Every day, millions of Americans start the day with a cup of coffee and they drink it mostly for the same reason. My attitude’s not real good until I’ve had some coffee in the morning,” said a coffee drinker. But aside from a jolt of energy, there now may be other reasons to drink coffee.
“Several years ago, the message was, ‘oh no, caffeine is bad, bad, bad’,” registered dietitian Lona Sandon. “Now more research has come out and that doesn’t seem to be the case.” Coffee is actually a complex brew, containing antioxidants and other chemicals that have health benefits. Researchers at Harvard say coffee lowers the risk of Parkinson’s disease and might prevent gallstones in women. Additionally, European researchers say coffee might reduce the chance of type-2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.
It turns out that sipping coffee might even help you burn a little fat. “Caffeine has been shown to mobilize, open up, our fatty acid stores, allowing us to break down fat and use that for energy,” Sandon said. However, for all of coffee’s possible benefits, there is just as much research about its negative side effects. For instance, studies have long shown that caffeine in coffee is addictive.
Sandon says moderation is the key. “We hear that about food. We hear that about exercise and we definitely hear that about caffeine,” she said. Dietitians also advise keeping an eye on what you add to your coffee. Some gourmet drinks loaded up with flavored syrups and whipped cream can have as many as 500 calories and 40 grams of fat.