors in our brain, preventing the chemical from binding to the receptors and making us feel more alert. Caffeine also increases the supply of adrenaline, which increases the heart rate, causes blood to pump, and opens the airways. Caffeine is a powerful substance that improves exercise performance. Here is an evidence-based review of how it works and its potential benefits and risks.

Amid myths and controversies about whether caffeine is good or bad for us, evidence suggests that moderate coffee consumption can bring both benefits and risks. Caffeine may have some health benefits, but not all of them have been confirmed by research. Coffee consumption can help lower the risk of cirrhosis and slow the progression of the disease in hepatitis C infection. Observational studies have found that coffee may have protective benefits for people with hepatocellular cancer.

There are several myths surrounding caffeine consumption. Take a look at some of them. There is some controversy surrounding energy drinks. They have been banned from access to several student campuses, due to reports of health problems and even deaths.

Energy drinks contain not only caffeine, but also other plant-based stimulants, simple sugars or artificial sweeteners and additives. A 16-ounce serving of a well-known energy drink would contain about 50 g, 1.75 oz, or 5 teaspoons of sugar. When alcoholic beverages are mixed with energy drinks, caffeine may mask the depressant effects of alcohol. Alcohol also decreases the metabolism of caffeine, prolonging its effects. Drinkers who consume alcohol mixed with energy drinks are three times more likely to drink excessively than drinkers who do not report mixing alcohol with energy drinks.

When we drink coffee, caffeine binds to adenosine receptors in our brain, blocking the normal host, adenosine, from doing its job. Adenosine is responsible for slowing down nervous activity in the brain, which gives us the signal to calm down and take a nap. In addition, adenosine is responsible for regulating neurotransmitters in the brain, such as dopamine. As you can see, adenosine is quite similar to caffeine in structure, which is why caffeine so easily binds to the receptors of the adenosine protein. Once connected, caffeine increases the activity of neurotransmitters such as dopamine, which ultimately leads to increased brain activity.

However, because caffeine is structured so similar to adenosine, it can take its place in these receptors. When caffeine binds to receptors rather than adenosine, it causes nervous activity to accelerate. This increase in neuron activation triggers the release of adrenaline, which stimulates the central nervous system to make you feel more alert. Coffee is a useful aid when you're tired, but it's not really going to give you more energy in the long run. Some people consider coffee to be a healthy drink, but like most foods, excessive tasting can lead to side effects. Women with a good intake of calcium through their diet are unlikely to be at risk of osteoporosis as a result of coffee consumption.

People who reduced their daily consumption by more than one cup of coffee showed a 17 percent higher risk of type 2 diabetes. It was Dalgona cloud-like coffee that became a national sensation when consumers, trapped at home due to social distancing guidelines, tried to compensate for the temporary loss of their routine coffee visits. A study published in Diabetes Care in 2004 linked high coffee consumption over a 4-week period to increased fasting insulin levels. Black coffee is a good low-calorie way to get your fix, but drowning it out for its supposed weight loss benefits probably won't bring any noticeable changes. However, researchers haven't found a significant difference in fluid loss between people who drink or don't drink coffee. Data from 34,670 women in Sweden with no history of cardiovascular disease indicated that women who drank more than one cup of coffee a day had a 22 to 25 percent lower risk of stroke compared to women who drank less.

In a study of 968,432 men and women, participants who drank more than 4 cups of coffee a day had a 49 percent lower risk of death from oral cancer compared to those who didn't drink coffee or just one cup at a time. But do you know where coffee grows and how does it get to the United States? How is a French roast different from an Italian roast? What is a coffee cherry? Or how is decaffeinated coffee made? Studies have suggested that coffee increases heart rate thanks to the impact of caffeine on hormones and neurotransmitters.

Glenna Matthys
Glenna Matthys

Hardcore internet practitioner. Wannabe beer advocate. Infuriatingly humble beer expert. Devoted coffee evangelist. Hardcore social media scholar. Friendly beer fanatic.