About three weeks ago, I read Jane Brody’s column in the New York Times(5 Aug 2008) on sorting out coffee’s contradictions. While I enjoy Jane’s thoroughness to her research review, I wanted to share my thoughts and encourage you to Think Different about reading this at face value.
The article mentions that coffee (in particular caffeine) is not dehydrating because there was very little difference seen in the amount of urine produced by coffee drinkers and non-coffee drinkers. Current cellular hydration studies show that the amount of urine you produce HAS nothing to do with cellular hydration status and how water is distributed throughout the body. True optimal hydration as it relates to energy production, proper body functioning and strong immune system is not measured by urine quantity. Associating hydration with urine produced is unfortunately prevalent but really a bit of "old school thinking”. In fact, coffee is highly acidic and facilitates water redistribution, pulling water out of the cells and thus compromising cellular functioning which impacts energy and immune system function.
The article concludes coffee doesn’t contribute to bone density loss and thus doesn’t pose a risk for bone health. There is question among integrative medicine experts if measuring bone density is the most accurate way to assess bone nutriture and risk for bone thinning disease. They contend that measuring the “rate of turnover of old bone and new bone” is much more dynamic way to assess bone health and disease risk. Using this criteria, coffee’s tannins and oxalic acids actually have been shown to stunt the bond-building cells (osteoclasts) and therefore do affect the rate of bone turnover and could increase disease risk.
Lastlly, there is strong evidence optimal adrenal health could hold a key to aging gracefully and body rejuvenation. Adrenal glands are critically involved in immune health and overall vitality. Overstimulation of the adrenal glands can lead to adrenal burnout, a condition seen more frequently in younger and younger folks. Coffee studies show that they "stimulate" adrenals superficially and may in fact play a part in adrenal health.
I would like to re-iterate our TIGNUM Sustainable High Performer nutrition philosophy. First, we invite you to become more aware of how your food and beverage choices impact how you feel and your health. We also believe that there is a moderation and common sense approach to foods. Elevating your awareness can allow you to make different choices and see how they impact your vitality and resilience. Therefore if you choose to enjoy coffee, please do so being fully aware!!
By Patti Milligan
Director of Nutrition