Is Coffee Good or Bad For You?

by Dr. Edward Group DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM Published on , Last Updated on

Many have said that our country runs on coffee. Some might also say we’re addicted to caffeine and the energy it provides.

coffee mug, coffee beans

Caffeine is a highly addictive compound that many people have come to depend on for the perception of increased energy. Caffeine operates by preventing the chemical adenosine from telling the brain it’s time to relax. The result is a surge of unnatural energy; but, over time, the brain becomes accustomed to the threshold and requires more caffeine to provide the same alertness.

The Benefits to Drinking Coffee

Organic, high-quality coffee has been shown to provide some health benefits.

  • Organic Coffee is full of antioxidants which help reduce oxidation, cell damage, and aging.
  • Studies from Saaksjarvi et. al show that drinking coffee may reduce the risk of developing Parkinson’s Disease.[1] [2]
  • Other studies show that coffee consumption may protect us against type 2 diabetes. [3]
  • There is a small amount of evidence that coffee may also protect us against cirrhosis of the liver, gallstones, kidney stones. [4]
  • Caffeine is a stimulate. Drinking coffee has been shown to increase mental attention in the short term. Some have even suggested that by drinking coffee, we can better cognitive function. [5]
  • Some studies show that habitual coffee drinking may protect us against developing Alzheimer’s disease later in life. [6] [7] [8]

The Dangers of Drinking Coffee

Coffee is not without potential adverse effects:

    • There is controversial evidence linking coffee consumption to heart diseases. Some studies state, “consumption is associated with significantly increased risk of cardiovascular disease.” These same studies have shown a cholesterol-raising effect in some of the chemical compounds of coffee, such as determines, cafestol, kahweol and plasma homocysteine. This may be of-set by some of the antioxidants, but the overall agreement is that coffee may adversely effect the heart. [9] [10]
    • Coffee disturbs the functioning of blood vessels, both in turgidity and tone. [11]
    • Coffee affects the nervous system, heart rhythms, and has been linked to irregular heartbeat. It may also adversely affect blood pressure. [12]
Coffee Bean
  • Coffee drinking should be heavily avoided by people at risk, or who have Osteoporosis. Studies show a link between drinking coffee and urinary calcium excretion.[13]
  • Many people report that coffee increases heartburn. [14]
  • Coffee, particularly in the evening or at night, can lead to sleep disturbance. [15]
  • Drinking coffee depletes water reserves in the body. [16]
  • While the FDA recognizes caffeine as “safe,” it is still a drug that alters the nervous system. [17]
  • Some people experience withdrawal symptoms when don’t have coffee. This can lead to headaches, irritability, body aches, and other more extreme symptoms. [18] [19]

Does Coffee Have A Laxative Effect?

Caffeine can dehydrate the body and interfere with digestion. Caffeine also interferes with the absorption of magnesium, which is critical in maintaining regular, healthy bowel movements. Coffee stimulates the digestive system and can induce a temporary laxative effect, causing the bowels to expel waste before they have the chance to process and utilize vital water and nutrients.

Coffee’s acidic properties may lead to an overproduction of stomach acid that can irritate the intestines. Ironically, decaffeinated coffee has been shown to trigger even more acid production than regular coffee. Over-production combined with coffee’s laxative effects can cause too much stomach acid to move into the intestines.

What About Coffee Substitutes?

Grain coffee is to coffee as herbal tea is to tea, and grain coffee is naturally caffeine and toxin free. Grain coffee is a ground mixture of grains, nuts, and dried fruit and provides only natural flavors. Grain coffee is available in regular drip coffee-maker and instant brands.

These coffee substitutes come in a variety of flavors and can be used with with regular coffee. If you normally use 4 scoops of ground coffee, then try 3 scoops of coffee with 1 scoop of grain coffee for the first week. Continue to transition gradually until you have eliminated your consumption of regular coffee altogether.

I do enjoy a cup of organic coffee from time to time but when I do drink coffee I always take 1 capsule of MegaHydrate™ before I drink it, to help neutralize any potential toxins or volatile oils.

