Effects of Coffee on the Body: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Last updated February 22nd, 2021

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I love coffee myself, and couldn’t survive without my morning cup of joe.

But it seems like every week the experts in health and fitness change their minds on what foods and drinks are good for you, and coffee is no exception.

This week chocolate can cure cancer, next week it’s going to kill you. This month red wine is the key to a healthy heart, next month it might just give you a heart attack.

The ping-pong game of health effects of foods and drinks is seriously giving me whiplash!

In the US, coffee is more popular than soda, tea and juice combined, so scientists must know a few things for sure about exactly what coffee does for us (other than the obvious).

So we took a look at the facts about what the effects of coffee are on your body, and put this matter to rest once and for all!

(Or, you know, at least until the scientists publish new research again…*facepalm*)

We’ve got good news and bad news in this article. Let’s start with the good!

Positive Effects of Coffee on the Body

We’ll give you the good news first! There are definitely some proven health benefits to drinking coffee, and they aren’t all just hype.

Yes, you heard me right: coffee can be good for you — as long as you don’t overdo the add-ins.

A little bit of cream in your coffee in the morning is okay. It’s generally just about 40-50 calories per serving — if you stick to the serving size. But when you start off your morning with a caramel latte or even load up black coffee with cream or sugar, you’re starting your day off in the hole with 300-500+ calories.

That’s an entire meal, and you haven’t even had breakfast yet…

Black coffee can be an acquired taste (using fresh roasted coffee beans will help), but it’s an incredible way to start off your day with ZERO calories (and approved if you’re doing intermittent fasting for weight loss).

1. Give Your Brain a Boost

So we already know that coffee keeps your mind more alert, but it is actually doing more to help your brain!

According to several studies, coffee can lower your risk of depression and suicide, and increase your levels of dopamine. (1, 2, 3)

And if that wasn’t enough to sway you, coffee also reduces your risk of developing Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, dementia, and cognitive decline. (2)

2. Lower Your Risk of Cancer

I’m up for trying anything to help me avoid the big C-word, and I’m sure most of you are, too.

Studies have shown that coffee reduces the risk of certain cancers, like endometrial cancer, lethal prostate cancer, oral cancer, and some types of breast cancer. (1, 2)

Researchers can’t yet prove exactly what gives coffee it’s cancer-fighting superpowers; but they believe it’s thanks to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

3. Add Years To Your Life

older woman drinking coffee in a kitchen

Aside from keeping you happy and cancer-free, coffee can simply add years to your life span.

One large study determined that regardless of whether you drink decaf or regular, “coffee drinkers were less likely to die from heart disease, respiratory disease, stroke, injuries and accidents, diabetes, and infections.” (7)

Part of this might be because coffee can help you lower your bad cholesterol and triglycerides, and can also help prevent type 2 diabetes. (4)

I like to think a big reason is simply because it helps you be more active.

4. Sip the Pounds Away

Finally, the pièce de résistance: coffee can help you lose weight and stay fit!

The simplest way this happens is that coffee actually burns fat.

Better yet: the more weight you lose, the more fat coffee will burn for you—up to “29% fat in lean folks and 10% for obese folks”. (8)

It can also protect you from metabolic syndrome (i.e., a bunch of conditions that make it harder to lose weight and can cut years off your life) by boosting your metabolic rate by up to eleven percent! (8)

Drinking coffee before exercising can also increase your endurance, so you can burn more calories and build more fat-torching muscle. (6)

Plus, if you drink coffee regularly, you probably already know that it helps keep you, well, regular. (5)

And having a healthy digestive system is especially important for weight loss!

Negative Effects of Coffee on the Body

So now that we got you all excited and ready to drink coffee all day every day, we’re going to drop the bad news: there are some downsides to drinking coffee.

I know, I know, I didn’t want to believe the nectar of the gods could have any negative side effects, either! But before you guzzle a gallon of dark roast, you should take these words of caution into account.

1. It’s Addictive (Seriously)

coffee cup spiral

Even if you only drink a cup of coffee a day, your body quickly becomes dependent on the daily dose of caffeine. That means if you stop suddenly, you’ll experience withdrawal symptoms just like with any drug.

Caffeine withdrawal can cause headaches, lethargy, brain fog, negative mood, and dizziness, among other things. (10)

(Raise your hand if you know this from first-hand experience—I know I do!)

2. Don’t Forget to Read the Fine Print

At the risk of sounding like the end of a prescription commercial, there are some other negative side effects that you might experience when drinking coffee.

