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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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July 27, 2016

The Definitive Guide to Coffee

By Mark Sisson
155 Comments

Definitive Guide to Coffee FinalCoffee is serious business. We Americans drink about 400 million cups of it per day and spend several billion dollars on it each year. It’s the most popular drug on earth, and certainly the most socially acceptable. In many ways, coffee’s the closest thing we’ve got to a universal, daily ritual, as just about every morning, billions of people across the planet prostrate themselves before the holy, energy-giving legume. It also hails from the same place the earliest members of our species do: East Africa (Ethiopia, to be exact). That the most industrious animal ever to walk the planet and the psychoactive legume that fuels said industry both hail from the same place on earth is pure poetry.

Coffee’s also delicious. I’d say you’d have to pry my coffee from my cold, dead fingers, only the ensuing struggle would slosh it all onto the floor, and that would be such a waste.

Yet it’s also considered to be a vice, one of those substances that “everyone knows” is bad for you.

Is it?

Before I get into the evidence, let’s give the ending away early: it’s (probably) good for (most of) you. And yeah, I’m biased as hell. So what? It’s based on considerable evidence, and you likely share the same pro-coffee bias.

The majority of the evidence in favor of coffee consists of epidemiological studies—making observations of and gathering data from large populations. These cannot establish causation, but the trend is clear: it seems to be good for us.

Breast cancer: Consumption of caffeinated coffee, but not decaf, has a protective effect on postmenopausal breast cancer risk.

Cancer: Coffee consumption is associated with a modest reduction in cancer “at any site.”

Cognitive decline: Coffee consumption is consistently associated with lower rates of age-related cognitive decline.

Colorectal cancer: Most research shows an inverse relationship between coffee drinking and colorectal cancer. Some research suggests a positive link, but the results are muddied by the fact that coffee drinkers were more likely to be smokers.

Diabetes: Increasing your coffee intake results in a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, even if it’s decaf.

Endothelial function: Coffee polyphenols improve endothelial function after glucose loading in men, ameliorate the endothelial dysfunction that normally follows a meal, and prevent the hyperglycemia associated with endothelial dysfunction and oxidative stress.

Gallstones: Among American men, coffee intake protects against symptomatic gallstone disease.

Inflammation: After abstaining from coffee for a month, habitual coffee drinkers were given 4 cups a day for the second month and 8 cups a day for the third. Markers of subclinical inflammation all dropped and HDL cholesterol increased with coffee consumption.

Liver cancer: Coffee has a protective relationship with liver cancer mediated by markers of liver damage and inflammation.

Mortality: Coffee consumption has an inverse relationship to all-cause mortality. Early mortality, that is; it doesn’t make you immortal. Though nurses who drink the most coffee do have longer telomeres.

Oxidative stress: Women with higher caffeine intakes (via coffee and tea) show evidence of lower oxidative stress, less DNA damage, and a greater capacity for DNA repair.

Parkinson’s disease: Higher coffee intakes predict slightly lower rates of Parkinson’s disease.

Prostate cancer: Coffee consumption reduces risk of prostate cancer.

Stroke: Moderate coffee consumption is associated with a reduced risk of stroke. Even high coffee consumption (8 cups a day) appears slightly protective.

Sun damage: Coffee and its polyphenols are associated with protection against photoaging.

It becomes even more convincing when you realize that coffee isn’t a conventionally “healthy” beverage. There’s very little room to make the “healthy user bias” argument.

Potential disease and death avoidance is an important feature of coffee, to be sure, but what about the shorter-term benefits? Most people don’t drink coffee to “improve their postprandial hyperglycemic response.” They drink it because it makes them feel good and improves their performance.

Coffee improves cognitive function

It boosts executive functioning and working memory (so long as the task isn’t highly dependent on working memory). Coffee also improves your mood and makes you think you’re drawing from a bottomless well of mental energy, an effect that may be even more important than the actual physiological effects on cognition. I call it productive optimism, and I rely on it for quick bursts of creation and idea generation in the morning. Even decaf works, as the chlorogenic acid present in both decaf and caffeinated coffee have been shown to improve mood.

Coffee is great for workouts

Whether it’s endurance, HIIT, sprint, badmintonresistance training, or almost any athletic pursuit you can name, a cup or two of coffee before your workout can improve performance.

And contrary to popular belief, coffee does not dehydrate you. Studies show no difference in hydration status between people drinking coffee, water, or other beverages. One measured fluid, electrolyte, and renal indices of hydration over eleven days of caffeine consumption in human subjects, finding that doses of up to 6 mg caffeine per kilogram of body weight had no effect on body mass, urine osmolality (urine concentration), urine specific gravity (concentration of excreted materials in urine), urine color, urine volume, sodium excretion, potassium secretion, creatinine content, blood urea nitrogen (forms when protein breaks down), and serum levels of sodium and potassium.

Coffee is the biggest dietary source of polyphenols

Maybe if goji berry tea shops were on every corner, every man, woman, and child ate acai bowls for breakfast, coffee wouldn’t be the biggest source of phytonutrients. Gram for gram, coffee ranks behind most berries. But in the real world, where most people drink several large cups of coffee each day, coffee is the the primary way we get our antioxidants. That’s true for Japan, Spain, Poland, and many other countries.

