The Truth Behind Coffee

The Truth Behind Coffee

For many, there’s nothing like a cup of coffee to start the day. As one of the most widely consumed
beverages in the world, it has long been debated that consuming coffee can lead to health problems.
These misconceptions can often lead to confusion about whether one can enjoy coffee as part of
a healthy diet. As an avid coffee drinker myself, with all the misconceptions about coffee, it is
necessary to dispel the misconceptions, and discover the truth behind coffee.

What are 3 of the most common misconceptions about coffee and health?

There is a misconception that coffee causes heart disease, should be omitted during pregnancy
and may influence the development of breast cancer. However, recent research reveals that
despite coffee consumption being associated with increased blood pressure and plasma
homocysteine levels, it is not directly related to heart disease. As for omitting coffee during
pregnancy, although women are often advised to follow this by their obstetrician or gynecologist,
studies show that coffee intake equal to 3 cups or 300 mg coffee daily does not increase risk for
impaired fetal growth. Moreover, according to the National Institutes of Health-AARP Diet and
Health Study, there is no correlation between coffee intake and increased breast cancer risk. In
fact, coffee may even help to prevent breast cancer. While there may be minimal associations and
even benefits to drinking coffee, it is not recommended to start drinking coffee, if you don’t
already.

Can drinking too much coffee cause heart problems?

Recent research reports coffee drinkers are not at a greater risk for heart disease. While a mild
stimulant in coffee, caffeine, has been shown to increase heart rate, blood pressure, homocysteine
levels, and cholesterol levels, most people do not experience heart problems from drinking coffee—
even if they consume up to 6 cups daily. If you have heart disease or heart problems, it is best to
consult your doctor about drinking coffee.

In addition, it is important to pay attention to what is being added to the coffee; whether it is
whole milk, sugar or even whip cream. Remember, in this day and age specialty coffee drinks are
extremely popular and research studies black coffee, not Frappuccino’s.

What are the top 5 benefits of drinking coffee?

An increase in coffee consumption is typically associated with a lowered risk of Diabetes Type II,
but does not prevent Diabetes Type II. Research also suggests coffee consumption may help prevent
Parkinson’s disease, liver disease (cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma), reduce the risk of
Alzheimer’s disease, and improve endurance performance in physical activities such as cycling and
running.

Is there such a thing as drinking too much coffee?

Typically, I educate my clients to keep their intake at 2 or less cups a day. More than 2 cups of coffee
can be counter-productive during a fitness workout. Recent studies indicate that there have been
no harmful effects with intakes at 4 cups equivalent. For adults consuming moderate amounts
of coffee (3-4 cups/d providing 300-400 mg/d of caffeine), there is little evidence of health risks
and some evidence of health benefits. In addition, currently available evidence suggests that it
may be prudent for pregnant women to limit coffee to 3 cups/day ( prevent any increased probability of spontaneous abortion or impaired fetal growth. People with
hypertension, children, adolescents, and the elderly, may be more vulnerable to the adverse effects
of caffeine.

Do the benefits differ between decaf and regular coffee?

In terms of Diabetes, other than the difference of 2-4 mg caffeine between regular and decaf,
there are no beneficial differences between the two. Surprisingly however, decaf coffee has been
associated with acid reflux and gastric ulcers.

Pizza, Pizza!

Pizza is a favorite meal of many children (and many parents, too!), but due to its often high saturated fat content and refined carbohydrates, it tends to be less than a wholesome meal. You can make some simple changes to your pizza to make it a more nutrient dense choice.

  • Switch to a whole-wheat crust. This will provide more nutrients and fiber than the traditional white crust and leave you and your kids fuller and more satisfied. Many pizzerias are now offering the whole-wheat option so be sure to ask when ordering. If whole-wheat is not available, flatbread crusts are also a good option. At home, you can make pizza dough by subbing whole-wheat flour for white. For a frozen pizza, Amy’s, DiGiorno, and other lines are beginning to carry whole-wheat pizzas. Another fun option is using whole wheat English muffins (I love Thomas’ 100% Whole Wheat)—that way everyone can have their own mini personal pizza!
  • Make your sauce smart. Tomato sauce is an integral part of any good pizza and it provides many vitamins and minerals as well the phytochemical lycopene which promotes heart health. However, many sauces are high in sodium. When making pizza at home, select a sauce with no salt added. When ordering out, try a Pizza Margherita to limit the sodium.
  • Pack on the veggie toppings. Spinach, broccoli, onions, tomatoes, eggplant, mushrooms—the options are endless. These veggies turn your simple slice of pizza into a delicious nutritional powerhouse. This is also a good opportunity to introduce a new vegetable to your family. By serving it with a familiar food such as pizza, kids will be more open-minded to trying the new food.
  • Pick a protein. While the pizza’s cheese proves as a source of protein in the dish, pizza becomes a more balanced meal when one additional ounce of protein is added to it. This protein will help keep your family fuller longer. Select a lean protein such as grilled chicken, low-sodium ham, or grilled tofu. Limit the pepperoni and sausage slices. These meats are high in sodium and saturated fats.
  • Serve a side salad. It is easy to consume too many slices of pizza. To help you get in better touch with your hunger signals, pair your slice with a side salad, a handful of raw carrots, or a fruit salad.
  • Enjoy it with family and friends. Pizza is a food that is often served in celebration. It is a common choice at birthday parties, soccer championships, and family get-togethers. Make these events about enjoying the company of those around you rather than solely focusing on the food.

