Is Coffee Good For You or Bad For You?

Can coffee help you get a jump on summer?

Whether you’re picking up the pace with exercising, looking for smart ways to maintain control over your weight or just interested in reducing risk of certain diseases…here are some studies that are sure to catch your eye:

Coffee can aid exercise

Coffee can aid exerciseSummer is coming, and that means more people will be enjoying the outdoors and exercising. Don’t forget to take your coffee along – sure, it will be refreshing, but it also may help you reach your exercise goals.

There have been a number of studies showing that caffeine ingested before and during exercise can improve performance. Scientists conducted those studies using caffeine supplements or pills.

Now, a newly published paper shows that caffeinated coffee can have the same positive effect on performance as caffeine supplements do. This was a small study of eight trained cyclists/triathletes who participated in supervised performance tests. They drank either caffeinated coffee, instant decaffeinated or placebo one hour before exercising.

The authors write that this is the first study to date to demonstrate that caffeinated coffee consumed prior to exercise is equally as effective as caffeine in pill form at improving endurance exercise performance.

For details:

Hodgson AB, Randell RK, Jeukendrup AE. The Metabolic and Performance Effects of Caffeine Compared to Coffee during Endurance Exercise. PLoS One. 2013;8(4). Epub 2013 Apr 3.

Eating less

Is it possible that drinking coffee before a meal can reduce the amount of food you eat? If so, how long would the effect last? If there were such an effect, would it be for everyone?

Those are the intriguing questions posed by researchers in a paper just published in the medical journal, Obesity. The authors compared 33 normal weight and overweight volunteers who drank two different strengths of caffeinated coffee before a breakfast meal.

They found that there seemed to be a decrease in the number of calories consumed in that first meal and throughout the day for the overweight subjects who drank the stronger coffee only. There was no effect for the overweight subjects who drank the less caffeinated coffee before the breakfast meal. Also, the subjects who were normal weight had no effect, no matter which strength of coffee they drank.

This was just one small study, but the authors suggest that the results are intriguing and they call for more research on this subject.

For details:

Gavrieli A, Karfopoulou E, Kardatou E, et al. Effect of different amounts of coffee on dietary intake and appetite of normal-weight and overweight/obese individuals. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2013 May 13 [Epub ahead of print].

Metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes

coffee diabetes study

The medical community is increasingly concerned about metabolic syndrome, which is often also referred to as prediabetes. The condition, which is becoming all too common in our overweight society, is a collection of cardiovascular risk factors, such as high blood pressure, insulin resistance, obesity and abdominal fat, elevated blood glucose, and high total cholesterol and triglycerides. Recent research demonstrated that coffee helped to reduce blood glucose, total cholesterol, and triglycerides, offering the potential of protecting against metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.

In another very recent study of coffee’s effect on metabolic syndrome, the researchers investigated the association of habitual coffee consumption with the laboratory values, or biomarkers, of metabolic syndrome. Habitual coffee consumption was defined as drinking 1-4 cups a day. The researchers found that “habitual moderate coffee consumption shows significant inverse associations” with metabolic syndrome-related biomarkers.

For details:

Abrahão SA, Pereira RG, de Sousa RV, et al. Influence of Coffee Brew in Metabolic Syndrome and Type 2 Diabetes. Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 2013 May 9. [Epub ahead of print]

Mure K, Maeda S, Mukoubayashi C, et al. Habitual coffee consumption is inversely associated with metabolic syndrome-related biomarkers involving adiponectin. Nutrition. 2013 Apr 16. [Epub ahead of print].

More good news on coffee and liver disease

There have been quite a few studies indicating that drinking coffee may help heal a liver that has been injured by disease, such as cirrhosis, or that coffee could protect against the development of liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma or HCC).

coffee can help reverse liver disease

In the most recent research, scientists in Korea looked at over 1000 subjects living in an area known to have a high concentration of cases of hepatitis B. Hepatitis can lead to liver cancer. The researchers studied people who drank coffee; they also drank alcohol, and smoked.

A total of 1042 patients, or over 75%, of the study population, were current coffee drinkers; they had been drinking coffee for an average of 18 years. The research was to see whether drinking coffee long term affected the risk of developing liver cancer in this cancer-prone population.

The authors of this paper concluded that a high lifetime coffee consumption (1-4+ cups of coffee daily) “had a strong protective effect against” hepatocellular carcinoma. They wrote, “In conclusion, high coffee consumption was significantly associated with a reduced risk of HCC in subjects with and without chronic liver disease.”

For details:

Jang ES, Jeong SH, Lee SH, et al. The effect of coffee consumption on the development of hepatocellular carcinoma in hepatitis B virus endemic area. Liver Int. 2013 Apr 4 [Epub ahead of print].

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