You Primal folks reading this over your Big Ass Salads full of colorful veggies and typing away with your turmeric-dusted fingers get the best of both worlds: the big load of coffee polyphenols plus the antioxidants found in all the other colorful produce the world has to offer.

True, there are some negative studies. Animal studies in particular are more likely to show negative results. But it’s important to realize that animals are not habitual coffee drinkers. Giving a group of lab mice a bunch of caffeinated coffee isn’t the same as giving it to humans who’ve been drinking it for years. Caffeine, like so many other plant compounds we hold in high regard, is a natural plant pesticide that certain plants (like coffee and tea) employ to ward off and even kill small predators. The bulk of the evidence suggests that humans have co-opted this “toxin” and made it healthy, hormetic input that, in the right doses, improves our health and well-being.

That said, not everyone should start a pot-a-day habit. Depending on several variables, coffee consumption has its downsides.

Coffee and sleep

Coffee has an obvious relationship with sleep: it counters it. The most common use of coffee is to stay awake. It can’t replace sleep over the long term, but in the short term it can mitigate the cognitive deficits.  And studies indicate it can have a bad effect on sleep if consumed at the wrong time:

No surprises here: don’t drink caffeinated coffee at night and hope to sleep normally.

Coffee and pregnancy

Caffeine crosses the placenta, and numerous studies indicate it has a deleterious effect on the unborn. Some possible effects:

Moms-to-be, stick to decaf.

Coffee and cortisol

Studies show that coffee induces a modest but noticeable spike in cortisol that levels off as you become habituated to coffee. However, it may inhibit your ability to modulate existing cortisol levels. If you’re already stressed out, turning to the bean may make things worse and keep cortisol elevated.

Folks who drink coffee regularly probably don’t need to worry about cortisol, since their bodies have acclimated to it and no longer register coffee as a “stressor.”

Slow versus fast caffeine metabolizers

Caffeine is metabolized by a liver enzyme encoded by the CYP1A2 gene. If you have the CC variant of CYP1A2, you are a slow caffeine metabolizer. If you have the AC variant, you are a moderate metabolizer. And if you have the AA variant, you are a fast metabolizer of caffeine.

In slow and medium metabolizers, caffeine lasts longer in the blood and has a stronger effect. They’re the ones who get cracked out after a half cup of coffee, or can’t have caffeine after noon if they want to sleep that night. Fast metabolizers are the opposite. They process caffeine very efficiently, and it affects them less. These are the types who can have a quad espresso before bed and sleep like babies.

Is stronger, longer caffeine a good thing?

Caffeine isn’t an upper in the classical sense. Instead, caffeine acts by mimicking a compound called adenosine and binding to its receptors before the real thing can. Adenosine is a byproduct of neuronal activity. The more active your brain is, the more adenosine it produces. When adenosine levels get high enough, they bind to adenosine receptors and trigger sleepiness. By blocking adenosine, caffeine counters sleepiness and increases cognitive function, but it also inhibits another, more helpful effect of adenosine: vasodilation, or widening of blood vessels.

Consequently, slow caffeine metabolizers who drink a lot of coffee appear to have higher rates of diseases linked to poor vasodilation:

These aren’t good. Research shows that slow metabolizers can get away with about a cup or two of coffee a day, but not 3+.

Women taking hormonal contraceptives also have reduced caffeine metabolism.

Nicotine increases caffeine metabolism, so smokers, snuff-users, and nootropic fans exploring the cognitive effects of isolated nicotine can handle more coffee.

How to do it right.

Try different brewing methods until you find one you love and don’t mind doing

I won’t debate the various brewing techniques. No one way is best, and everyone has their favorite method. But a new method that’s been taking the world by storm is cold brew. Try 12 ounces of coarsely-ground light roast beans (one of the “third wave” single origin fancy types featuring “laced with toasted cacao nibs” and “ribbons of nougat and hints of boysenberry” on the label) to 60 ounces of filtered water with a few splashes of Trace Mineral Drops. Sit at room temperature for at least 12 hours and filter through a French press. The result is an intense coffee concentrate, sort of a “cold espresso.” You can drink it straight up in small amounts with a dash of cream. But personally, if it’s colder out, I’m still a sucker for my dark roast brewed in a French press with a bit of pastured heavy cream and a teaspoon of sugar.

Don’t drink it first thing in the morning

Cortisol follows a circadian pattern. Right before you wake up, cortisol spikes to prepare you for the day. Right after you wake up, it spikes again, pushing you to the highest levels of the day. Drinking coffee when cortisol is high is somewhat redundant. Since you’re getting less of an effect from the coffee, you’re more likely to double up the dosage and therefore spike your tolerance. A better way is to wait about an hour after you wake up to have your first cup.

Drink coffee when you don’t need it

This seems counterintuitive, but bear with me.

Coffee works much better when you’re well-rested and those adenosine receptors are clean as a whistle. That’s when coffee truly shines. Rather than waking you up, it propels you forward to productivity, optimism, and greatness.

Coffee does help counter fatigue and sleep deprivation in a pinch, but it’s more of an equalizer than a booster. And it’s not a good long-term solution for lack of sleep. Nothing is, really, except more sleep.

