Coffee might just be the most consumed beverage on the planet. I hope it’s actually water, but frankly I see more people drinking coffee than water on a day to day basis. As with anything that popular, there are differing opinions as to its value. Is it good for you? Or is it bad for you but you simply need it to wake up and/or get you through the day? Well it can definitely be good for you but that depends on if you use it or abuse it.
The Good: There are a number of benefits to drinking coffee. Most people drink it for its caffeine, which is a stimulant. Caffeine boosts metabolism, improves alertness and is even an ergogenic aid (increases performance) for endurance sports. All in all it can be a very effective addition to your diet to help keep you lean; be sure to consume it properly for this to happen (“the ugly” below). For a long list of benefits, as well as tips on drinking it, see this article by fellow strength coach and trainer Mike Sheridan.
The Bad: A big problem with our culture is over consumption. This is especially the case with coffee, as evidenced by the new sizes at Tim Hortons. Most people aren’t hydrated enough to begin with, couple that with the 3, 5, 7 cups of coffee I see people drinking and it becomes a big problem. As Mike mentioned, you’re probably drinking too much to begin with but you’re not coming close to hydrating adequately for that volume of coffee. Do yourself a favour, cut down to twice per day (morning and afternoon maybe) and put a major focus on water intake. Lethargy is a symptom of dehydration, which is probably the reason you’re consuming the coffee in the first place – vicious circle, I know.
The Ugly: If you’ve ever asked for a “double-double” then this section is for you. You can stop bragging now, that’s not a good thing. Taking your coffee with loads of milk and sugar is exactly what you need, if GETTING FAT is your goal. If you’re reading this article though, it means you’re either lost or you’re screwing yourself over. We’ve already talked about how important it is to keep a low and steady blood sugar level (here) both for health and for staying lean. Guzzling down a huge coffee with tons of sugar and milk (read: sugar) is the opposite of what we’re trying to do. This is just asking for an insulin spike and most likely fat storage. The benefit of adding cream (and no sugar) is that the higher fat content really slows down digestion and keeps your blood sugar at a steady level. Caffeine can help with fat loss, but taking your coffee with tons of milk and sugar completely negates those benefits. The Solution: So what to do about your coffee problem?? A few simple tips can go a long way. First, cut down your intake to once or twice per day. Next, cut down what you’re putting in and go for some cream (18% or 35%) . Lastly, and you should already be doing this, put a major emphasis on water intake. Your body significantly breaks down when it’s dehydrated and most people live their lives that way. Don’t be that guy/girl.
Coffee can be great if you consume it properly.