What can you get to eat on a college campus in 2011?

Campus Eats

Compiled By: Human Nutrition Student, Kate Kaczor

1. Stanford University– Who doesn’t love frozen yogurt? Stanford is home to Fraiche Yogurt. Fraiche is a homemade, organic fresh yogurt and frozen yogurt cafe, serving European-style yogurts made from local organic milk and a probiotic-focused culture. Available toppings include fresh-cut fruits, local honeys and purees, toasted nuts, homemade granola, and hand-shaved Callebaut chocolate. Stanford also has lots of vegetarian, vegan, and kosher options. A student-run farmer’s market is also located on campus.

2. Pitzer College– The Shakedown is a student run restaurant at Pitzer, which serves up only the best organic locally grown food. There also is the Pitstop cafe, which is a coffee shop in the academic quad. It has any coffee drink you could want, baked goods, and organic juices!

3. Occidental College– Occidental strives to provide its students with the most organic and local food possible. In its dining hall, Marketplace, the salad bar always carries organic choices including organic spring mix lettuce, tofu and carrots. They often incorporate organic and local ingredients into their homemade cooking. Wednesdays at dinner the Marketplace serves an Organic Baked Potato Bar including russet and sweet potatoes with organic toppings and produce from local farmers. For your sweet tooth, The Cooler, another dining location, features hand-dipped ice cream made by Fosselman’s, a local family owned business.

4. Ohio Wesleyan University– Chartwells, the company that prepares food for dining halls at Ohio Wesleyan University, offers microwaveable meals that students can take away, as well as a program called “My Pantry,” where students can have food individually prepared, or even do their own cooking. You can also get a sweet treat for your birthday at OWU. Bring your ID to the bakery on the first Monday of your birthday month and get a free cupcake!

5. St. Olaf College– St. Olaf is committed to buying locally grown foods whenever possible, including vegetables and herbs from STOGROW, their student-run organic farm, meat and poultry raised without antibiotics or growth hormones, apples from an orchard just minutes from campus and dairy products supplied by Deja Moo, a collective of Midwestern, family-owned farms. Fresh, healthy, and delicious.

6. Warren Wilson College-WWC’s Cowpie Café is a campus favorite, offering healthy and delicious vegetarian and vegan options. Much of the produce from the garden, as well as other local goodies, makes its way into Cowpie’s kitchen. Also, all beef and pork served in Glad, WWC’s all-you-can-eat dining hall, comes straight from the farm.

7. Emory University– Many campuses are beginning to offer farmers markets to their students and the surrounding community, but Emory’s is unique in that it is year-round (except for summer breaks). Emory Farmers Market features fresh, local produce, organic and sustainably produced meat, bread, cheese, honey and other artisan products. In addition to providing delicious, healthy, and convenient food choices to the Emory community, the market encourages students to interact with Georgia farmers, expand their knowledge about healthy eating and sustainable production.

8. Columbia University– Columbia also encourages students to eat locally. Local Honey from Ballards Honey (Roxbury, NY), as well a locally produced, processed and packaged strawberry jam and tomato salsa are served in John Jay Dining Hall and Ferris Booth Commons. For a fall treat, all Columbia’s apples and fresh apple cider are from Red Jacket Orchards, Geneva, NY.

9. Virginia Tech University– For upscale dining on a college campus, there is no better place than VT. Their West End Market features made-to- order items prepared before the customers and offers specialties such as London broil, live Maine lobster, and steak on a daily basis.

10. Bryn Mawr College– This school has an extensive salad bar offering over 40 items made fresh daily (including hummus)! At all meals, students can also find rice and soymilk, a vegan bread selection, veggies burgers, and a variety of freshly steamed rice.

Tell us what you are eating on your campus!!!

Are you game for September 17th?

Don’t forget to register for Women’s Health “Are You Game?” on September 17th. Laura Cipullo RD, CDE and Martha McKittrick, RD, CDE will be offering free nutrition counseling that day in addition to all of the other cool wellness events. Get the details and register at: .