Don’t worry too much about organic

Studies show that coffee processing destroys the vast majority of coffee pesticides. In one extremely reassuring study, washing the green coffee beans eliminated 15-58% of pesticides and roasting eliminated up to 99.8%. By the time they got around to brewing, none of the 12 studied pesticides were detectable.

Some people under certain contexts, or with certain genetic variants, shouldn’t drink as much coffee as the rest of us. And you probably shouldn’t drink coffee at night, or count on it to replace sleep. But all in all, coffee has some very cool effects.

It’s great for training.

It’s good for productivity and mood.

It contains a whopping dose of antioxidants.

It’s consistently associated with protection against a host of diseases and conditions.

Drink up!

What do you think, folks? Do you drink coffee? Is it nectar from the gods or bile from the underworld? Maybe both, depending on the day?

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155 Comments on "The Definitive Guide to Coffee"

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Brian
Brian
9 months 28 days ago

Can’t think of a better article to read while drinking coffee!

dayve
dayve
9 months 26 days ago

Hey, coffee (genus Coffea) is not a legume–the term “coffee bean” is a misnomer. Its a member of the coffee family, Rubiaceae. Legume refers to the Fabaceae. Just a heads up since this is a definitive guide. Cheers!

JONATHAN
JONATHAN
9 months 26 days ago

Isn’t coffee the opposite of primal? It seems quite labor intensive (cultuvating, harvesting, roasting, boiling, etc.) That sounds more like raising wheat than hunting / gathering.

JKM
JKM
9 months 26 days ago

I’m drinking coffee as I read this also. Just give me the coffee and no one will get hurt

Animanarchy
Animanarchy
9 months 28 days ago

Oh goody this one sounds interesting! Haven’t even read it yet. I think I’m getting my bottle of coffee I don’t really need at the moment out of my bag for this one just because.
I enjoy these “definitive guides”. There’s so many on varying topics that I’m wondering when Mark’s going to put out The Definitive Guide to Life and/or Everything.

Animanarchy
Animanarchy
9 months 28 days ago
Might end up making a string of replies but just remembered I was planning to share a simple tip here many of you were probably aware of already or at least after this article. That is that oxidation can happen in the stomach and this can destroy or use up antioxidant vitamins such as A,C, D, and E when they come in contact with the oxidants so when often when I eat something high in those vitamins, especially if I think I need them, I’ll make it a point to get extra antioxidants at the same time via some coffee,… Read more »
OnTheBayou
OnTheBayou
9 months 27 days ago

I think you are overthinking this. Paralysis (or angst) by over analysis.

Just enjoy your real foods.

Zach
Zach
9 months 28 days ago

Does the heat of the coffee make any significant changes to milk or cream if you add that? Also thanks for the article, just in time since I just started drinking coffee recently.

Animanarchy
Animanarchy
9 months 28 days ago

I wondered if the heat can ruin the healthy stuff in honey when you add it to coffee. Pasteurization is supposed to make honey unhealthy by destroying organic chemicals and essentially rendering it pure fructose.

Zach Rusk
9 months 28 days ago

Idk about that. The issue is mostly that the raw bio active compounds will be killed by heat. It’s advised to wait a couple minutes before adding the honey. Less heat is less probiotics, so try to balance it.

Alexis
Alexis
9 months 27 days ago

Yes, heat does make the honey toxic. Don’t add honey in anything that is above 40 degrees C!

OnTheBayou
OnTheBayou
9 months 27 days ago

Oh, for Pete’s sake! Heat does not make honey “toxic.” It doesn’t and won’t kill you or make you sick. Now, if you have concerns about some of the components being neutered, so to speak, fine. But please don’t throw out the word “toxic” if you don’t know what it means.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toxicology

Joshua
Joshua
9 months 28 days ago

Not likely. Coffee isn’t really all that hot. Probably about 160 F by the time you get to drinking it.

Esme
Esme
9 months 28 days ago
I looks like you left out the issue of dependancy. While coffee may be benign from a health standpoint, people who are addicted to caffeine literally don’t function properly without it. My mom gets horrible headaches if she doesn’t get her fix for whatever reason. She has tried countless times to quit drinking coffee and has failed every time. I find that to be a big negative, personally. I’ll stick with antioxidants that don’t torture me for not consuming them. But maybe I’d be less grumpy about it after a shot of espresso. I’ll never know. 🙂
Billy
Billy
9 months 28 days ago
Esme, this was my exact thought, too. I’m in my 50s and I’ve discovered coffee for the first time last year. It really IS a wonder drug. And the only reason I keep it as a once-a-week treat (okay, sometimes twice a week) is because I don’t want to get addicted. Why in the world would anyone want to become addicted to something? My wife told me if she stopped having her single cup of coffee in the morning, she would have a massive headache as a withdrawal symptom. That can’t be a good thing. Curious what others have to… Read more »
Nocona
Nocona
9 months 28 days ago

I’ve quit and restarted coffee plenty of times because I don’t like thinking anything can cause dependency in me. No big deal. A headache or two for a couple days after quitting and then it’s smooth sailing from there. The withdrawal symptoms are really child’s play. Come on, buck up and take the headache for a couple days (maybe 3 or 4). After a month off and coming back to drinking coffee…heaven!

