Since coffee is now a potential suspect in my health, weight, and medical problems, I’ve been doing a lot of research on the subject and have set up a few experiments to try. For more details on why coffee is a suspect, see the above link.
Background: Prior to 2013, I didn’t drink coffee at all. That fall, I would occasionally get a chocolate coffee drink while at a cafe write-in with friends. For Christmas that year, Jason got me a Keurig. I began drinking coffee a couple times a week, highly diluted with milk and homemade chocolate sauce. By the end of April 2014, I was drinking a small cup of chocolate-coffee each morning. But in May that year, because of Whole30, I cut the milk and chocolate from my coffee and began to drink it black. Since then, I’ve either had my coffee black or with just cream (no sugar), and I drink far more than a single small cup daily, with a few exceptions over the years of cutting back to once a day for a month or two.
A sampling of things I learned during my research:
- For most people, coffee is anti-inflammatory, which makes it an unlikely candidate to cause inflammation unless I have a particular sensitivity to it.
- However, newer studies have correlated coffee amount with increased inflammatory blood markers in women, and more research needs to be done.
- For people who already struggle with metabolic problems, studies have shown that caffeine can cause blood sugar instability. (Personally, I cannot drink coffee in the late morning, or I will have a hypoglycemia attack within half an hour. It’s been that way since 2015.)
- Hot coffee and cold-brewed coffee are very different products, mostly because there is far more acidity in hot coffee, and said acidity can cause gut flora problems in sensitive individuals.
- Coffee and/or the heat of hot coffee can become a hot flash trigger in peri-menopausal and menopausal women.
- Most people don’t weigh their coffee beans and so usually end up getting more caffeine than recommended per cup. (I weighed mine just to see, and it turns out I’m getting LESS.)
Experiments: (Not necessarily in this order.)
1) Replace morning hot coffee with iced coffee. Reason: After drinking hot coffee in the morning, I experience a hormone and body temp shift that causes me to feel overheated, accompanied by lots of sweating. It’s not a hot flash, but it’s still unpleasant. Research suggests that this is a reaction to caffeine overdose, but since it doesn’t happen any other time, I suspect it’s the result of the heat itself and want to check my suspicions by drinking iced coffee in the morning instead.
2) Replace all coffee with cold-brewed coffee for several weeks. Reason: Because the acidity in brewed coffee can cause problems with gut flora, it stands to reason that several weeks with cold-brew coffee only can help determine if the hot coffee is causing problems for me personally.
3) Cut coffee to a single cup per day. Reason: In the past, switching to only a single cup per day has correlated with easier weight loss. It’s possible the weight regain and inability to lose are tied to coffee or caffeine, or a particular threshold of either. It’s also possible this is purely coincidental, so it’ll be good to test.
4) Switch from coffee to tea. Reason: If coffee itself is the problem, and not caffeine, switching to a caffeinated tea should show improvement in my symptoms without causing as many withdrawal symptoms as simply cutting coffee. Potential issue: I cannot stand tea.
5) Switch to decaf coffee. Reason: If caffeine is the problem rather than coffee, switching to decaf should eliminate or at least greatly lessen symptoms, and can do so without disrupting my habits/patterns/rituals as much as cutting completely or switching to tea. It can also be done more gradually.
6) Cut coffee and caffeine both out totally. Reason: If none of the above experiments help, or if a partial cut like experiment #3 help a little, it stands to reason that I should cut all coffee and caffeine for at least several weeks to see how my body reacts and changes.