Coffee: Healthy Or Harmful?

The findings on caffeine change so often, I sometimes suspect that they depend on whether the scientist doing the study likes the brew! The latest reports are a mixed bag, but all the findings are important.

The good news: A study from SUNY Downstate Medical Center found that seniors with normal blood pressure who drink four or more cups of coffee a day are less likely to die from heart disease. Caffeine is presumed to be protective by preventing the drop in blood pressure that often occurs in older folks after they eat. You can get the same benefit from any source of caffeine, including tea, cola or chocolate. But caffeine won’t help if you have high blood pressure.

The bad news: Drinking more than one cup of coffee a day, especially during the first three months of pregnancy, doubles the risk of miscarriage, according to a study by Kaiser Permanente. A report from Duke University found that 500mg of caffeine (the equivalent of four cups of coffee) can raise blood sugar as much as 26% in patients with type 2 diabetes.

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