Jogo
Jogo
9 months 27 days ago
If you research caffeine withdrawal you will see that for many it is not child’s play. I quit cold turkey 4 days ago and it’s been awful. Maybe the worst 4 days of my life. I have had coffee everyday for 25 years and all during that time I would have scoffed at the idea that I would be this debilitated if I stopped. I’m not scoffing now. I’ve had a tremendous headache, my sinuses have exploded, I have no interest in the gym, no libido and have been constipated in a most uncomfortable way. Anyone quitting tobacco, alcohol or… Read more »
Clara
Clara
9 months 27 days ago
I use coffee as a drug. Due to hormonal fluctuations I get extremely sad and depressed the week before my menstruation. I have the choice between staying in this bad condition -and I experienced it a lot, it’s not funny at all.- or having a coffee and feeling happy again. Except in this situation, I don’t need coffee. I love the smell of it but I don’t care about the taste. I just see it as an amazing mood-booster. Do you care about the taste of your antidepressant? You just want it to do its job. I’m still looking for… Read more »
OnTheBayou
OnTheBayou
9 months 27 days ago

I drink six to twelve cups a day.

On the rare days I don’t have coffee, I don’t feel a thing, nor have cravings.

And even if people do, so what? It’s their choice.

Steve
Steve
13 days 20 hours ago

We must have similar genetics. I don’t get withdrawal symptoms from coffee either. Or if I do (once per year, if that), it’s during a time of poor diet, or high stress.

Beth
Beth
9 months 27 days ago

Maybe it has to do with how quickly or slowly you metabolize coffee? Mark mentioned the three types. I would think the fast metabolizers would be less dependent. Just guessing, but that may have something to do with it.

Susan Campbell
Susan Campbell
9 months 27 days ago

I had to go off caffeine (after being pretty much a life long caffeine drinker) for a surgery. I started weaning myself off…just cut back a little each day…did NOT go cold turkey! Perhaps this approach would work for your mother. I was just a little bit headachey, nothing I couldn’t handle. Once I got clean, I had no cravings for caffeine at all. I maybe have a coffee once a week now, in a medicinal fashion. Best wishes to you and your mom!

Steve
Steve
13 days 20 hours ago
This is where genetics probably comes in. I drink coffee daily, about 2 reusable Starbucks travel mugs worth (one Ikea French press), but I can drink far more, and go right to bed, or quit entirely without withdrawal headaches (if I do get a withdrawal headache, one per year at most, it generally coincides with a period where I’m eating poorly). Similarly, when I was a cigarette smoker, going without never caused me withdrawal symptoms (again, the rare times it did, they were mild, and usually during times of high stress). The addiction was more out of boredom, needing something… Read more »
Jessica
Jessica
9 months 28 days ago

I love my morning coffee! Not necessarily for the caffeine boost, but I love the taste (of good coffee). That’s an interesting point you made about waiting an hour or so after waking up to drink coffee. I typically have it 20 mins after waking up because I like to drink it when I get ready for work, but the times were I waited I noticed that I woke up just fine. I’ll have to invest in a travel mug so I can enjoy my coffee on the train!

KidPsych
KidPsych
9 months 28 days ago

I’m going to ignore the part about waiting an hour after I wake up to have my first cup.

Animanarchy
Animanarchy
9 months 28 days ago

As a responsible, moderate-minded coffee aficionado (hehe) I usually limit myself to a few cups a day.
My cups are approximately the size of a pot.

Todd Caraway
Todd Caraway
1 month 1 day ago

Oh @Animanarchy I just got a good chuckle from your “my cups are approximately the size of a pot” comment. I needed a good laugh today.

Harry Mossman
Harry Mossman
9 months 28 days ago
I used to drink up to 6 (mostly, but not entirely, decaf) cups a day. On the other hand, hot tea was for when (now rarely) I had a cold. After one acupuncture treatment, it switched. Now I sometimes have coffee but have tea every day, hot in cold weather. Coffee just doesn’t taste all that great. I used to have the strongest coffee I could get and sneered at light. Now, I want light if I have it. Both tea and coffee are insanely healthy. I don’t think the change improved my health. But I also don’t think it… Read more »
Dana
Dana
9 months 28 days ago

I found out that lighter coffee has more caffeine… Go figure. My dark roast has the least caffeine but the strongest taste. Thought that was really odd and counterintuitive, but apparently roasting the beans longer removes caffeine.

Kyle
9 months 28 days ago

Thank you for this all-in-one article on coffee! I’m going my 2nd cup now!

Animanarchy
Animanarchy
9 months 28 days ago
There’s a drop-in center around here that lets you get unlimited free coffee from 8am to 3pm when they’re open on weekdays so I tend to abuse that option and drink excess coffee though some days I don’t even have any. Often hotel lobbies have free coffee machines and I’ve been known to walk into some of them and get some free coffee after asking or just blatantly fill up metal bottles and big wine bottles when there aren’t any snobby staff that might try to stop me – that’s at the two regular lobbies I sometimes go to. It… Read more »
Shary
Shary
9 months 28 days ago

I must be a slow metabolizer. I stopped drinking coffee about 10 years ago because it was causing GI tract problems and poor quality sleep. I switched to a low-caffeine green tea, which doesn’t seem to have any adverse effects.

