British Coffee Association - Did You Know?
Did You Know?

Did You Know?

Did you know, coffee may have a protective effect against coronary heart disease, or the risk of stroke?
 
As the weather gets colder it’s time to start thinking about our heart health. Heart attacks are more common in the winter, which may be because the cold weather increases blood pressure, putting more strain on the heart or because the heart is working harder to maintain the body’s temperature when it's cold.1
 
Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the leading cause of heart attacks. CHD is a condition in which the coronary arteries get clogged up with deposits of cholesterol.2 Interestingly, research shows that moderate coffee consumption (four to five cups per day) does not significantly affect peoples' risk of CHD, or their risk of stroke. Indeed recent research suggests that coffee may even have a protective effect.3,4,5,6
 
Furthermore, High blood pressure is a risk factor for developing heart and circulatory disease, along with high cholesterol, diabetes and other lifestyle factors. As many as 5 million people in the UK are walking around, undiagnosed, with high blood pressure.7
 
It is possible to control your blood pressure through a number of lifestyle changes, including a healthy, balanced diet. There have been a number of studies looking at the effects of coffee consumption upon blood pressure and despite conflicting evidence about how coffee consumption can affect blood pressure, for regular coffee drinkers, moderate caffeine consumption has no effect on blood pressure.8,9 For those who don't normally consume caffeine, in some cases caffeine consumption has been shown to temporarily increase blood pressure, however it does not pose any danger to heart health.10
 
It's also reassuring to know that the British Heart Foundation agrees that moderate amounts of coffee consumption has only a small and temporary effect on individual's blood pressure, which is cancelled out by the effects of other compounds in the beverage.10
 
Dr Sarah Jarvis, GP, comments, "Moderate coffee consumption can be an enjoyable part of a healthy diet and there's a growing body of research which demonstrates that coffee may help protect against coronary heart disease and stroke. A cup of coffee may temporarily increase blood pressure in people who are not habitual coffee drinkers, however this effect is temporary and isn't dangerous."
 
Keeping active and eating a balanced diet which is low in saturated fat and includes lots of fruits and vegetables is important in helping protect your heart, there's no need to cut out coffee.
 
For the majority of people, 400mg of caffeine per day is considered moderate consumption – this equates to around four to five cups of coffee. This will depend on the size and strength of the serving and it's important to remember that caffeine can be found in other foodstuffs, such as tea, cola and chocolate. For pregnant women, the NHS recommends a safe upper limit of 200mg of caffeine per day from all sources - approximately two to three cups of coffee or equivalent.
 
References

1. 10 Winter Illnesses.  NHS Choices.  http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/winterhealth/Pages/Winterhealthrisks.aspx Accessed October 2013
2. Heart Attack Causes. NHS Choices.  http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Heart-attack/Pages/Causes.aspx Accessed October 2013
3. de Koning Gans J.M. et al. (2010) Tea and coffee consumption and cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol., 30:1665-1671
4. Sugiyama K. et al. (2010) Coffee consumption and mortality due to all causes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer in Japanese women. J. Nutrition,140(5):1007-1013
5. Ahmed H.N. et al. (2009) Coffee consumption and risk of heart failure in men: an analysis from the cohort of Swedish men. Am. Heart J, 158:667-672
6. Lopez-Garcia E. et al. (2009) Coffee consumption and risk of stroke in women. Circulation, 119:1116-1123
7. Blood Pressure.  British Heart Foundation.  http://www.bhf.org.uk/heart-health/conditions/high-blood-pressure.aspx Accessed October 2013
8. Mesas, A.E. et al. The effect of coffee on blood pressure and cardiovascular disease in hypertensive individuals: a systematic review and meta-analysis. American Society for Nutrition. Doi: 10.3945/ajcn.111.016667
9. Guessous I. et al, Caffeine intake and CYP1A2 variants associated with high caffeine intake, protect non?smokers from hypertension, Human Mol Genet, 2012 Jul 15;21(14):3283-92
10. Coffee, Caffeine and the Heart.  British Heart Foundation. http://www.bhf.org.uk/publications/view-publication.aspx?ps=1000767 Accessed October 2013

 
 
Did you know, coffee can increase both mental and physical performance?
 