References (19)
  1. K Saaksjarvi, P Knekt, H Rissanen, M A Laaksonen, A Reunanen, S Mannisto. Prospective study of coffee consumption and risk of Parkinson's disease. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2007 May 16. 62, 908–915; doi:10.1038/sj.ejcn.1602788.
  2. M.D. Benedetti MD MSc, J.H. Bower MD DM Maraganore MD, S.K. McDonnell MS, B.J. Peterson BS, J.E. Ahlskog PhD MD, D.J. Schaid PhD, W.A. Rocca, MD MPH. Smoking, alcohol, and coffee consumption preceding Parkinson’s disease. The Official Journal of the American Academy of Neurology. 200 November 14. vol. 55 no. 9 1350-1358.
  3. Rob M. van Dam PHD12, Walter C. Willett MD, JoAnn E. Manson MD, Frank B. Hu, MD. Coffee, Caffeine, and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes . American Diabetes Association. 2006 February. col. 29 no. 3, 398-403.
  4. Leitzmann MF, Stampfer MJ, Willett WC, Spiegelman D, Colditz GA, Giovannucci EL. Coffee intake is associated with lower risk of symptomatic gallstone disease in women. Gastroenterology. 2002 Dec;123(6):1823-30.
  5. Marilyn Johnson-Kozlow, Donna Kritz-Silverstein, Elizabeth Barrett-Connor, Deborah Morton. Coffee Consumption and Cognitive Function among Older Adults. American Journal of Epidemiology. 2002. 156 (9): 842-850. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwf119.
  6. Joan Lindsay, Danielle Laurin, René Verreault, Réjean Hébert, Barbara Helliwell, Gerry B. Hill1, Ian McDowell. Risk Factors for Alzheimer’s Disease: A Prospective Analysis from the Canadian Study of Health and Aging. American Journal of Epidemiology. 2002. 156 (5): 445-453. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwf074.
  7. Arendash GW, Schleif W, Rezai-Zadeh K, Jackson EK, Zacharia LC, Cracchiolo JR, Shippy D, Tan J. Caffeine protects Alzheimer's mice against cognitive impairment and reduces brain beta-amyloid production. Neuroscience. 2006 Nov 3;142(4):941-52. Epub 2006 Aug 28.
  8. Eskelinen MH, Ngandu T, Tuomilehto J, Soininen H, Kivipelto M. Midlife coffee and tea drinking and the risk of late-life dementia: a population-based CAIDE study. J Alzheimers Dis. 2009;16(1):85-91. doi: 10.3233/JAD-2009-0920.
  9. Lopez-Garcia E, van Dam RM, Willett WC, Rimm EB, Manson JE, Stampfer MJ, Rexrode KM, Hu FB. Coffee consumption and coronary heart disease in men and women: a prospective cohort study. Circulation. 2006 May 2;113(17):2045-53. Epub 2006 Apr 24.
  10. Riksen NP, Rongen GA, Smits P. Acute and long-term cardiovascular effects of coffee: implications for coronary heart disease. Pharmacol Ther. 2009 Feb;121(2):185-91. doi: 10.1016/j.pharmthera.2008.10.006. Epub 2008 Nov 11. Review.
  11. Charalambos Vlachopoulos, Demosthenes Panagiotakos, Nikolaos Ioakeimidis, Ioanna Dima, Christodoulos Stefanadis. Chronic coffee consumption has a detrimental effect on aortic stiffness and wave reflections. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2005 June. vol. 81 no. 6, 1307-1312.
  12. Klag MJ, Wang N, Meoni LA, et al. Coffee Intake and Risk of Hypertension: The Johns Hopkins Precursors Study. Arch Intern Med. 2002. 162(6):657-662. doi:10.1001/archinte.162.6.657.
  13. Hallstrom H, Wolk A, Glynn A, Michaelsson K. Coffee, tea and caffeine consumption in relation to osteoporotic fracture risk in a cohort of Swedish women. Osteoporos Int. 2006;17(7):1055-64. Epub 2006 May 4.
  14. Price SF, Smithson KW, Castell DO. Food sensitivity in reflux esophagitis. Gastroenterology. 1978 Aug;75(2):240-3.
  15. Sin CW, Ho JS, Chung JW. Systematic review on the effectiveness of caffeine abstinence on the quality of sleep. J Clin Nurs. 2009 Jan;18(1):13-21. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2702.2008.02375.x. Review.
  16. Grandjean AC, Reimers KJ, Bannick KE, Haven MC. The effect of caffeinated, non-caffeinated, caloric and non-caloric beverages on hydration. J Am Coll Nutr. 2000 Oct;19(5):591-600.
  17. Mackay DC, Rollins JW. Caffeine and caffeinism. J R Nav Med Serv. 1989 Summer;75(2):65-7.
  18. Hisatsugu Miyata1, Naoyuki Hironaka, Kohji Takada, Katsumasa Miyasato, Koichi Nakamura, Tomoji Yanagita. Psychosocial withdrawal Characteristics of nicotine compared with alcohol and caffeine. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 2008 October 6. vol. 1139, pages 458-465 DOI: 10.1196/annals.1432.030.
  19. Laura M. Juliano, Roland R. Griffiths. A critical review of caffeine withdrawal: empirical validation of symptoms and signs, incidence, severity, and associated features. Psychopharmacology. 2004 October. vol. 176 issue 1, pages 1-29.