ShaSha
ShaSha
9 months 28 days ago

Love my coffee, but I must be a “slow metabolizer” of caffeine-1cup gives me a pretty large spike in blood pressure, and any coffee or tea (even green) after 1:00pm can keep me awake all night, literally.
I learned a long time ago that I function best with maybe 1 cup of regular, and then maybe 1 or two at most of decaf a day.
Great post, always like to learn more about the beverage I have come to enjoy so much.

PrimalGuy83
PrimalGuy83
9 months 28 days ago

In a previous post, I believe it was a “Dear Mark,” you mentioned that coffee could temporarily increase insulin resistance, which makes that fact that many on a SAD diet pair coffee with a pasty especially bad.. Is it coffee specifically, or caffeine that triggers insulin resistance?

wildgrok
wildgrok
9 months 28 days ago

Nice article, going right now to the new expresso machine installed at work. Be right back

Joshua
Joshua
9 months 28 days ago

Make sure you use the espresso machine. The expresso is just a faster cup of regular.

wildgrok
wildgrok
9 months 28 days ago

No no this machine is especial, out of this world.

There are rumors that it costs $10000. but it is leased. It makes expresso, regular , latte, mocha and some other more, adds milk, also makes chocolate to boot!

And when you make the expresso in the touchscreen (!) you can choose two or three beans in the display for an extra boost.

Now I have to go again to the machine for a double expresso!

Barry
Barry
9 months 28 days ago

Mark, I have a few questions because I’ve been waiting for a definitive guide to coffee. First, about the cortisol, I was wondering if supplementing l-theanine would reduce the negative stress inducing effects the caffeine has similar to how a cup of green tea acts? Second, I’ve read from many different sites that pre-ground coffee has a substantial reduced amount of antioxidants compared to freshly ground beans. Also, thanks for the info on inorganic coffee. I had a friend tell me only buy organic because of the pesticide residue content.

Amy k
Amy k
9 months 27 days ago
I’m going to say yes on the l-theanine. My morning ritual is to bust open an l-theanine for my anxious dog on his food, then I take one because it really does give a calm feeling. Lol! Then I brew my coffee by the pour over method with a blend of decaf and regular. I add butter, mct oil and a splash of 1/2 and 1/2, so good!! Then, I walk my dogs and we are all happy beings. I don’t get jitters or blood sugar issues like I used to. L-theanine is totally safe for dogs, it’s in veterinarian… Read more »
tom LI
tom LI
9 months 28 days ago
Not mentioned was the whole debate over the mold on coffee beans/berries. Some say it’s harmful, inflammatory, others not a worry. I’m on the no worries side, as we don’t see a lot reasonably healthy and fit people suffering from inflammtory problems due their coffee consumption. Personally I prefer organic, simply for the good earth practices and those growers are usually not linked to big producers…but smaller, and local farmers. I must be a quick metabolizer…I have to drink a lot of it in a row, to truly feel the buzz…jitters. And I buy one of the highest caffeine rated… Read more »
Todd Caraway
Todd Caraway
1 month 1 day ago

@tom LI I agree with the good earth practice. I just shared this and the organic study with my brother. While it’s possible we don’t need to buy organic for the health benefits, I do prefer to buy locally roasted beans who buy from small, more earth friendly farms.

Paleo Bon Rurgundy
Paleo Bon Rurgundy
9 months 28 days ago

Oppressed trade coffee beans that are force fed to caged civets… K cup only…

Joshua
Joshua
9 months 28 days ago

From reading your posts for several years, would it be a stretch to think you might be live streaming Mises university at this moment?

Paleo Bon Rurgundy
9 months 28 days ago

The idea is not a stretch. There are a few speakers I’d like to hear. Cannot stream at work, so an archive or future audio only mp3 is how I will do it.

Kent
Kent
9 months 28 days ago

As a Mormon, coffee is discouraged. I take a caffeine pill daily (200 mg) and brew cacao in a French press (like Crio Bru or King Koko) instead. Am I missing out on any polyphenols or other benefits?

jill
jill
9 months 28 days ago

It is the caffeine in the coffee which makes it undesirable, due to its ability to addict.
So you might as well drink coffee if you’re taking caffeine in a pill.

Jane
Jane
9 months 27 days ago

If drinking coffe is discouraged why is the pill ok?

Ex-Mormon
Ex-Mormon
7 months 29 days ago

Living only the “letter of the law” isn’t going to win you any brownie points at the pearly gates…

Dena
Dena
9 months 28 days ago

This is a great summary, thanks! Mark, I would love to know your thoughts on mold in coffee. It sure if that is something worth worrying about.

