For you who loves coffee and is dying NOT to stop drinking coffee, please read the article from www.usatoday.com below.
Coffee is no more a guilty pleasure then :p
Updated 11/7/2006 7:50 PM ET
For decades, coffee lovers sipped their favorite beverage under a cloud. Coffee, like cigarettes and greasy food, was thought to be unhealthy stuff.
But, despite the occasional new red flag — and the fact that caffeinated coffee does cause real sleeping problems for many people — most of the scientific news on coffee these days is downright sunny.
"Coffee has gotten a bad rap," says Peter Martin, professor of psychiatry at Vanderbilt University in Nashville and head of a research group that has received grants from coffee producers. "In the past, people were mostly interested in demonstrating how bad coffee was. ... Unfortunately, a lot of these negative findings stick with people over time."
Among the ills linked to coffee in the past: pancreatic cancer, bladder cancer and heart disease.
Follow-up studies refuted the cancer links. And the newest, biggest studies show that coffee — though it can temporarily raise your heart rate and blood pressure — probably does not contribute to heart disease, at least in most people.
"At this point, I wouldn't say coffee is good for your heart, but I would say that it is unlikely to be bad," says Frank Hu, associate professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health.
Meanwhile, the possible benefits of coffee now include decreased risks of:
•Liver damage in alcoholics.
It won't surprise coffee drinkers to hear that the beverage, at least when caffeinated, also has been found to improve mood and memory, increase safe driving in tired drivers and boost endurance in athletes. Some speculate that coffee might aid weight loss, but that has not been proven.
One possible coffee benefit that has excited interest lately is an especially important one: Large studies now suggest that people who drink coffee have a significantly reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.
Because diabetes is a major, growing cause of disability and death, researchers are trying to figure out just what ingredients in coffee might confer the benefit. One thing they know: It's not the caffeine. Decaffeinated coffee seems to work at least as well as the high-test version.
"A cup of coffee is about 2% caffeine and 98% other stuff," says Terry Graham, chair of the nutritional sciences department at the University of Guelph in Ontario. The "other stuff" might easily include "another 50 or 100 active compounds," Graham says.
Among them are quinides, fats that are produced when coffee beans are roasted. Some studies suggest these fats may favorably affect blood-sugar control.
Scientists also are interested in anti-oxidants — substances that may protect against cell damage and inflammation. One recent study showed that coffee is the biggest source of anti-oxidants in the American diet (both because coffee is rich in the substances and because we consume a lot more coffee than blueberries and broccoli).
No scientist would suggest coffee as a substitute for more nutritious anti-oxidant-rich fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
And most aren't ready to urge non-coffee drinkers to take up the habit. Caffeinated coffee, especially, remains a problem for many people, including insomniacs and anyone prone to coffee-induced jitters. And while most experts believe a daily 8-ounce cup or two is OK for pregnant women, the safety of larger amounts remains in question. Nursing moms should abstain, says the American Academy of Pediatrics.
But the rest of us? We can drink up without guilt.