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Update:  New article published on MSNBC –  25 May –underscores health benefits of coffee –  and further proves premise of optimal coffee ingestion at five to six cups.  (Previous studies showed the majority of benefits at five cups/ day.)

Posting this for a friend, who wasn’t quite convinced by my arguments for coffee..  Added the video just for a light-hearted touch..and who doesn’t like David Bowie..

Happily,  the majority of people have gotten away from the incorrect notion that coffee is somehow harmful, the “I gave up cigarettes and coffee” mentality.. It always irks me a bit when coffee drinking is lumped into a group of unhealthy behaviors….Stay away from coffee… and crack cocaine, people… But seriously, this is one beverage that has been mislabeled over the years – undeservedly.

With so many honest – to-  goodness harmful food additives,  fast food and other ‘junk‘ we put in our bodies – misidentifying coffee is a tragedy (albeit, a small one.)  Admittedly, it is hard on my dental enamel – but otherwise, it is a welcome part of my daily routine.

So today, we are going to review some of our previous posts and the latest published information on coffee and it’s health effects..

For starters, we are going back to a post dated March 2011 – where I first reviewed my love of the hot, rich beverage, along with a summary of health benefits..

We talked about preliminary research suggesting coffee may be protective against strokes.. An additional study on this was actually just published last month, as reported in Medscape.com, Moderate coffee intake protects against stroke, (11 May, 2012) on a meta-analysis presented at the European Society of Hypertension (ESH) European Meeting on Hypertension 2012 by Dr Lanfranco D’Elia. 

Then – a year ago (May 2011) we brought you more information about coffee as a potent anti-oxidant, and potential implications for preventing cancer (and refuting claims that it caused cancer.)

Following that – in July of 2011 – we went as far as proclaiming ‘superfood status’ when preliminary research suggested coffee ingesters were less likely to have MRSA colonization.

We haven’t even touched on the diabetes, and pancreatic cancer angle today, but suffice to say that research shows that the pancreas has a definite affinity for coffee..

Now, on the heels of reports of the underdiagnosis and increasing incidence of fatty liver disease – comes a study in the Annals of Hepatology entitled, “High coffee intake is associated with lower grade nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: the role of peripheral antioxidant activity.”  Translated for readers, this small study by Gutierrez – Grobe, et. al (2012) suggests that high coffee intake is actual beneficial and may have a protective effect on the liver.  Now – don’t get too excited – since it was just a very small study, of 130 subjects – coffee and noncoffee drinkers, 73 without liver disease and 57 with liver disease.  So clearly, we need to look at this more closely..

But in the meantime, you can keep drinking your coffee.

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If you remember, in my blogs about the health benefits of coffee (here, here and here) as well as a previous blog on the health risks related to sugary soft drinks, I promised to bring you more information about our favorite devil-in-disguise, Starbucks.  (I will give them credit for making this information easily accessible, even if it is tiny print.)

I call Starbucks this because on initial consideration..

Coffee: Good!      Big super-sized coffees: Even Better!  and look – a Regular black coffee, no cream, no sugar, any size (including their super-size Venti) is only FIVE calories..

Coffee loaded with cream and sugar:  Not so good.  (How bad is it – you ask? or you should be asking)

well once you start drinking their specialty drinks (and I must be the only person who drinks regular coffee anymore) – that’s when you get into trouble.. so knowing that everyone loves their super-sized coffees, I’ve skipped right to the “Venti” calorie counts..

Cafe Latte with skim milk: 170 calories

Cafe Latte with 2% milk:  240 calories and NINE grams of fat

Cafe Mocha (without whipped cream in these examples)

with nonfat-milk: 280 calories

with 2% milk: 340 calories and 10 grams of fat (that’s a reasonable sized salad with a vinaigrette dressing and maybe cheese or not-so-healthy add-ons)

Vanilla (or other flavored) Lattes:

with non-fat milk: 250 calories (all sugar)

with 2% milk: 320 calories and eight grams of fat

Even the ‘skinny’ lattes have 160 calories..

