I’ll admit it. I like my Café Vanilla Frappuccino with whipped cream from Starbuck’s from time to time. And maybe I have a coffee Sunday morning at my favorite breakfast spot but is coffee good or bad for us? Should anyone feel guilty about wanting coffee or more so, needing coffee every morning to start the day? Coffee drinkers will argue with you to the death about the health risks to justify there favorite morning ritual. But let’s look at the facts:

Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant and has positive effects on the body. In LOW DOSES, caffeine can improve sport performance, increase alertness, reduce fatigue and lift a person’s mood. Coffee and tea contain antioxidants which have positive effects on the heart.

Here’s the Problem

I’m seeing patients consume more coffee and energy drinks throughout the day resulting in too much caffeine intake. In excess, caffeine has been shown to cause sleep disorders, nervousness, irritability, restlessness, stomach irritation, increased heart rate, and dehydration. Coffee gives you some bursts of energy but long term may result in a crash after each consumption to lower levels of energy than before thereby necessitating another cup and another cup, etc. Thus, it may be addictive and ultimately may result in adrenal fatigue. Adrenal Fatigue results in people having difficulty waking up in the morning, needing coffee/energy drinks to get going, feeling run down, irritable and stressed out.

Moderation is the key for almost everything. Look for my paper on sugar and artificial sweeteners to see why it’s not necessarily the coffee, it’s what we are adding to it.

Dr. Paul O’Leary


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