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7 Myths About Caffeine

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Caffeine Myth No. 3: Caffeine increases risk for osteoporosis, heart disease, and cancer
Fact: Moderate amounts of caffeine–about 300 milligrams, roughly three cups of coffee–apparently cause no harm in most healthy adults. Although some people are more sensitive to its effects, including older people and those with high blood pressure. Here are the facts by condition.

Osteoporosis: At high levels (more than 744 milligrams per day, around seven or eight cups of coffee), caffeine may increase calcium and magnesium loss in urine. But recent studies suggest it does not increase your risk for bone loss, especially if you get enough calcium. You can offset the calcium lost from drinking one cup of coffee by adding just two tablespoons of milk. However, research does show some links between caffeine and hip fracture risk in older adults. Older adults may be more sensitive to the effects of caffeine on calcium metabolism. If you’re an older woman, discuss with your doctor whether you should limit your daily caffeine intake to 300 milligrams or less.

Heart disease: According to the Harvard Nurses’ Health Study, caffeine consumption does not increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and does not raise cholesterol levels or cause irregular heartbeat. A slight, temporary rise in heart rate and blood pressure is common in those who are sensitive to caffeine–but the rise is minimal and comparative to normal activity like walking up stairs. That said, ff you have high blood pressure talk to your doctor about caffeine intake as some people may be more sensitive to its effects. Also, more research is needed to tell whether caffeine increases the risk for stroke in people with high blood pressure.

Cancer: According to The New York Times, scientists conducting an international review of 66 studies found coffee drinking had “little if any effect on the risk of developing pancreatic or kidney cancer. In fact, another review suggested that compared with people who do not drink coffee, those who do have half the risk of developing liver cancer.”  And a study of 59,000 women in Sweden (the country with the highest coffee consumption per capita in the world) found no connection between caffeine consumption and breast cancer.

Next: Myth No. 4

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Melissa Breyer

Melissa Breyer is a writer and editor with a background in sustainable living, specializing in food, science and design. She is the co-author of True Food (National Geographic) and has edited and written for regional and international books and periodicals, including The New York Times Magazine. Melissa lives in Brooklyn, NY.

569 comments

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6:55AM PST on Nov 12, 2014

Making fresh coffee is an exercise in concentration.

5:17AM PDT on Oct 6, 2014

Thank you :)

8:47AM PDT on Aug 10, 2014

Informative, thank you :)

1:44PM PST on Feb 5, 2014

Thanks for sharing this! Coffee myths and facts are always so interesting to read.

1:41PM PST on Jan 27, 2014

interesting

11:41AM PST on Jan 27, 2014

coffee makes me tired

1:59PM PST on Dec 1, 2013

p.s. No, I'm not against coffee or tea, and drink them regularly (in moderation, of course! ;-).
I do agree that caffeine does have many benefits, especially in medications.

1:55PM PST on Dec 1, 2013

This article has a LOT of misinformation.
I am glad to see that a lot of readers have included corrections in their comments here, right back to some very knowledgeable ones in 2009.

Caffeine IS ADDICTIVE. I learned that from drinking Coke when I was 18 - a scary discovery! I'm sure all of you know people who are addicted to coffee. Not like heroin addicts, of course, but still a reality. And not everyone becomes addicted; we're all different.

A majority of Melissa's "facts" don't actually refute the myths. She repeats that caffeine "in moderation" is safe. But how many people you know do NOT drink coffee or cola in moderation? Because it is addictive, a lot of people consume very large amounts.

Thank you especially to the smart reader who debunked Melissa's "facts" about caffeine and alcohol. You make a lot of sense.

We're talking about a drug here. Everyone reacts differently. But don't you think that this drug has serious enough effects to be very careful about its consumption by children?

Luckily, a lot of us are experienced and knowledgeable enough to see through Melissa's rationalizations about caffeine consumption. I worry about the readers here who just say - Yeah, this is a great article because it says what I want to believe!

I've found the experiences related in the readers' comments fascinating. I encourage everyone to look up the real facts, to read opposing opinions and judge them by what you observe around you.

8:54AM PST on Dec 1, 2013

thank you

11:56PM PDT on Jun 29, 2013

There has always been endless debates of caffeine,especially in coffees....

Some may be respond to these effects, some may not.....Ultimately, it really depends on the health of each individual!

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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people are talking

Good to know, thanks.

I'm not on Facebook, just commenting to say I hated the infographic.

very good article thanks

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