The specialty espressos are no better (in fact – some are worse, as you will see)

Carmel macchiato:

 with non-fat milk: 240 calories, one gram of fat

with 2% milk:  300 calories, 8 grams of fat

White chocolate mocha (without whipped cream – I think they were afraid of putting the whipped cream calorie counts on this brochure)

with non-fat milk: 450 calories and 7 grams of fat (that’s a decent meal’s worth of calories!!)

with 2% milk: 510 calories and fifteen grams of fat – for a ‘coffee’ !  (I think you can see here how a few of these coffees a week can certainly pile on the pounds.)

Now, if you think that’s no big deal – go on over to www.Fitday.com (and don’t lie to yourself about your exercise) and put in your information (they have free accounts) and figure out how much walking, jogging or aerobics you have to do to equal out that one coffee.. Hint: It’s a lot more than you’d think – or we wouldn’t be in this mess!

The other items on the menu (including the teas) are no better once you pile in the milks, sugars and other garbage.

What about coffee with soy milk?  Isn’t that supposed to be good for you?  Well, in theory, perhaps.. But actually, for some products, the fat and calorie counts for Starbucks products with soy milk go way, way up.

Cafe Latte with soy milk: 220 calories, 6 grams of fat

Cafe Mocha (no whipped cream) with soy milk: 320 calories, 8 grams of fat

Vanilla Latte with soy milk: 300 calories with 6 grams of fat

Carmel macchiato with soy milk: 280 calories with 6 grams of fat

White chocolate mocha: (no whipped cream): 490 calories, 12 grams of fat

all of this – for a little eye-opener in the morning – time to stick with the regular coffee!

In fairness – I am not picking on Starbucks, they are just the most popular.  Even the local 7 – 11 has a coffee flavored slushy drink that is packed full of sugar and calories.  Of course it’s delicious – but really, that’s besides the point.  Obesity and diabetes are just a mathematical formulation – and it seems many of us are failing the subject entirely.

The Lancet, a well reputed medical journal has just published a series on Obesity, and the numbers are frightening – researchers estimate that by 2030 – (really not that far away) over 165 million Americans will be obese.

The costs of this to society are enormous, and frankly staggering.  Bloomberg published a story estimated an additional 66 BILLION dollars PER year in obesity related costs.  That isn’t just a threat to our health as a nation, but our financial future.

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Here at Cartagena Surgery, we like to bring uplifting news every once in a while.. For all my devoted drinkers of coffee, here’s some more encouragement.
There are some problems over at wordpress so my page won’t be as pretty with links today..

Coffee may lower risk of Prostate cancer

Since we’re equal opportunity types, here’s another article for the ladies..

Coffee may lower risk of breast cancer

of course, this is all preliminary, so we need more research before we say anything definite – but in the meantime, stop feeling guilty and have another cup.. (notice – I did not say Starbucks double mocha latte – that just doesn’t count..)

Of course, with the recent rains in Colombia, coffee may be just a little more precious this year.

https://cartagenasurgery.wordpress.com/2011/03/13/more-good-news-for-coffee-drinkers/

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As some of you know – I took on the coffee challenge in graduate school after a few stupid comments from classmates over my coffee drinking habit (I like about four cups a day).. So as part of a grad school assignment I reviewed the literature surrounding coffee, and the active ingredients in coffee and it’s kin (cocoa) and wrote about the health benefits of the methylxanthines; theophylline, theobromide, and caffeine.. I talked about the use of theophylline to prevent anoxic injury to the brain and to help restore spontaneous circulation in people after brady/asystolic arrest..
I also debunked some of the common myths surrounding ‘theophylline toxicity’ and it’s unwarrented and tarnished reputation.**

** (check the potassium level, everyone – and know that the effective / therapuetic range is actually 5 to 10 not 10 to 20)

Since then I hae been ardent follower of coffee drinking/ health stories..
– We now know it doesn’t precipitate atrial fibrillation – as demonstrated in several very large studies last year..

– It’s protective against diabetes and pancreatic cancer..

and now, ladies – it appears the health effects extend to a stroke benefit as well.. Now, maybe it isn’t all true – but the next time someone makes a smarmy comment about coffee harming your health – here’s some ammo to fire right back at them..

Here’s some links to the story- which was widely reported, and picked up by AP.

Coffee reduces Stroke

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110310/ap_on_he_me/us_med_coffee_stroke

http://consumer.healthday.com/Article.asp?AID=650753

LA timesNow – just make sure you haven’t ruined it with 300 calories worth of fat and sugar..

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