Preserved in movies, TV shows and cautionary tales handed down from our parents, these age-old myths have finally come to an end. Let’s debunk some of the most commonly believed myths that may have you thinking twice about enjoying another cup of coffee.
1. Coffee Stunts Growth
We’ve all heard parents refuse their children sips of coffee, exclaiming “It will stunt your growth!” As it turns out, there is zero medical proof that consuming coffee has any effect on height or normal physical development.
Even women who drink coffee while pregnant give birth to children who achieve normal growth milestones.
2. Coffee is Bad for Your Heart
While the caffeine in coffee may temporarily elevate your blood pressure and leave you feeling jittery, there is no medical evidence that any long-term or lasting damage is done to the cardiovascular system of a normal, healthy adult due to the consumption of coffee.
Actually, the contrary is true: coffee is one of the best foods to prevent clogged arteries. Of course, if you already have high blood pressure or another heart condition, even a slight increase in blood pressure could have adverse effects.
If you do feel your heart racing outside of the expected “jitters” or notice palpitations, this could be a sign that you’re drinking too much coffee and you should consult your doctor.
3. Coffee Dehydrates You
While caffeine may slightly dehydrate you, it cancelled out by the amount of fluid you’re taking in (after all, what do you use to brew coffee? Water!)
In a British study, 50 adults’ hydration levels were monitored, showing no difference between those drinking coffee and those not. With the evidence from this study as well as findings from other medical institutes, doctors now feel it’s okay to count your morning coffee as part of your recommended fluid intake each day.
4. Coffee is Highly Addictive
We’ve all been there: for whatever reason, you missed your morning cup of coffee. You feel heavy, listless and you start to feel the twinge of a headache.
“Man, I’m so addicted,” you think to yourself.
Well, while it may be true that your body comes to rely on that extra boost in the morning, it’s not nearly as addictive as you’ve been led to believe. If you ever want to “kick the coffee habit”, it would only take a couple of days for your body to adjust to not having that daily dose, and withdrawal side-effects are minimal, usually just a slight headache and irritability.
But, since there are so many health benefits from drinking coffee, there’s no need to miss what a lot of people feel is the best part of waking up.
5. Drinking an Afternoon Cup Will Keep You Up All Night
The majority of normal, healthy adults process the amount of caffeine in a cup of coffee in two to three hours.
So, if you have a cup of coffee after lunch at 1:00 PM, or even at 4:00 PM to get you through the last hour of work and your commute home, the effects of the caffeine will have run their course well before 8:00 PM, leaving you side-effect free to enjoy your beauty sleep.
6. Coffee Will Sober You Up
This myth is so old and well engrained in our culture, you’ve probably heard it subtly your entire life in movies, TV shows, even family gatherings. “You are drunk as a skunk, have some coffee, it’ll sober you up!” or you hear someone next to you at the bar ask for a “Cup of Joe to sober me up before I hit the road,”
What they’re actually doing is having a cup of coffee that will make them feel more alert but not increase their coordination, reflexes or judgment. There is nothing that will make you sober, only time.
I really can’t state this firmly enough: you must wait for your body to process the alcohol and for the effects to wear off. Coffee won’t speed that process and it won’t counteract the effects of alcohol, but it’s great to drink while you wait!
7. Coffee Cures Hangovers
Sorry, this one is false too! While a soothing, hot cup of strong coffee may make you feel better because caffeine is a stimulant, you’ll still be suffering dehydration, headache, and the whole goody bag of hurt that comes with over-indulging the night before.
8. If You Drink Too Much Coffee You Can Overdose
Nope, not true. But what if you drink 12 cups of coffee a day? While everyone has a different limit for how much caffeine their body can tolerate, caffeine overdose is extremely rare and usually due to overconsumption of highly caffeinated energy drinks, pills, or even pure caffeine powder.
Doctors estimate it would take nearly 30 cups of coffee to trigger a caffeine overdose. That might not seem outrageous to consume in a day for someone who “lives on coffee”, but the catch here is all 30 cups would have to be consumed simultaneously to reach overdose levels.
Your body can process caffeine in just 2-3 hours (that’s why you feel like you’re dragging by lunch if you’ve only had a morning cup) making it impossible to consume enough caffeine for an overdose from drinking only coffee.
Don’t be fooled by these old myths that have haunted coffee lovers for ages. Now you know the truth: coffee, in moderation, can actually be considered a healthy beverage for most normal adults. So, guzzle it up, there’s no need to worry!
Reference: Johns Hopkins Medicine, American Heart Association News, Readers Digest, Medical News Today