Wherever there are great things there are people out there who are set to ruin them, and coffee is no exception. From coffee connoisseurs to Starbucks sippers, coffee lovers everywhere are having their shots of espresso and morning cappuccinos ruined by rumours.
The myths surrounding the world’s day-starter have put the bean in a bad light and there are some misconceptions that need to be debunked. From what good coffee should look like to how much you should drink, there are a few things we need to set straight… so it’s time to wake up and smell the coffee and find out which ‘facts’ about coffee simply aren’t true.
It’s a diuretic
According to studies reviewed in 2007, people who drank beverages containing up to 550 milligrams of caffeine produced the same amount of urine as when drinking drinks free of caffeine. It is true however, that caffeinated beverages containing 575 milligrams of caffeine or more is a diuretic, but when a large sized coffee at most coffee shops contains about 330 milligrams of caffeine, you’re far more likely to be hydrated from your daily dose of caffeine than not.
It helps with weight loss
Apologies in advance if your weight lose regime is about to be flawed, but coffee does not help you lose weight. The sad truth is that although caffeine gives your metabolism a little boost (helping you burn up to an extra 100 calories), studies showed that both men and women who drank more java gained more weight than those who did not.
It causes heart disease
Coffee in normal doses (about three cups a day) will not increase your risk of heart disease. In fact, on the contrary, it’s more likely to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. Cardiologists have analysed 10 studies of over 400,000 people and have found no increased risk among coffee fiends, so there is absolutely no need to worry about dropping dead while having your morning espresso!
The best coffee is from Italy
Somehow this false fact has wriggled its way into the minds of a lot of innocent coffee lovers, but coffee is not grown in Italy, ergo, the best coffee cannot come from there. This misconception was most likely spawned from the fact that Italians love their coffee and their coffee companies are fairly decent roasters and blenders.
It causes stomach ulcers
Another thing coffee is often wrongly accused of doing is giving us stomach ulcers. This is not true. The reason it was and still sometimes is believed that coffee causes ulcers, is that until fairly recently the common belief was that stomach ulcers were caused by an excess of stomach acid – something that coffee contributes to. We now know this to be false and that most ulcers are caused by bacteria, something that is easily fixed with antibiotics.
It makes you alert
Probably the most surprising fact about coffee is that your morning cup of leaves you no more alert than the guy sat next to you that hasn’t had one. The ‘high’ that regular coffee drinkers experience is just a reaction to your body craving caffeine. It has even been suggested that coffee lovers start the day less alert than non coffee drinkers and need the caffeine fix to get up to the same level as their caffeine-sober friends.
It causes bone loss
Coffee will not stunt your growth and it won’t break your bones – just drink a little more milk! Although there have been a few studies that have found a connection between caffeine and bone loss, the connection they have found is merely a small reduction in calcium absorption. This link suggests that it might just reflect a reduced intake of milk and milk-based beverages among the lovers of coffee and other caffeinated drinks.
It causes hypertension
Yes, it is true that caffeine causes a temporary rise in blood pressure, but it is only temporary and coffee does not cause hypertension. To put it simply, people that drink coffee are no more likely to develop hypertension than non coffee drinkers. Drinking other caffeinated drinks though, such as cola, does produce a higher risk of hypertension, so stick to cup of Joe next time you need your caffeine fix.
Oily beans are better
Here’s another falsehood many of us have been lead to believe; shiny oily beans are better quality. In most cases all an oily coffee bean means is that the oil has come to the surface. This can happen when the coffee is roasted and also happens with age, if the beans are oily due to age there is far more chance of the beans going rancid faster, so those beans need to be ground up and used fast!
Decaf has no caffeine
They should really call it “not as much-caf” or maybe just “3%”, because that’s how much caffeine decaf coffee still has. Granted it’s not a lot, but it is still some, so don’t be fooled by the name – decaf has caffeine in.
So now we can take the heat off the coffee and get back to worrying about other myths that attempt to ruin our everyday pleasures. One thing is for sure though – when it comes to coffee the only thing you need to worry about is if you have enough in your cupboard!