Ten myths and truths of coffee

Dr. Gloria María Agudelo, Dietitian nutritionist at the University of Antioquia, an expert in nutrition, cardiovascular diseases, among other topics, talks about some of the myths that have arisen around this drink:

How true is that coffee causes gastritis?

The association of coffee consumption as a cause of gastritis, rather than being a reality, is a myth. The scientific evidence based on different population studies indicates that coffee is not a risk factor for a person to develop gastritis, nor is gastroesophageal reflux or peptic ulcers. What is important to keep in mind is that once gastritis or any disease of the digestive tract is diagnosed in a patient, it is necessary to assess their individual tolerance to consume coffee. Some patients may increase symptoms when they do, in which case the recommendation is to decrease the amount, use a coffee without caffeine or a coffee in which acidity has been neutralized. If the patient does not report an increase in coffee consumption symptomatology, there is no reason to eliminate it from his diet.

Is coffee a digestive drink?

Coffee consumption after a main meal has been associated with a feeling of well-being and digestive comfort, due to the effect of caffeine on the central nervous system. However, scientific evidence has not shown that coffee has a digestive effect on time.

Is it advisable to drink coffee during pregnancy?

It is a matter of controversy despite being very studied. Studies have shown that coffee consumption in moderate quantities is not associated with the risk of spontaneous abortion, sudden infant death, or low birth weight or infertility.

Is it true that coffee is addictive?

Coffee is currently recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) and by the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA), which is the United States Office of Food and Drugs, as a non-addictive beverage.

Although withdrawal symptoms have been reported in regular coffee consumers with symptoms such as headaches, irritability and fatigue, these have resolved on their own between 36 and 48 hours after leaving the drink. Reason to confirm that coffee is not an addictive substance.

What advantages does coffee have for health?

The perception of coffee consumption and health has changed. Coffee is not just caffeine, it is a very complex drink in which many substances have been identified. Different studies have proven that it is a natural source of antioxidants, specifically chlorogenic acids, which are absorbed and used by the body. These acids, together with those produced by the body, help to cope with oxidative stress, a condition associated with chronic diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Therefore, coffee, in addition to its aroma and flavor characteristics, is considered a source of antioxidants, which is consumed in moderate quantities and with adequate preparation (the recommendation is that it be filtered, and with the least amount of sugar or water from panela), can be part of a healthy diet and contribute to health. Under these conditions, scientific evidence shows that it has no negative effects on cardiovascular health, which contributes to lowering the risk of diabetes, some types of cancer and in general, lower mortality.

Is coffee harmful to children?

Children, because they are in the growth stage, must have a balanced, varied, balanced and sufficient diet that covers all their needs, among other nutrients, those of protein, calcium, iron and vitamins.

In Colombia, in the 2010 Food Consumption Frequency Survey, it showed that approximately the age of onset is 5 years. The evidence today does not show that coffee in children and adolescents generates a decrease in the absorption of calcium or iron, very important micronutrients in the growth and development stages.

Children drink caffeine early from sources other than coffee such as cola drinks and energy drinks.
Because it is a stage of rapid growth and development life, the recommendation is to ensure that children have a balanced, varied and balanced diet to meet their energy and nutrient requirements. Although there is no defined age to start coffee consumption in children, and this drink is not part of their eating habits, it could be started with small amounts at the school stage as a milk flavoring, for example, coffee with milk Like a hot or cold drink for breakfast. Other presentations of the drink such as cappuccino, frappé, latte, among others, could be included as the amount of caffeine is low.

Does coffee make you fat?

Coffee is a drink that does not provide calories. When to sweeten it, it is prepared in panela water or sugar is added, it provides calories that must be considered, and in excess they could represent an extra contribution.

Is it true that coffee produces cellulite?

There is no scientific evidence that associates coffee or caffeine with the appearance of cellulite. I think they are anecdotal and individual experiences.

Is it true that coffee affects physical performance?

It affects it positively. This is the evidence. Coffee consumption has been shown to improve attention span, concentration, work performance and overall consumption is associated with a sense of well-being. The effect is attributed to caffeine, specifically for its action on brain receptors.

Under what circumstances should coffee be restricted?

Each individual has such particular conditions that they make a different response to coffee consumption and especially caffeine, for example, body weight, physical condition, frequency and quantity of consumption; They also influence the variety of the grain, the type of grinding and processing and finally the method of preparation.

If a person says “I cannot drink coffee because it causes me insomnia,” nobody else but that person knows their sensitivity and in this case, the recommendation will be directed to the times when they can consume coffee without altering their sleep pattern. In the case of patients with a diagnosis of gastrointestinal disease, if there are symptoms that increase coffee consumption, the patient will be directed to reduce the doses consumed, change for a product without caffeine or eliminate it from his diet if he definitely does not tolerate it.

If there are no intolerances or symptoms associated with its consumption, there is no reason to eliminate coffee consumption, as long as the recommendations regarding the preparation (filtering), moderate amounts (4 to 6 wells / day – 100 ml of water per 6 g of coffee) and preferably without sugar or in minimal quantities.

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