†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. Global Healing Center does not dispense medical advice, prescribe, or diagnose illness. The views and nutritional advice expressed by Global Healing Center are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medical service. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.

  • Henry Johnson

    It all depends on the person who will drink a coffee, remembering that to much is harmful.

  • TarynK

    Healthy Coffee Recipe

    Teecino Caffeine-Free Herbal Coffee (Almond, Hazelnut or Vanilla Nut)
    1 – rounded teaspoon Natural Chocolate Syrup from Wilderness Family Naturals (contains only natural dark chocolate and agave nectar)
    Living Harvest Unsweetened Vanilla Hemp seed Milk

    As good or better than Starbucks and certainly more healthy. Enjoy!


  • george dibble

    is there any way to make coffee healthy or at least not harmfull? Thanks

  • Sacha Fernandes

    Thanks for the well-balanced, pragmatic and useful information on a long since debated matter. ~ sacha

  • kieran

    And its also funnly how you say “I will leave it up to you to determine whether or not you should drink coffee after evaluating the following research.” Id like to see you’re research sources… And also, you give no equal argument, cost factor, reality of shipping times… I don’t see the US growing much! And also the work load on growers. Once again, thanks for the helarious article! its been well quoted in my work.

  • byson dydo

    So, what advice would you give me! I take the 5 hour energy drink daily, do you think its a bad idea for me to be doing this! If it is, what would you recommend I take instead? Curious………

  • Laura

    aren’t you able to make a decision for yourself or do you need to be told what to do all the time?

  • mike

    Try the Toddy cold-brew process. I much prefer it over traditional hot-brew methods. you take coffee grounds and let them brew(soak) in cold water for 12-48hrs and it produces a coffee concentrate that you mix with hot water or cold for iced coffee. the cold brewing does not extract as much caffeine, bitter oils, or acid. It is a really smooth cup of joe. check it out!

  • elissa

    Moderation is the key for the general population. Specific groups may need to eliminate caffeine, which is found in other products besides coffee like chocolate (also antioxidant) and teas.

  • Peggy

    Teecino tastes terrible (at least the two I tried–Java and original). I buy low-acid French Roast from Trader Joe’s and use the toddy process as outlined earlier–plus to reduce acid further, there is a product called Coffee Tamer, which is a little packet of powder that is tasteless you can add to your coffee, and supposed to reduce acid 90%.

  • Karen

    I have done my own research on-line and in books reading many articles about this subject and find that this pretty much sums up all I have read from all sorts of reliable sources. I’m sure all the coffee drinkers want to find a way to make this info untrue, but it appears to be correct. I drank much coffee when younger and find now that I don’t drink it, I feel so much better. And look better! I do drink organic espresso mixed with some soy milk or almond milk sometimes. I am also drinking the Teeccino again and it’s pretty good, you just have to remember to use much less water than with coffee. I add a bit of cinnamon to the grounds sometimes. It is not coffee so don’t expect it to taste like it. Heart/blood pressure problems run in my family. One brother takes Lipitor, the other has high blood pressure and so does my mom – they all drink coffee. I don’t drink it, eat pretty healthy and am oldest and have none of those problems. Like he says in the article, it is your choice. If I drink a cup now, especially from Dunkin, StarBk’s (burnt beans), McD’s, etc, it all tastes so cheap and nasty to me. As always, you can choose healthy or unhealthy. Sorry, but coffee, as most Americans drink it, is pretty much unhealthy.

