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Coffee Harm - 11 potential health risks of coffee drinking
Written by Cofe    Wednesday, 12 January 2011 21:54    PDF Print E-mail

Coffee HarmCoffee

Coffee is not usually considered as a healthy food so I decided to do my own little research and noted 11 potential health risks of coffee drinking. I think this information is very helpful. Here is what I have found:

(original post:

1 Heart disease

The relation between coffee consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease has been examined in many studies, but the results remain controversial. Most prospective cohort studies have not found coffee consumption to be associated with significantly increased cardiovascular disease risk. The strongest evidence for the suggestion that coffee is associated with increased risk of coronary heart disease comes from the case control studies.
Coffee is a complex mixture of compounds that may have either beneficial or harmful effects on the cardiovascular system. On one hand, diterpenes cafestol and kahweol present in unfiltered coffee and caffeine each appear to increase risk of coronary heart disease. High quality studies (randomized controlled trials)have confirmed the cholesterol-raising effect of diterpenes, which may contribute to the risk of coronary heart disease. On the other hand, a lower risk of heart disease among moderate coffee drinkers might be due to antioxidants found in coffee.
Besides that, coffee consumption is also associated with an increase of plasma homocysteine, a risk factor for coronary heart disease.

To get an idea of where the confusion comes from, consider two recent studies. A study of 128,000 men and women showed no increase in the risk of heart disease from drinking filtered coffee. The findings of the study - which published in May 2006 in the journal Circulation - indicated that it didn't matter how much coffee participants drank. Another study of 4,000 coffee drinkers published in March 2006 in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that two or more cups of coffee a day can increase the risk of heart disease in people with a specific - and fairly common - genetic mutation that slows the breakdown of caffeine in the body. The design of a study can have some effect on the interpretation of results, which may be another reason for the different conclusions. Overall, given the research reviewed it would be reasonable to conclude that coffee poses little or no threat to healthy adults.

Interestingly, the researchers did find that people who drank more coffee were more likely to be smokers, drink more alcohol, drink less tea, take vitamin supplements, or exercise regularly, all of which have been linked to increased risks of heart problems.

2 Increased cholesterol levels

Heavy consumption of boiled coffee elevates blood total and LDL cholesterol levels[. Unfiltered coffee is a significant source of cafestol and kahweol, which are diterpenes responsible for cholesterol-raising effects of coffee. Diterpenes are extracted by hot water but are retained by a paper filter. This explains why filtered coffee does not affect cholesterol, whereas Scandinavian boiled, cafetiere, and Turkish coffees do.

3 Damage to arteries

Coffee negatively affects the blood vessel tone and function (increases arterial stiffness and wave reflections).

Greek researchers recently proposed that caffeine increased aortic stiffness and, subsequently, the risk of heart disease

4 Heart rhythm disturbances

There is only little experimental evidence that caffeine causes cardiac arrhythmias.

5 Blood pressure

Although coffee consumption is not a significant risk factor for hypertension, it produces unfavourable effects on blood pressure. No doubt caffeine is responsible for blood pressure increase. However, there is some evidence, that when caffeine is ingested from coffee, it has a small effect on blood pressure. People prone to hypertension may be more susceptible to coffee blood pressure elevating effects. Recent Italian study found that coffee drinking can slightly increase the risk for development of sustained hypertension in persons with elevated blood pressure.

6 Osteoporosis (bone loss)

Coffee intake may induce an extra urinary excretion of calcium. Heavy coffee consumption (4 cups=600 ml or more) can modestly increase the risk of osteoporosis, especially in women with a low calcium intake.

7 Disrupted sleep, nervousness and anxiety

Excess caffeine can overstimulate the central nervous system. High amounts of caffeine produce negative effect on sleep onset and sleep quality. However, there are large individual differences in the effects of caffeine on sleep. Many people consume coffee during the evening and have no problems falling asleep. Some people find that the mild stimulation of caffeine consumed shortly before a bed time delays the time to fall asleep.

8 Heartburn

Some people suffer from heartburn after drinking coffee. Coffee promotes gastro-oesophageal reflux, but is not associated with dyspepsia.

9 Dehydration

The caffeine in coffee is a mild diuretic and can increase the volume of urine excreted. However, this effect can be easily counteracted by the drinking extra glass of water.

10 Coffee during Pregnancy raises miscarriage risk

The effects of coffee during pregnancy is extensively researched - and the results of the various studies into the effects of caffeine and coffee on pregnant women, fertility and the development of the growing baby are contradictory.

Drinking a couple of cups of coffee a day has long been considered safe during pregnancy, but a new study finds that even this modest amount of caffeine could double a woman's risk of miscarriage.

A team led by Dr. De-Kun Li, a researcher at Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, Calif., conducted one of the first studies to take into account morning sickness. They concluded that a daily habit of drinking 200 milligrams of caffeine - the amount typically found in just two cups of coffee - significantly increases the risk of miscarriage.

While research results have been mixed, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that pregnant women consume no more than 1 to 2 cups of coffee per day.

11 Rheumatoid arthritis

Decaffeinated coffee may increase the risk of rheumatoid arthritis. Researchers speculate that rather than the presence or absence of caffeine being the culprit, there may be something in the way decaffeinated coffee is processed that triggers an arthritic response, perhaps industrial solvents.

Interestingly, the study linking decaffeinated coffee and rheumatoid arthritis suggests that, "Women who drink more than three cups of tea a day are much less likely to develop the disease than those who don't drink tea".

Another study found that people who drank four or more cups of coffee a day had twice the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis, compared with those who drank less coffee.

Dr. Maarku Heliovaara of the National Public Health Institute in Helsinki and colleagues looked at data from nearly 19,000 healthy men and women who entered a study in the early 1970s and were followed for 15 years. Coffee drinkers were at higher risk of developing rheumatoid factor-associated rheumatoid arthritis.

It is not clear why coffee might be associated with rheumatoid factor. Most people in the study drank boiled coffee, a practice no longer common in Finland. It is possible that some ingredient in coffee that is associated with rheumatoid factor is removed by the filtration, according to the researchers.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 12 January 2011 22:13 )
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