Coffee is one of the most popular drinks, with around 2 billion cups consumed everyday worldwide. Here in the UK, we drink around 55 million cups per day (Nielsen Scantrack, August 2016). On the high street, café culture (and instagram culture) continues to boom, and at home, ground coffee and single-serve pods are becoming increasingly popular, especially amongst millennials (Kantar Worldpanel, August 2016). Whilst some say it is popular for the taste, I'd argue it is more to do with addiction. But should coffee even be consumed on a day-to-day basis?
A toxin can be identified as “any substance that is harmful to the body, which the body cannot use in any way for life-maintaining purposes, and which costs the body energy and nutrition to eliminate”. (Jacoby 80)
As a by product of metabolism, we create several toxins within out own bodies (known as endogenous toxins) and we also ingest toxins (exogenous). On a daily basis, our bodies are working to eliminate poisons from the system via stimulation. When our metabolism is increased by an exogenous substance, it is stimulated.
Under these definitions, caffeine is very much as toxic stimulant. The burst of energy that you may feel after drinking a huge cup of warm coffee in the morning is actually the result of the body becoming STIMULATED to eliminate the caffeine from the system.
HOW DOES CAFFEINE WORK?
In all actuality, the caffeine is not actually responsible for the energy one may feel after drinking it. And that goes for any stimulant. The body increases its metabolism to eliminate toxins from the body via adrenaline production. The adrenaline causes the liver to release glucose into the bloodstream, the glucose is converted into energy and the energy is used to remove the stimulants.
The release of glucose from the liver provides the body with a temporary sugar high and many people become addicted to that exact feeling.
WHY IT CANNOT BE ASSOCIATED WITH GOOD HEALTH?
Caffeine is highly acidic. When you drink coffee, that acid leaches healthy alkaline minerals from the bones (similar to what cow’s milk does to the calcium from our bones when ingested).
Calcium is one of many alkaline mineral stored in our bones, and probably the most well known (but least understood thanks to dairy propaganda). When we eat an acidic, low pH diet, the body has to work hard to increase our bloods pH and keep the balance (homeostasis). Once our blood and extracellular fluid is acidic, the body will search for stores of calcium to counter it. Hence, leaching calcium from the bones, leading to decreased bone density.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
An approach I often use with my clients is SLOW transition/change. It is not easy for everyone to simply go “cold turkey”. If you are an avid daily coffee drinker, I seriously suggest trying to stop. In October 2012, a Harvard medical school study published in “Ophthalmology and Visual Science” linked heavy coffee consumption with increased risk of exfoliation glaucoma (an eye disease that leads to loss of vision).
As I mentioned before, try cutting it out slowly. For the first week or so, try 2 days a week with no coffee and replace it with a fruit juice or high-sugar raw fruit. Once your body is used to this, try it for 3 days a week, then 4 days and so on until coffee is completely eliminated from your diet. Don’t put pressure on yourself, take it day by day and hold yourself accountable (or better yet, find someone to hold you accountable!)
I know of many people who have given up coffee and replaced it with raw fruits and fruit juices; it is totally possible … if you WANT to do it ;)
Thanks for reading x hope you learnt something, and if you are a coffee drinker, I hope you reconsider the habit.
P.S for health coach enquiries, feel free to drop me a message firstname.lastname@example.org
Jacoby, Jesse J. The Raw Cure. Fort Bragg: Soulspire Publishing, 2012. Print.
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science September 2012, Vol.53, 6427-6433. doi:10.1167/iovs.12-10085