The Pros & Cons of Drinking Coffee

Diet & Nutrition -

The Pros & Cons of Drinking Coffee

Many of us rely on coffee to get us going in the morning and provide a 'pick me up' type boost throughout the day.

There have been a lot of studies on coffee, with differing views in some cases as to it's pros and cons in terms of our health.

What Happens In Our Body When We Drink Coffee?
Coffee contains caffeine, a stimulant that acts on the central nervous system. Caffeine gives us a feeling of increased alertness and a short-lived energy boost.

Scientific studies seem to indicate maximum alertness is gained from just two cups of coffee a day. The liver metabolises caffeine and excretes the contents via urination.

Woman drinking coffee from a mug

My personal selection of health related pros and cons related to coffee are:


  • Temporary increase in alertness and energy levels
  • Some studies suggest caffeine may help lower the risk of type 2 diabetes, dementia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, stroke, depression and multiple forms of cancer
  • Contains antioxidants and some essential nutrients (a little higher in lightly roasted coffee)
  • May help protect against cirrhosis of the liver
  • There is some evidence coffee provides a small boost to the metabolism, and therefore potentially burning fat


  • Can increase blood pressure
  • May promote some level of blood sugar irregularities
  • Adrenaline levels could drop if drinking more than a couple of cups a day, causing fatigue, hunger and potential cravings sugary/high carb foods.
  • Drinking too much can destroy important nutrients from your regular diet being fully absorbed
  • A chemical in coffee named benzoic acid can have an adverse effect on the firmness of skin if too many caffeinated drinks are consumed
  • Tannins found in coffee (and tea) can adversely affect digestion of protein from the diet, especially if drank at mealtimes. Excessive intake may lead to anaemia.
  • Drinking  with meals can wash saliva away from the mouth (needed to provide important digestive enzymes)
  • Over time, more and more coffee is needed to provide the same positive effects. Excessive coffee drinking may ultimately lead to symptoms such as depression, weight gain, memory loss and exhaustion
  • Decaffeinated coffee still contain stimulants (although they are not as strong as regular coffee)

Coffee berries growing on branches
Is coffee dehydrating?
Generally, there appears to be mixed evidence on this. In summary, drinking one to four cups a day seems to produce a mild diuretic effect (increases urine output and the urge ‘to go’).

A good way to know if you might be dehydrated is to roughly monitor your output of urine and it’s colour. If you are regularly going to the toilet to urinate, in combination with a large volume of liquid, which appears to be a mid to dark yellow shade, then it is likely you are dehydrated and need to increase you intake of hydrating fluids.

In conclusion
Drinking two or three cups of coffee a day (ideally the fresher, higher quality varieties that are roasted to order by high quality suppliers) to maximise health benefits (whist negating many of the negatives from drinking too much a day) is likely to be fairly safe for most of us when incorporated into an otherwise healthy, balanced diet.

Always check with a qualified health practitioner if you have any doubts in relation to any particular health issues.