<%-- Page Title--%> Health <%-- End Page Title--%>

<%-- Volume Number --%> Vol 1 Num 131 <%-- End Volume Number --%>

November 21, 2003

<%-- Navigation Bar--%>
<%-- Navigation Bar--%>
<%-- 5% Text Table--%>

The Truth about Coffee

Amy Anderson

An Australian study claims that coffee can increase stamina and help weight loss. Yet, most health experts warn against drinking it. Amy Anderson separates myth from fact

Coffee is fat-free: Myth
After brewing, espresso coffee contains 2.5 per cent fat. Filter coffee contains 0.6 per cent. It's mainly the milk or cream taken with the coffee that adds fat.

Coffee makes you more physically active: Fact
Cafeine the main active ingredient in coffee acts as a mild stimulant on the central nervous system. This, in turn, is responsible for boosting alertness when individuals are tired during nightshift work, on a long journey or after lunch when the body's circadian rhythm is at its lowest. It is also why drinking coffee before taking part in sport can make you perform better.

Coffee is just a quick stimulant: Myth
The stimulant effect of coffee peaks in the blood 15 to 45 minutes after drinking but may persist for hours. How fast your body deals with caffeine depends on your metabolic rate but its expulsion is slowed by pregnancy, medications such as antacids and the Pill.

It's always hard to give up coffee: Myth
A tiny percentage of the population, who may be sensitive to the mild stimulant effects of caffeine, may experience withdrawal symptoms, such as headache and lethargy, if they suddenly stop drinking coffee. These symptoms can be avoided by cutting down gradually over a few days. Most people just feel slightly less alert in the mornings when they stop drinking coffee.

Drinking coffee is an aid to weight loss: Fact
Caffeine has been shown to lead to a temporary increase in the metabolic rate and the rate of fat breakdown. Although increases in energy expenditure caused by caffeine are small, they may be of benefit in some weight loss programmes.

Coffee can make you more mentally alert: Fact
Caffeine can boost the speed of rapid information processing by 10 per cent, and a cup of coffee after lunch helps to counteract the 'post-lunch dip' in ability to sustain concentration. It can also make you less drowsy when you have cold and can stimulate sensory nerves.

Coffee is certain to make it hard to sleep: Myth
The effect of caffeine on the ability to fall asleep differs hugely between individuals. Some people who drink coffee in the evening find they have no problems sleeping; others find its stimulant effect means it takes them much longer to fall asleep. However, a higher proportion of poor sleepers than good sleepers appear to metabolise caffeine particularly slowly. This is why doctors often recommend that people who are having problems getting to sleep refrain from drinking coffee in the late afternoon or early evening.

The darker the roast, the stronger the coffee: Myth
The darkness of a coffee roast depends on how long it has been left to roast for and lighter roasts often have a stronger flavour. Darker roasts are more acidic, which can make the taste better or worse, depending on your personal preference.

Source: The Khaleej Times


(C) Copyright The Daily Star. The Daily Star Internet Edition, is published by The Daily Star