The Truth about Coffee

Coffee arabica or Coffee robusta, if you prefer a little more caffeine, is amazing. It’s also a central nervous system stimulant & habit forming so we should be prudent when consuming it. 

I love coffee and am always trying to find ways that I can justify having it each day.  Here are some that I found:

  1. Might lower the risk of death (1).  True, a study of over 1/2 million people in Europe found that regular consumption of coffee might be linked to lower risk of death. Another study suggested such a finding is also true among other demographics (2).
  2. Consumption is inversely related to liver cancer (3).
  3.  Might be protective of the brain (4).

So how much coffee is ideal?

Well, from my research, it appears that 400mg is the magic amount. What is 400mg?  2-4  (8oz cups)* of brewed coffee, a grande brewed from Starbucks (330mg) or 2 cups of medium from Tim Hortons. Check out this chart for more.

A note on 8 oz. That’s technically a “cup” of coffee. Often people drink 12-16 oz cups and several of them a day.  This can add up to litres of coffee per day (yikes).  See how much coffee you drink in a day and how it compares to the 400mg / day recommended. 

So even though there may be some health benefit of regular coffee consumption, here’s where I think it might be getting in the way of your health:

  1. Is your cup a vehicle for sugar? Is it loaded with dairy? Does it come served with whip cream? If it does then you might really be impacting blood sugar regulation, hormonal balance and good sustainable energy. Consider having coffee that is plain, with little additives.
  2. Is your coffee the only liquid of the day?  Ensure you are drinking adequate liquids throughout the day (mainly water) but including herbal or green teas (hot or cold) is also a good idea. Your body needs water!
  3. Do you suffer from anxiety? If so, check your java consumption and decrease what you currently consume because as mentioned above caffeine is a nervous system stimulant and can definitely exacerbate & potentially trigger anxiety.
  4. Issues with sleep? Check your coffee consumption and modify as needed and keep all caffeine intake before noon. Reasons are in alignment with #3.

So I say – let us drink coffee! 400mg / day of caffeine worth and served plain that is 🙂


1. Marc J. Gunter, PhD (*); Neil Murphy, PhD (*); Amanda J. Cross, PhD. Et AL. Coffee Drinking and Mortality in 10 European Countries: A Multinational Cohort Study. Ann Intern Med. 2017;167(4):236-247.

2. Li-Xuan Sang, Bing Chang, Xiao-Hang Li and Min Jiang. Consumption of coffee associated with reduced risk of liver cancer: a meta-analysis BMC Gastroenterology201313:34.

3.Song-Yi Park, PhD; Neal D. Freedman, PhD; Christopher A. Haiman, ScD; Loïc Le Marchand, MD, PhD; Lynne R. Wilkens, DrPH; Veronica Wendy Setiawan, PhD. Association of Coffee Consumption With Total and Cause-Specific Mortality Among Nonwhite Populations. Ann Intern Med. 2017;167(4):228-235.

4.Lee KW1, Im JY, Woo JM, Grosso H, Kim YS, Cristovao AC, Sonsalla PK, Schuster DS, Jalbut MM, Fernandez JR, Voronkov M, Junn E, Braithwaite SP, Stock JB, Mouradian MM.

Neurotherapeutics. Neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory properties of a coffee component in the MPTP model of Parkinson’s disease. 2013 Jan;10(1):143-53. doi: 10.1007/s13311-012-0165-2.

Sarah Kent

Dr. Sarah Kent is a licensed Naturopathic Doctor specializing in your health.  She blends traditional knowledge with current scientific understanding to generate wellness within her patients. She has received specialized training in naturopathic sports medicine, applying the principles and tools of naturopathic care in treating athletes.




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