Dr. Dana Leigh Lyons
9 months 28 days ago
Just when I was contemplating cutting back 🙂 I actually do feel more rested and alert after reducing coffee intake for a spell (and, on occasion, cutting it entirely). But there’s nothing quite like my daily bulletproof breakfast. It’s an addiction I’ve decided to hold onto for now. I do avoid coffee upon waking (because of the doubled up cortisol effect). And I drink less rather than more if I’ve slept poorly the night before or am feeling extra-tired (coffee just tends to make things worse in such cases, taxing my HPA axis further, I find). With clients, I encourage… Read more »
Elizabeth
9 months 28 days ago
Great post, and one that I’m sure I’ll refer to again! I gave up coffee for three years, but have to say I feel better now that I am drinking it again. My personal preference (as my blog readers know all too well!) is to brew in the French press, and then throw in my Vitamix with coconut oil, collagen peptides, and maybe a little extra boost like raw cacao or turmeric. Also some grass fed ghee if I have it. I drink this in the am while I’m doing my morning routine and absolutely love everything about it…the taste,… Read more »
AdD
AdD
9 months 28 days ago

I get addicted having one cup. If I don’t have it the next day, I get a sometimes debilitating headache and feel nauseous. There’s nothing I can do but go to sleep. I wake up the next day just fine. I have IBS and sometimes my colon is irritated by coffee. But I’m a teacher! Coffee lifts me up so that I can “perform” everyday in front of my students and maintain a certain level of expressive energy to keep them engaged. It’s so hard without it! Love/hate for me.

Joooolia
Joooolia
9 months 28 days ago
I weaned myself off caffeine in my early 20s with no side effects, then went on a cross country road trip where all of my hosts greeted me with caffeinated beverages. I was re-addicted by the end of the trip. Later, while training for a 15K, I tweaked my back mid-run. Someone suggested caffeine, as a mild-anti-inflammatory. It worked. I still eventually tried to decaffeinate myself again. Day 2 was the caffeine headache, which was expected and tolerable. Day 3 was the rest of my body ache, particularly lower back. I stopped feeling guilty about my coffee problem. If a… Read more »
Steven
Steven
9 months 28 days ago

Yes, I definitely would like to hear more about the MOLD issue. And any links to the effect of coffee on inflammatory markers? Thanks.

Pam
Pam
9 months 28 days ago
I love my 2 cups of coffee each morning with cream, stevia and recently molasses (yum). I wish I could drink more but it makes me jittery. I get cranky and a headache in about an hour in the morning if I don’t drink. I had blood drawn about 9 am on Monday and felt horrible waiting to get my first sip. Very interesting about the organic info. I have been paying the extra $ to drink organic. Maybe that is an extra expense I can forgo. I want to research that some more bc somewhere along the line I… Read more »
Esther Cook
Esther Cook
9 months 28 days ago

Coffee also has an asthma medicine in it called Theophylline. I have mild unmedicated asthma and when I couldn’t get to sleep due to coughing, I brewed some coffee and soon I was sleeping like a baby. Weird, but it worked for me.

Pastor Dave
9 months 28 days ago

Americans consume 400 million cups of coffee per day– not per year!!!!

Obviously we are coffee nuts! (or beans)

Matthew Zastrow
9 months 28 days ago
I wonder what Mark has to say about Adrenal Fatigue and the thought of how people can over do it with stimulants (caffeine) which can hurt adrenals? Forget coffee! I enjoy using Pine Pollen, Macha root powder, Raw Cacoa, or herbs like thyme for tea instead. Also a product from Nutriwest called DSF gives me a helping hand with energy all while providing compounds to HEAL the adrenal gland. Morning affirmations can also give you a boost! Chug down 30 oz of clean water with 1/2 tsp Pink Himalayan Sea Salt SOLE mix first thing in the morning! Do some… Read more »
Nancy
Nancy
9 months 28 days ago

I grind organic beans and then mix the coffee 1/2 and 1/2 with fresh ground chicory. No headaches if I miss a day. I also add raw cream and or real butter, blend a bit and yummy!

Jake
Jake
9 months 28 days ago

Mark,

I just looked at my 23andme and there are 40 CYP1A2 genes.. Four of them have “A or C” variants. Which Marker (SNP) do I look at for coffee metabolism? The four SNPs are:

rs762551
rs72547513
rs17861157
rs28465265

Thanks!

Lynn
Lynn
9 months 28 days ago

From Chris Kresser’s Dec. 16, 2015 blog post: If you’ve done 23andme, log in, go to “My account,” select “Browse raw data,” and type “CYP1A2” into the “Jump to a gene” search box. Once on the search results page, find the rs762551 SNP. In the far right column, it will give your variant of that SNP. If you are AA, you’re a fast metabolizer. If you are AC or CC, you’re a slow metabolizer (with CC being slower than AC).

Jake
Jake
9 months 28 days ago

Thanks, Lynn!

Katrina
Katrina
9 months 27 days ago

I ran my raw data from 23andMe through Promethease (fantastic site – costs $5 and they give you a lot of detail – although, if you freak out easily it might not be a good idea, but it’s great for information nerds…lol), and it uses the rs762551 marker/SNP to determine caffeine metabolizer status. Hope that helps!

Noconago
Noconago
9 months 27 days ago

I’ve used the same sites as you and I’ve learned (and experienced) that 1 cup a day for me is all I can handle, or a cup of decaf in early afternoon, but that 1 cup in the morning is soooo delicious.

