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Coffee

Five misconceptions about the elixir of writing an assignment the day before it’s due.

 

We all (well, most of us), like a good cup of coffee. Whether it’s the deconstructed almond latte (say inner city Melbourne hipster), the iced coffee (tradie), or the skinny latte (middle-aged businessperson), it’s amazing how we’ve come to understand some bizarre facts about our favourite blend. Allow me to deconstruct a couple of them.

One. Coffee is bad for you.

If thirty cups of a triple-shot grande cappuccino is your thing, then it’s probably bad for you. Wait, that is definitely bad for you.

In moderation though, it’s a different story. The Mayo Clinic Studies have linked reduced chance of Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, liver disease, and liver cancer to moderate coffee intake.

So, you want to give up coffee because it’s bad for you? Well, don’t. Moderation, by the way, equals three to four cups a day.

Two. Coffee can help in weight loss.

So, 100 milligrams of caffeine – between half and a full 8oz coffee – burns up to 100 calories a day from the metabolism boost it offers. So, in theory, it sounds like a great idea.

But, a study of 58,000 people over 12 years (that’s a lot of Brazilian and Colombian workers employed by the way), show that most people who increased their caffeine intake ended up putting on weight compared to those who maintained or decreased caffeine intake. Sorry to those health fanatics that justify their coffee, pre-workout, or Red Bull for its weight loss.

The issue with drinking coffee is rarely the caffeine, but all the extra stuff we add. You know that person that takes four sugars with their coffee? A standard 8oz coffee can have 120 calories and seven grams of fat with full-cream milk, or 70 calories with skim-milk (not including the added sugar). Almond milk is lower in calories (60), but also far higher in being fun-free, lower in protein, and calcium.

To help you out, a person having four cups of coffee a day (full-cream milk and two sugars) downs about 760 calories a day, or about 38 per cent of your daily intake. Ouch. Cutting the two sugars puts us down to 24 per cent. Switching to almond milk halves that 24 to a 12.

 

Three. Coffee can sober you up and fixes hangovers.

This one is believed by a lot of people. After a good hangover, a coffee always seems to make me feel better. It sounds logical, right? Metabolism booster plus alcohol means that the said alcohol is processed faster? Sorry to say, that’s wrong.

It can probably make you feel worse Sunday 11am, face down on your deck table cursing silently at the sun for being so bright. Caffeine can dehydrate, which is really not what anyone needs after a night out.

It also makes you feel more awake and alert whilst crumping in the corner of Mobius at 4am on a Sunday morning. Maybe it makes you feel like you’re slurring less when trying to meet potential ‘friends’ at 2am in Lonnies. But, the truth is, that it does little to sober anyone up. It just makes us feel that way.

We are also far more likely to do stupid things whilst loaded on espresso martinis or vodka Red Bulls than if we drink alcohol alone. One such study shows that we are far more likely to get in a car with a drunk driver if we have combined alcohol and caffeine.

Four. Afternoon coffee will keep you awake at night.

Caffeine stimulates, right? But, unless your liver enjoys a catnap in the afternoon, then most coffee should disappear from your system within four to seven hours.  A coffee at 3pm is gone by that 10pm bedtime. Wait, what am I talking about, no University student sleeps at 10pm. Not when there are so many episodes of House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, or 13 Reasons Why to binge on Netflix.

Have a coffee a 5pm, sleep at 12am – if you like an early bedtime.   

Five. The truth. Coffee helps studying.

Well, this is not a misconception, but it’s here anyway. Read on.

Whilst coffee cannot do much for your waistline, fails to fix hangovers or sober anyone up, it can help us study if we consume it right, that is.

Coffee can help increase focus and concentration, enhance our ability to retain information, increase alertness, and enhance mood, or so Nestle says. They’d never bend the truth right? They’ve got nothing to gain from increase coffee demand, right? Don’t worry though, Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore backs them up in one of their studies using 200 milligram caffeine pills (equivalent to one or two coffees).

Just remember, that there is a ‘golden mean’ to caffeine consumption.

This is how much caffeine we are likely to intake.

1oz Cappuccino – 235 mg (approx. 156 mg for 8oz)

No-Doz – 200 mg per tablet

8oz Red Bull – 80 mg (but these have far more than caffeine to pump you up)

Nespresso pod coffee – 50-80 mg

12oz McDonald’s Cappuccino – 71 mg (approx. 48 mg for 8oz)

8oz Black tea – 47 mg

12oz Coca-Cola – 34 mg (approx. 23 mg for 8oz)

8oz Green tea – 29mg

Caffeinate. Study. Rinse. Repeat.

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