Coffee, alertness and concentration
Evidence shows that moderate coffee intake can help improve alertness and concentration, due its caffeine content.1 Caffeine is well known for its stimulating effects, which have proven benefits for mental performance. In fact, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has concluded that there is sufficient evidence to support a cause and effect relationship for the effect of caffeine on alertness and attention (concentration).2
 
Coffee can also help alleviate driver fatigue. Recent research among long-distance commercial vehicle drivers demonstrated that drivers who consume caffeine with the specific purpose of helping them stay awake were 63% less likely to have a crash, compared with drivers who did not use any caffeinated substances. This supports previous research which showed that caffeine can help in the maintenance of alertness for driving.3
 
Many road traffic accidents occur as a result of a driver falling asleep at the wheel, so any research on how to address this is welcomed. The UK Department of Transport's Think! Road Safety Campaign advises drivers to ‘Drink two cups of coffee or a high-caffeinated drink, then take a short nap to allow the caffeine to kick in before driving.3,4,5,6 Indeed many driving safety organisations around the world recommend the approach of combatting tiredness by pulling over, drinking a cup of coffee and waiting for the caffeine to boost your alertness levels.7
 
Coffee and physical performance
Evidence has shown that caffeine leads to an increased production of adrenaline, which stimulates energy production and improves blood flow to the muscles and the heart.8 As a result, caffeine could modulate fatigue and influence ratings of exertion, perceived pain and energy levels, all of which are likely to lead to improvements in performance.
 
Drinking a cup of coffee about 20-30 minutes before you exercise can allow you to exercise for up to 30% longer.9 The most notable impact of caffeine on performance is in sports such as swimming, cycling and tennis.8 It is however important to note that such benefits are observed in trained athletes when caffeine is consumed in low to moderate dosages (~3-6mg/kg or 2-3 cups of coffee). Higher dosages of caffeine ( ≥ 9 mg/kg or 5-6 cups of coffee) do not result in further enhancement of performance.10
 
Dr John Stanley, Lecturer in Biochemistry, Trinity College, comments: "The ability of caffeine in coffee to improve physical performance during aerobic exercise and to restore mental performance when it has been impaired by fatigue deserves wider recognition."
 
For the majority of people, 400mg of caffeine per day is considered moderate consumption – this equates to around four to five cups of coffee. This will depend on the size and strength of the serving and it’s important to remember that caffeine can be found in other foodstuffs, such as tea, cola and chocolate. For pregnant women, the NHS recommends a safe upper limit of 200mg of caffeine per day from all sources – approximately two to three cups of coffee or equivalent.
 
References

1. Ferré S. An update on the mechanisms of the psychostimulant effects of caffeine. Journal of Neurochemistry 2008;105:1067-1079
2. EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA) (2011). Scientific Opinion on the substantiation of health claims related to caffeine and increased fat oxidation leading to a reduction in body fat mass (ID 735, 1484), increased energy expenditure leading to a reduction in body weight (ID 1487), increased alertness (ID 736, 1101, 1187, 1485, 1491, 2063, 2103) and increased attention (ID 736, 1485, 1491, 2375) pursuant to Article 13(1) of Regulation (EC) No 1924/20061. EFSA Journal;9(4):2054
3. Brice C, Smith A. The effects of caffeine on simulated driving, subjective alertness and sustained attention. Human Psychopharmacology 2001;16:523-31
4. Department of Transport http://think.direct.gov.uk/fatigue.html  last accessed October 2013
5. Brunyé TT, et al. Caffeine modulates attention network function. Brain and Cognition 2010; 72:181-8
6. Rayner L, et al. Suppression of sleepiness in drivers: Combination of caffeine with a short nap. Psychophysiology 1997 34(6):721-725
7. Drowsy driving and automobile crashes. http://www.nhtsa.gov/people/injury/drowsy_driving1/drowsy.html Accessed October 2013 
8. Ganio M. S. et al. Effect of caffeine on sport-specific endurance performance: a systematic review. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 2009;23(1):315-24
9. Ruxton, C.H.S. The impact of caffeine on mood, cognitive function, performance and hydration: a review of benefits and risk. British Nutrition Foundation Nutrition Bulletin 2008; 33(1):15-25
10. Goldstein E.R. et al. International society of sports nutrition position stand: caffeine and performance 2010 7:5 http://www.jissn.com/content/7/1/5 

 
 
Did you know, coffee can help us stay hydrated?
 
Fast fact: Coffee is often wrongly thought of as causing dehydration but in fact, research shows that coffee can actually help us stay hydrated by contributing to our daily fluid intake. 1,2,3
 
It is a common misconception that because caffeine is a mild diuretic, it causes dehydration. This is thought to stem from a 1997 study which reported a significant increase in volume of urine excreted in individuals drinking coffee, compared with those drinking an equivalent amount of water. However, the subjects in this study had abstained from consuming any caffeine for five days prior to the treatment, effectively making them ‘caffeine-naïve’ – and increased urine excretion in these circumstances is a well-documented effect.4  
 
Latest findings show that in fact caffeine, at levels consumed throughout the day in a couple of cups of coffee, is no more a diuretic than plain water.1 The British Dietetic Association and other UK expert bodies such as the British Nutrition Foundation are in agreement that moderate coffee consumption (up to four to five cups per day) can contribute to your daily fluid intake and will help to keep you alert and hydrated.1,2,3 Similarly, proceedings from a conference in North America advise consumers that drinking a variety of caffeinated beverages, including coffee, can contribute to meeting the body’s requirement for fluids  – not surprising when you consider that black coffee contains more than 95% water.5
 
This advice is reflected by the British Nutrition Foundation, which recognises milk, fruit juice, tea and coffee as important fluid sources.6  
 
“Many people still wrongly believe that hot drinks, and particularly coffee, are not good for us in the heat because they are dehydrating. However, there is a big difference between feeling that a drink is not as refreshing as you would like it to be and actually causing dehydration,” highlights Dr Sarah Schenker.
 