River Cook
9 months 28 days ago

I’m bummed that Mark says “don’t worry about organic” when it comes to coffee. Let’s remember that actual people grow this coffee. Pesticides harm these people, and the planet. Pesticides harm the roasters that roast the coffee that comes to you. When we choose organic, small farmer grown coffee, it’s not only better for the farmers, economically and physically, but you can find good coffee for under $9/pound in many places.

Part of Grokking for me means supporting clean supply chains, nit just the end product that goes in my mouth.

Lisa Wolfe
9 months 27 days ago

I concur!!

Robert MacIntyre
6 months 11 days ago

The world is overpopulated and will not be able to sustain our species for much longer. So using simple logic. We can conclude that people dying from pesticides is not necessarily a bad thing; dare I say it’s a good thing. If you dont like this fact, then sacrifice one of your parasites, I meen kids.

Amy
9 months 28 days ago

I love coffee, yes I do. Could you imagine a world without coffee??
I really enjoyed this post

Amy | http://www.yankified.com

Richard Earnshaw
Richard Earnshaw
9 months 28 days ago

Here I thought I was daft for wanting my coffee a couple hours after I’m up. And having the metabolism part explains why one cup a day works just fine. Never after 3 00 pm and sleep is fine.
Really good synopsis. …..thanks
Regards,
Richard

His Dudeness
His Dudeness
9 months 28 days ago

I’ve noticed a much faster punch of caffeine from cold brew than from traditionally-brewed coffee. I also prefer it because of the lack of bitterness. What’s really great is that it’s so easy to make at home – great because most of the stuff I see in stores is $3-4 for a smallish bottle.

Rozska
Rozska
9 months 28 days ago
Just this morning I roasted yet another batch of my own coffee beans. That way, I can get delicious coffee without having to pay for the really expensive beans! (Fresh Roast 500, from the coffeeproject.com.) The machine paid for itself the first year. I am addicted to caffeine. At some point will probably wean myself back off it again. It’s just that I enjoy roasting my own beans so much, true alchemy. As for cold brew–I tend to make that out of decaf (yes, beans that I roasted as well). It’s so lovely to be able to have iced coffee… Read more »
Stephen
Stephen
9 months 28 days ago

As soon as I wake up, I have my apple cider vinegar (ACV), cinnamon, cayenne and Himalayan salt and lemon water to convert my body from an acidic base to a alkaline base as cancer cannot exist in an alkaline state. This is 30 minutes before eating. Then I have coffee 1- 2 times a week. I use to drink it daily.
.

marion
marion
9 months 24 days ago

can you give me your recipe for your morning drink thanks

John Schiffel
9 months 28 days ago

At 65, lost the ability to discern the delicious taste variations of different coffee varieties. Still enjoy the stimulating caffeine effect, and other foods taste as good as ever, but the coffee-sensitive taste buds went suddenly silent. Similar experiences? Theories? Advice?

Stephen
Stephen
9 months 28 days ago

I agree with River Cook. Buy organic when you can. So many stores carry it. Let go of your old standard coffee and try a new organic type and save lives of people in disadvantaged areas.

Gary Ogden
Gary Ogden
9 months 28 days ago

Coffee arabica is not a legume at all, but a member of the Madder family (Rubiaceae), like the lovely Gardenia. Nevertheless, I am happily addicted. First, bone broth in the morning, then coffee with cream.

Kit
Kit
9 months 28 days ago

I, personally, don’t think coffee is good for health. I do, however, sometimes drink coffee.Just my opinion. I suppose it could depend on the person, a bit.

John
John
9 months 27 days ago

That’s kinda silly, the article references scientific and medical data, not personal opinions.

Kit
Kit
9 months 27 days ago

I suppose the statement was a bit sweeping. How one item affects, is related to so many other factors, but hence why I was vague and not claiming divinity. Being silly is not synonymous worth being wrong. The world was once flat.

Kit
Kit
9 months 27 days ago

with:not worth

Susan
Susan
9 months 27 days ago

Sorry, but the flat earth argument just does not hold water:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myth_of_the_flat_Earth

Angela
Angela
9 months 26 days ago

I’m super interested in why you believe coffee may not be good for health!!

Kit
Kit
9 months 26 days ago
Coffee is a stimulant that causes flight or fight. This disrupts sleep as well. Unless coffee consumption is balanced with mitigating healthful activities, it will cause long term metabolic damage. This will to some degree be person specific. I doubt the original creators of coffee: drank it so regularly, consumed a high calorie or high refined carbohydrate diet, were under so much unnatural psychological stress, artificial lighting, pollution, cultural adversity to rest, unnatural social anxiety/contact/stimulation. The cultural addiction to coffee has probably created the science to back it, a la wine. It is a handy tool and I do use… Read more »
Kathy
Kathy
9 months 28 days ago

Does anyone find that coffee makes them ravenous? Half an hour after a cup of black coffee I need sugar NOW, like a five gallon industrial bucket of frosting or some such. If I want to stay primal, I have to avoid coffee, as much as I love it. Am I alone? I’ve heard people say that coffee makes one less hungry so it’s great for dieting. I can’t even imagine that.

Renier
1 month 18 days ago

I agree with Kathy. I’m having the same experience. If I want to do intermittent fasting I must NOT drink any coffee that morning. Drinking coffee is, for me, like taking that first bite of food. Once I start eating or drinking coffee then I can’t stop eating the rest of the day.

