Saturday, February 23, 2013

Coffee? Yes, please!

I have very few vices outside of Kettle Krinkle Cut potato chips and perhaps a mild dry cereal addiction. However, under oath, this Schmitty will enthusiastically and freely admit that he also has a coffee vice....my sweet sweet morning cup o joe, mud, java, caffe...beautiful black plasma.

Not a 4-5 cup a day addiction mind you. I slowly savor one single 8 oz cup per day -- 16oz if I'm at a Starbucks or if I'm out for breakfast. And since its 8oz, it's got to be the good stuff. Black. With one packet of Truvia.

Before most of my early dark thirty workouts I head down to the kitchen for a cup of the go-go juice to sip while I do my dynamic warm ups. Good for the mind, good for the body, good for the soul.

There's all kinds of debate in the sports nutrition world about the effects of coffee and caffeine. I couldn't give a rat's patootie. It gives me a kick start and Schmitty likes the flavor. But in case you've got questions or were wondering about the latest science has to offer with regard to this miracle elixir, coach Liz happens to have sent her triathletes the following link this week (http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-coffe). For those that don't want to suffer the blah blah science, I've provided the article summary below - please feel free to read with fresh cup of warmth and comfort. 

(disc: THE TRIATHLIFE IS NOT A NUTRITIONIST. PLEASE DO NOT MISTAKE US FOR ONE. THE TRIATHLIFE IS NOT ENCOURAGING YOU TO START DRINKING COFFEE AND GETTIN' ALL ZIPPED ON CAFFEINE. NOR ARE WE ENDORSING ANY BRANDS OF COFFEE -- HOWEVER THE TRIATHLIFE WOULD BE WILLING TO LOOK THE OTHER WAY SHOULD STARBUCKS SLIDE SOME FREEBIES UNDER THE TABLE. FINALLY, THE TRIATHLIFE FIRMLY BELIEVES THAT IF COFFEE IS WRONG, WE DON'T WANT TO BE RIGHT.)

All About Coffee - Summary & Recommendations 



Coffee’s not for everyone. And it’s not a magic bullet. Still, it seems to have significant health benefits for those who can tolerate it. This includes:
  • better athletic and mental performance
  • possibly lower rates of some types of cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, and Type 2 diabetes
  • possibly some prevention of premature mortality and cardiovascular disease
Most of the research on coffee is epidemiological. This means studies look at associations rather than cause and effect. Simply because coffee is associated with particular risks and benefits doesn’t necessarily mean that coffee causes all of these risks or benefits.

Just as with all foods (and nutrients for that matter), dosage matters. While some studies have found large intakes (5-6 cups) to have significant benefits, other research suggests that drinking that much coffee is counter-productive.

In general, it appears that drinking some coffee is good, but more might not be better, especially if you are a slow metabolizer.  For those who are greatly affected by coffee and caffeine, avoid it altogether or cut down your consumption.

Want a quick and easy test of your coffee consumption? Ask yourself how you feel physically, mentally, and emotionally a few hours after you drink some… as well as if you miss your daily dose.

Also, go black if possible. Pumping your coffee full of cream, sugar, and other exotic additives reduces any potential health benefits by adding unnecessary calories and artificial flavours and sweeteners. (And Frappucinos or chocolate covered coffee beans? C’mon.)

Taking all the data into consideration, it seems that your best bet is about 1-3 cups of coffee (8-24 oz) per day. This will maximize the benefits while minimizing the risk.
And keep this in mind…while there is positive data on coffee, these benefits don’t necessarily include things like energy drinks and caffeine pills.  There are many antioxidants and bioactive compounds in coffee that are interacting with its caffeine content to provide the benefits.  So, unfortunately, Red Bull doesn’t count.

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