  • Michael

    I find the article interesting and the responses more so… I do drink coffee, organic, but I drink a little at a time not near like I use to. It is more cause I just haven’t quite got the taste for it like I use to and I enjoy sleeping at night and don’t work graveyard shift anymore. I do have to say though, I have always used a bit less than the amount suggested by the direction too, to me it always seemed too strong for me. So, whether that makes it a “little” healthier or not I don’t know and can’t say I really care…. I do eat majority organic as well, so I strongly believe where I may lack in my coffee drinking health, I more than make up for in my majority organic and natural food diet as well as organic personal products. I do agree with one other earlier post the biggest problem with society today is everyone one wants everything in excess. It is as far as food and beverage all about moderation folks everyone wants to “super size”. Take it easy everyone enjoy life you only got this one!!

  • jd

    Other research I’ve read is that caffiene also irritates the prostate, can lead to acid reflux. I have now started to make a tea made from turkey-tail mushroom, hand-picked in the wild. It’s very good for you and has an interesting although different flavor.

  • lc

    You need to take it easy. We live in a world full of the unnatural and l don’t think splitting hairs over every little thing is going to make you happier, live longer or improve your quality of life.

  • Adey

    I drink 5-6 cups of coffee a day, cycle 25 miles, swim on weekends, eat a balanced vegan diet, smoke 2-3 cigarettes a day and walk another 3-4 hours a week. My doctor says at 40yo I am much, much healthier than any of the ‘weirdy food avoiders’, ‘detox freaks’ and ‘yoga moms’ he sees at his clinic. Coffee is fine for you even in reasonably large amounts – the key is ensuring your diet does not have more than 60g of unsaturated fat, no meat, lower in carb than green veg, low refined sugar and you exercise. Avoiding coffee is very, very low on the list of things to cut out. Its like all these people convinced they have wheat allergies or sensitive skin – utter rubbish for 99% of the population.

  • Rodolfo

    Stop giving out people false information. Eating meat and an arbitrary limit of 60g of unsaturated fat has no effect on whether you can safely drink 5 cups of coffee a day. Your vegan diet is never balanced and that’s why are taking supplements for things like vitamin b12.

    Wheat gluten allergies are real and you should not try to discount the seriousness of it. Gluten allergies are increasing because people are ignorantly trying to be healthier by consuming whole wheat and whole wheat by products such as wheat bran without the proper processing. Gluten is a very hard to digest protein. Whole wheat also contains a lot of phytic acid. Look up phytic acid and “grain soaking”.

  • Tiffany

    Who do you know that has died from drinking coffee?

  • Jennifer

    I agree that coffee is ok in moderation. I drink about two cups a day, sometimes more. I am one of those ‘yoga moms’ you so nicely put down. I am as healthy as ever and my diet is quite different from yours. How you have described your health regime seems to put you in the exact same category as us ‘detox freaks, yoga moms, and such. I would not rush so quickly to place labels on people. If you are happy with your diet great, I am happy with mine. So it would seem to me that the fact you describe your diet as far better makes you a very shallow person. Your diet is as good as mine and the next persons. We all benefit differently don’t we!!

  • Crystal

    The reason people are over consuming, and super size every thing is because of all the chemical additives they put into the foods today. Many of these are made to disrupt the serotonin release in the brain which tells you you have had enough to eat, and the chemicals that aren’t designed for this purpose are designed to be addictive, causing you to feel sluggish, and moody unless you eat them every few hours. Most of the soy products on the market today are GMO (Genetically modified), so if you consume soy make sure it is organic; other largely produced GMO foods include corn, and canola. Watch *THE BEAUTIFUL TRUTH* it sheds a lot of light on the Agricultural products that sell in our stores today.
    The best way to avoid may thing is to eat as much organic as possible.

  • Crystal

    If we are detox freaks, than would I be out of line to call you an exercise freak. everything is best done in moderation even exercise. Did you know over exercising causes you body to work harder to get oxygen to your brain, and body, and by doing so you are actually putting wear, and tear on your organs; don’t take my word for it though do your own research. Next you are going to say smoking is good for you (There are over 4000 chemicals in tobacco smoke and at least 69 of those chemicals are known carcinogens. (cancer causing agents). Honestly you are better telling people to run back, and forth across a busy highway, at least then their death likely would be quick, and painless…

  • Melanie

    Thank you for the information. It s funny how people enter so easily into defend and attack mode 🙂
    I was wondering about what coffee realy does and I found some good information so thats great. One thing that I still question is the effect of drinking over years, because it seams that when I was younger it didn’t effect me much at all, which makes me assume that there is a poison deposit that makes the barrol run over much quicker if that makes sense. Any info?

