Coffee and nutrition – the facts

(From an article featured on my monthly newsletter – click here to sign up for regular updates)


  • Globally a third of our liquid consumption is coffee. So for every three glasses of water being ingested, one cup of coffee is being drunk.
  • 7 million tonnes of coffee will be produced by 2010.
  • Health benefits from coffee are contradictory. Although coffee does contain antioxidants it has a negative effect on some health problems: e.g. it can increase acid reflux and interfere with the absorption of iron. Research suggests that drinking caffeinated coffee can cause a temporary increase in the stiffening of arterial walls, so it should be avoided if you suffer from high blood pressure. It is not good to drink if you are suffering from mental health issues, anxiety and depression or get heart palpitations.
  • Over 1,000 chemicals have been reported in roasted coffee; more than half of those tested are rodent carcinogens (and if you are wondering, decaffeinated can be even worse!).

White sugar is highly addictive and can cause mayhem with your blood sugar. Sugar has been implicated in aggressive behaviour, anxiety, hyperactivity and ADHD, depression, eating disorders, fatigue and PMS. It is the one food that has no nutritional value whatsoever and the one food I am constantly trying to get my clients off when they are losing weight (rather than fat!). Because it is refined it has been stripped of all its minerals. Unrefined sugar like black strap molasses is still sweet but it has food value as it is high in chromium, b vitamins and iron. So if you need something sweet choose unrefined products instead.

We are now consuming 38 kilos of sugar per person on average per year and with it the nations health is declining fast. During the second world war and after with rationing we were averaging less than a kilo per year. The bottom line is that sugar sells and the more we eat the more we crave and have less room for slow release carbohydrates. If you go back to the dawn of time and analyse the diet of cavemen, it was 65% carbohydrate, 17% protein and 16% fat. Today the stats are very different at 28% carbohydrate, 20% sugar, 40% fat and 12 % protein,

Avoiding the sugar ‘rollercoaster’ by learning how to control your blood sugar levels is a great way to lessen depression and raise energy levels. Cut back on highly refined and sugar rich foods which create a surge in blood sugar that gives a burst of energy which is then followed by an all time low in both mood and energy. Your brain needs a constant supply of sugar for energy and by eating foods that cause this rollercoaster effect you disrupt brain function and neurotransmitter balance which results in poor mood stability. By focusing on foods that release sugar slowly and consistently into the blood stream like complex carbohydrates and by eating protein with each meal and snack you can start to change and lift your mood.

I’m not trying to be a killjoy and say never drink coffee or have white sugar, (I’m all for a little of what you fancy does you good) but just check in every now and again to see if you are over doing it and try and find natural highs from good foods.

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