John
John
9 months 28 days ago

I think I might be a “slow metabolizer”, super sensitive to caffeine, I only have one cup before 10 am. How would I be able to find this out? Is there a blood test to test for the CC variant of CYP1A2?

Jon T
Jon T
9 months 28 days ago

I’m not a coffee drinker, but I do have a thing for hot cocoa. Would love to hear how the health benefits of coffee vs. cacao compare! (p.s. my favorite quick & easy hot cocoa drink: mix 1 tsp cacao with a smidge of boiling water, add sweetened almond milk to top of mug, heat up (stove or microwave) then top with cream or butter (or the rare marshmallow). Hooked!! Tastes like Christmas.

Daniel F
Daniel F
9 months 27 days ago

Coffee also acts as an iron chelator, which may account for many of the anti-disease functions Mark describes above.

http://roguehealthandfitness.com/iron-underrated-factor-health/

Borut
Borut
9 months 27 days ago
Yes, there are always cons and pros. For everything. Even for heroin. Let’s check also the dark side of the coffee. 1. Coffee is the most manipulated crop in the world. 2. Mentioning one study without citing the source that says inorganic and organic are the same is ignorant. There are hundreds of different dangerous chemicals found in conventionally produced coffee. And there are thousands of so called ‘scientific’ studies backed up by Big Pharma that say some pretty ridiculous things. 3. Roasting coffee destroys 70-94% of the CGAs (chlorogenic acid). CGA is probably the most important polyphenol (antioxidant) in… Read more »
Animanarchy
Animanarchy
9 months 27 days ago

lalalalala I’m not listening!
Yeah, I do worry a bit about some of those things though and some I was not aware of. I figure if you’re wired on caffeine a lot of the time there might be some side effects, such as sympathetic nervous system overload.

PeterW
PeterW
9 months 27 days ago

Everything has pluses and minuses to be sure…. But when the all-cause mortality rate drops for those who drink coffee, it’s a pretty spund argument that you are better off drinking than abstaining.

Plus it tastes great and heels me feel good.

Robin
Robin
9 months 27 days ago

Thank you ^^^

Trying to tell coffee drinkers that their magic elixir is harming their health is like trying to discuss the benefits of sobriety in a bar full of drunks.

Those of us who have neurological disorders know that caffeine is toxic

Elenor
Elenor
9 months 24 days ago

Sorry, but you left part of this sentence off:

“Those of us who have neurological disorders know that caffeine is toxic”
** to US! **

It’s … less-than-optimal to write (or believe): “whatever applies to me therefore applies to every human.”

If it works in one direction, then it must work in the other direction, so “what does not adversely affect people without neurological disorders, must also not affect people WITH neurological disorders.”

That’s not true either!

Beth
Beth
9 months 27 days ago

I always marvel at the studies where people are drinking 4+ cups. And 8+ Wow! Really?
I like my coffee, but I can’t think of any day ever that I’ve had more than 2 cups. I just don’t want anymore after that.
Good to know I can continue to enjoy it though. It’s super hot out lately & I love an iced coffee an hour or two after lunch!

serito
serito
9 months 27 days ago
Coffee damages the system which the underlying basis for every aspect of health in the human body. Those of you into acupuncture should know what that is! Those of you with impaired taste receptors should intuit what that is! It is not healthy over the long term. Maybe in time restricted, obtuse view of health. It is not a physiological beneficial “food”. No matter how fast you are capable of metabolizing caffeine, it eventually weakens something in our body of which we have 7 billion separate parts. These become dependent upon caffeine for stimulation until they are killed off one… Read more »
PeterW
PeterW
9 months 27 days ago

So how do you explain the reduce all-cause mortality rate associated with drinking coffee?

Animanarchy
Animanarchy
9 months 27 days ago
Damn, these 15 minute library computers that are all you can use here without ID are annoying. (I lost my only sources of ID and my account here was deactivated after prolonged disuse). I have to wait for it to restart and log in over and over and rush through all my reading and comment writing, creating an imperfect slew of sloppily thought out comments bombarding this site. It is a cause of much minor frustration. If you want an example of a coffee side effect (albeit in a spider) check this out: a web wove by a spider on… Read more »
Animanarchy
Animanarchy
9 months 27 days ago

I read one theory that caffeine is not just a pesticide but it revs up activity in pollinators’ brains and that makes the location of the caffeine-containing plant they pollinated ingrained more solidly in their memories so they’re more likely to go back to it.

PeterW
PeterW
9 months 27 days ago

I’m not a spider.

Mandy
Mandy
9 months 27 days ago

Love this post! Very informational. I actually tried NY coffee bulletproof this morning as I’m new to BP and realized i was feeling sick due to the drop in carbs but not enough fat. Not only was it delicious, but I wasn’t hungry for HOURS and i had insane energy!!

Nikko
Nikko
9 months 27 days ago

The info about the pesticides is golden as coffee beans are one of the most highly sprayed crops.

I have my coffee first thing in the morning as the mild laxative is a very good thing. It’s much easier to do my workout when I have that light feeling.

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