  • Melanie

    One more question. Would you say it’s ok to take Aspirin to reduce headaces for the first 5 days of stopping coffee?
    Thank you.

  • Ash

    I’ve been vegan for 6 years – I get a full exam (blood and all) at the doctors every 6 months and I have never been deficient in anything except iron, which I struggled with prior to going vegan as well (and when I’m deficient, I up my spinach and hummus for a couple weeks and my iron levels raise back within the acceptable range, never had to supplement).

    Vegan diets can be very balanced; you’re giving out false information as well.

  • Eric

    I’m 40 and love the taste of coffee as long as it has cream and sugar. From my youth I have drank many cups a day. Now as I get older I have found in my body troubles with pain in my back if I drink a cup and worse if I drink more. Some say it’s in my kidneys, I disagree because the pains are worse when getting out of bed and my back would be out of place often. I decided to stop drinking it and havent had any back pains or problems until much latter to prove my theory and the pains comes again. As for me I don’t smoke, drink alcohol, or any of those bad habits and have decided to avoid this one also.

  • tom

    Coffee is very addictive.
    Stopping coffee brings pain due to the withdrawal syndrome. Some of these effects can last for months.
    Most people cannot stop their coffee habit due to the addiction so they instead rationalize the habit as everything in moderation or it has some apparent good effects. That’s just self deception.

    You are an addict and you will be sick in the future because of it.
    Coffee causes insulin resistance and disrupts blood sugar functioning and raises cortisol levels and exaggerates the stress response. No amount of positive effects can counter these negative effects. So if you want to end up fat and in need of an antidepressant and pain medication… keep drinking your coffee.

  • Max

    I suffered with acid reflux for 15 years and could not sleep at night without taking the purple pills or Zantac. After the doctor said my blood lab results showed signs of high creatinine levels, I evaluated my regimen of medication which was the acid reflux pills and also an aspirin a day. A little research and I found that caffeine was a cause of acid production and it also relaxes the muscle in the esophagus which allows acid to rise into areas it should not be in. So after 35 years of caffeine addiction, I stopped cold turkey. That was 4 months ago and I noticed a change immediately after 2 days without it. My energy was more constant and not up and down, I slept better, and my acid reflux completely went away. Now I am drug free. I believe eating properly will compensate for what ever benefits the caffeine pros suggest here. Remember, caffeine is a drug and an unnatural substance that your body will try to reject. I will take my chances without it. This country has more cancer and heart disease than anywhere in the world and almost every person is addicted to caffeine so to separate myself from the herd so to speak could be a very good choice.

  • john

    I think decaf is bad because of the chemical….regular has great pros….I love it thanks for looking..

  • Mississippi Medigap

    This is sad to see with the amount of coffee I drink, but thanks for all the information – definitely had not heard some of these things before!


    I am 74 years old and have dranked coffee since I was a teen and my doctor always tell’s me I am in very good health.
    I can still do a full day’s work(outside hard work) my breath is just fine.
    I have pains but after all what 74 year old doesn’t have a few(if they don’t then they are dead).
    MY GRANDMOTHER & GRANDFATHER lived into their late 90’s and both were heavy coffee drinkers,GRAND DAD also smoked and GRANDMOTHER dipped snuff and I guess it finally got them,he was 97 and she passed away at 99.
    I think everyone should do what makes them happy and stop trying to tell everyone else what they should or should not do.
    LIFE is short so just enjoy it while you are here.
    JUST the thoughts of this old man.

  • ay

    “So if you want to end up fat and in need of an antidepressant and pain medication… keep drinking your coffee.” You are stupid. I’m sorry that you don’t use logic.

  • nelson

    Anything you take in too much is harmful.
    If you don’t overdoze, you’ll be totally FINE!

  • disqus_niNdJqiy99

    I agree with u, im 51 yr old n ive been a smoker n a coffee drinker for over 25 yrs. My friends n family been trying to get me to stop. Im n perfect health n if god gna take me wen its my time!! Thanks for sharing, Angeleyes

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