“When one cup of coffee is drunk, the body will retain all or most of the fluid, depending on current hydration status. Caffeine will exert a diuretic effect to varying degrees depending on dosage and caffeine tolerance of the person ingesting it.3
 
As well as contributing to hydration, caffeine has also been shown to help sustain both alertness and concentration7,8 and improve performance in a variety of tasks. Drinking a cup of coffee about 20-30 minutes before exercise can allow you to exercise for up to 30% longer. 8 The caffeine contained in a single cup of coffee can increase the amount of adrenaline produced by the body, which stimulates energy production and improves blood flow to the muscles and the heart. 8  As a result, caffeine can lead to improvements in performance and is most notable in endurance sports such as swimming, cycling and tennis.9
 
For the majority of people, 400mg of caffeine per day is considered moderate consumption – this equates to around four to five cups of coffee. This will depend on the size and strength of the serving and it’s important to remember that caffeine can be found in other foodstuffs, such as tea, cola and chocolate. For pregnant women, the NHS recommends a safe upper limit of 200mg of caffeine per day from all sources – approximately two to three cups of coffee or equivalent.
 
References
 

1. Ganio, MS et al. Evidence-based approach to lingering hydration questions. Clinics in Sports Medicine, 26: 1-16, 2007.
2. British Dietetic Association, www.bda.uk.com.
3. British Nutrition Foundation, www.nutrition.org.uk.
4. Neuhauser-Berthold M et al. (1997). Coffee consumption and total body water homeostasis as measured by fluid balance and bioelectrical impedance analysis. Ann Nutr Metab 41, 29-36, 1997.
5. Kolasa KM et al. (2009). Hydration and health promotion. Nutr Today 44, 190-203.
6. British Nutrition Foundation, www.foodafactoflife.org.uk/attachments/b5784ad9-550d-41fee2e7a4dd.pdf, last accessed July 2013. 
7. Brunyé TT, et al (2010). Acute caffeine consumption enhances the executive control of visual attention in habitual consumers. Brain Cogn;74:186-92.
8. Ruxton, C.H.S. The impact of caffeine on mood, cognitive function, performance and hydration: a review of benefits and risks, British Nutrition Foundation Nutrition Bulletin, Volume 33, 2008.
9. Macintosh BR and Wright BM, Canadian Journal of Applied Physiology. 1995;20:168-17.

 
 
Did you know, coffee, when consumed in moderation, does not increase anxiety?
 
Fast fact: One in five people wrongly believe that coffee increases stress levels.1
 
Research has found that “caffeine can increase anxiety when administered in single doses of 300mg or higher, which is greater than the typical amount present in a single serving of a caffeine-containing beverage.” 2,3,4
 
However, there is little evidence to show a correlation between moderate caffeine intake and anxiety. “In lower doses it appears to have little effect on this mood-state or, under certain circumstances, it may even reduce anxiety levels.” 2,3,4
 
In addition, caffeine has not been shown to increase the anxiety induced by other stressors.2,3,4 Therefore for those wanting to decrease their stress levels, there is no need to cut out caffeine from your diet.
 
Dr Sarah Schenker, registered dietitian, explains: “When consumed in moderation (up to 4-5 cups of coffee per day) there is no evidence to suggest that coffee/caffeine will add or lead to stress or anxiety. Whilst very high doses of caffeine may increase stress, the research clearly shows that moderate coffee consumption is not associated with, and may even reduce stress and anxiety.”
 
For the majority of people, 400mg of caffeine per day is considered moderate consumption – this equates to around four to five cups of coffee. This will depend on the size and strength of the serving and it’s important to remember that caffeine can be found in other foodstuffs, such as tea, cola and chocolate. For pregnant women, the NHS recommends a safe upper limit of 200mg of caffeine per day from all sources – approximately two to three cups of coffee or equivalent 5.
 
References
 

1. ICM market research, data on file, April 2009.
2. Liebermann, H.R. Caffeine. In: Smith, A.P. and Jones, D.M. (Eds.), Handbook of Human Performance, vol. 2. Academic Press, London, pp. 49-72, 1992.
3. Sicard, B.A. et al. Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine, 67, 859-862, 1996.
4. Green, P.J. and Suls, J. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 19, 111-128, 1996.
5. NHS Choices.