coffee

Ask a Nutritionist: How much coffee is too much?

TheGo asks our local, qualified and respected nutritionists a question that has been puzzling you. This week it’s about that brown stuff that fires so many of us up in the morning. Are you a coffee quaffer? And is there anything wrong with that…?

If you have a food query for our expert panel to answer, please email [email protected]

Hannah Gentile – Eat Well Australia

The recommendation is that six cups, or less, per day of coffee for a healthy individual will not cause adverse effects – the equivalent of 600mg of caffeine. In fact, studies currently being carried out (including some large Harvard ones) are exploring the positive health benefits to coffee. However, what you put into your coffee can be potentially dangerous to your health. All the sugar, milk, and cream we add to each cup tallies up over the course of a day. If you have four cups of coffee a day and add two teaspoons of sugar to each one, over the course of a month you would have consumed over ONE KILO of sugar.

As for the caffeine in coffee, the amounts in normal cups are not harmful to most people. Caffeine elevates blood pressure and heart rate, as well as interfering with insulin production. Therefore it is recommended that those with high blood pressure and diabetes limit their intake. Pregnant woman also need to moderate their intake. Research has shown that caffeine crosses the placenta to the baby, who cannot process it easily, potentially causing complications. The same issues apply to breastfeeding infants.

So my recommendations for most people are to enjoy your coffee, but limit the sugar and other additions. If you suffer from high blood pressure, diabetes, are pregnant or breastfeeding, it’s better to lay off the black stuff entirely or limit consumption.

Mitch Smith – Health Management

It doesn’t matter if you’re from Boston and refer to coffee as ‘cwoffee’, or if you’re a typical Aussie and call it a ‘cuppa’; just about every person in the world enjoys the rich and heart-starting taste of a freshly-brewed coffee. Often a big downside is when your colleagues at work decide they want to breathe all over you with their terrible coffee breath and, for some reason, don’t respond well to a carefully placed tin of mints on their desk.

Unfortunately, caffeine also has quite a few side effects; apart from extremely bad breath! As a rule of thumb, I recommend consuming no more than one espresso shot of coffee per day and capping it at two instant coffees per day. Over consumption of caffeine can make it hard to lose the stubborn fat around your mid section and can also create headaches when trying to reduce your intake.

Another telltale sign is that you or your partner are not sleeping well – unfortunately punches in the arm for moving too much just don’t seem to work! If you love your coffee like I do, stick to one coffee per day and try and have two CFDs (Caffeine Free Days) per week.

The information provided is general in nature and should not substitute any health or medical advice. Please consult a qualified professional to assist with any specific conditions or queries.

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Carly Lubicz

Carly Lubicz

Carly Lubicz is combining two of her great loves — writing and getting active. Previously working as a journalist, sub-editor, and editor in newspapers and magazines; she is editor and co-founder of TheGo Townsville. She stays active with the staples of road cycling and yoga, but has recently discovered triathlon. And become addicted (apart from the swimming part). She also has a Cert III in Fitness and is passionate about improving mental health through physical activity.

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