While coffee can be a mood booster for most people, it has been known to make others feel irritable. Some of that grouchiness could be thanks to the gastrointestinal side effects of coffee, like heartburn, diarrhea, ulcers, and other G.I. tract damage. (2, 5)

If you’re trying to conceive, coffee could be the cause of your fertility problems, including pregnancy complications and even miscarriage. (2)

And in case your doctor hasn’t already told you, “caffeine interacts with some medications, including thyroid medication, psychiatric and depression drugs,” as well as certain antibiotics and heartburn medications.

It has also been known to “[increase] blood sugar levels, making it harder for those with type 2 diabetes to manage their insulin.” (7)

3. It Could Give You a Heart Attack (Maybe)

coffee and broken heart cookie

Okay, so the research doesn’t explicitly say coffee will give you a heart attack.

And we did just learn that you’re less likely to have a heart attack or stroke if you drink coffee regularly, right?

So… what gives?

Well, if you were having a heart attack at the idea of giving up your coffee, here’s a sign of hope: researchers believe that most of these negative side effects are actually caused by the caffeine in coffee—not by the coffee itself.

Consuming too much caffeine can cause a host of negative effects including “raising blood pressure, making arteries stiffer, and increasing levels of homocysteine, insulin, and possibly cholesterol.”  (1)

All of which are the perfect recipe for a heart attack.

Also, if java gives you the jitters, that’s your body’s way of warning you that something is wrong. If you keep drinking the high-octane stuff and ignore these warning signs, those jitters could actually escalate to a panic attack! (9)

So if you get this feeling often, especially after only a single cup, try switching to tea or even just decaf coffee.

Bottom Line – All Good Things in Moderation

So does all of this mean you should switch to decaf?

Not necessarily.

If you’re the type of person that can consume multiple cups with no problem, drink up. Some people just aren’t as affected by the caffeine as others.

On the other hand, if you have health concerns that caffeine could make worse (like diabetes, thyroid conditions, anxiety, and etc.), you should probably consider switching to unleaded.

Weighing the pros and the cons here, I’m still going to drink my morning coffee—black, of course.

If you are concerned about your coffee intake or think you could be at risk, consider switching to an even healthier alternative like green tea (which just so happens to also be great for weight loss!).

And regardless of how much coffee or tea you drink, you should still drink plenty of water—especially if you’re trying to lose weight.

Rapid Weight Loss—Coffee Included?

If you’re hoping coffee will be your ticket to fast, easy weight loss, I have some tough love for you: While coffee might help you burn some extra calories, you’re not going to lose a lot of weight unless you seriously clean up your diet!

Sorry, not sorry.

And if you’re like many of our readers, you have probably tried more diets, pills, fixes, workout plans, and “magic solutions” than you can count.

And yet, those stubborn pounds are STILL hanging on for dear life!

We created our 21 Day Fat Loss Challenge for people exactly like you—people who feel like they’ve tried everything under the sun, but just can’t shed the weight or keep it off.

21-Day Fat Loss Challenge Program by Avocadu

Our challenge provides a step-by-step plan to help you lose up to 21 lbs in just 21 days, with far less effort than you may think!

Tons of our clients have turned it into a lifestyle diet and have lost as much as over 100 pounds with the challenge!

The best part? Besides just losing weight, the 21 Day Fat Loss Challenge was designed to heal your gut, rebalance your hormones, and retrain your tastebuds—so you’ll actually be able to keep the weight off!

And in case you were wondering, YES—coffee is approved during the challenge! You can even add a splash of approved dairy-free milk, if you’re still getting used to black coffee.

If you’re ready to make some changes in your life, this is the ONLY place you should start.  We’ll teach you exactly how to make the necessary changes in your diet and lifestyle, and how to keep them “beyond the diet.”

Click HERE to start YOUR 21 Day Fat Loss Challenge today!

Leave a comment below if you enjoyed this article on the effects of coffee on your body, or if you have any questions!

Cathy Dean

Hey y’all. My name is Cathy, a former junk-food loving carb-aholic turned nutrition and fitness enthusiast. Here at Avocadu, we believe that a nutrient-rich diet is EVERYTHING when it comes to your health and well-being. Our motto is “Healthy from the Inside Out”! As a Certified Keto Coach, I specialize in teaching others how to lose weight through healthy, low-carb eating.

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Hey, y’all! I’m Cathy!

I’m SO excited you’re here! I’m super passionate about nutrition, and specialize in teaching others how to lose weight through healthy, low-carb eating. Here at Avocadu, we believe in quality over quantity and that diet is EVERYTHING when it comes to your health and well-being. In short, we believe in being healthy from the inside out. Learn more

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