Coffee: Truths and Myths

In many developed countries, the 80% – 90% of the population drinks coffee every day. This makes caffeine the world’s most widely consumed substance.


Coffee contains more than 2000 ingredients! The majority of them are carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, various acids, metal salts, and caffeine. Caffeine is the substance that affects human body.

Much has been said about coffee consumption. There have been many studies that came to different results, sometimes supporting coffee consumption, other times being against it. This variation depends on the specific component being studied every time, the age of the persons involved in studies, the daily coffee intake, the use of alcohol, meds and tobacco.

Caffeine effects

Caffeine affects the brain and is a central nervous system stimulant. It increases alertness and improves mental performance in reasonable quantities. Furthermore it helps against sleepiness but only for a short while. Additionally, caffeine is diuretic. Since it can cause thermogenesis (body heat loss – energy loss that boost the metabolism) it has been used in various slimming products.


Does coffee consumption fatten?

Coffee itself does not contain calories. Calories can be taken if you add sugar, milk, whipped cream, syrup or ice cream.

Beverage Calories
Greek coffee black 0
Instant Nescafe  black 0
French-press coffee black 0
Espresso 0
Cappuccino with cream 160
Cappuccino with whipped cream 333
Freddo espresso 100
Freddo cappuccino 160
Freddoccino espresso 330
Mochaccino espresso 400
Coffee with alcohol 400

Are there any negative side effects in drinking coffee?

Drinking coffee very often has many side effects. 14 negative effects of high caffeine consumption:

1) It can cause dehydration due to its diuretic action.

2) It can cause temporary blood pressure increase.

3) It can cause anxiety and restlessness.

4) It can cause headache.

5) It can degrease calcium from bones through urine.

6) It can cause depression.

7) It can cause menstrual disorders.

8) It can affect patients’ psychological disorders since it increases feelings of panic, anxiety and worry.

9) In case of drinking over 75 cups / day, it can cause poisoning which can lead to fatal coma.

10) It can deteriorate any gastrointestinal problems

11) Caffeine interacts with various drugs, affecting their absorption.

12) Extravagant caffeine consumption may increase the risk of newborn’s dementia immediately after birth

13) It can cause irritability and insomnia to the infant during lactation

14) It  can increase blood sugar and cholesterol in obese and diabetic people.


Daily caffeine consumption

Caffeine is not necessary to human organism. Its effects are different among people and therefore the tolerate consumption to avoid side effect is different.

However, moderate coffee consumption does not cause any health risk. 250 mg of caffeine per day is a moderate amount to the human body. More than 315 mg of caffeine per day are considered extravagant. This means that we can consume up to 3 cups of coffee per day.

The following table lists the caffeine quantities contained in various

One cup of the following beverage contains:

  • Filter coffee: 80 -115 mg
  • Instant coffee: 65 mg
  • Black tea: 40 – 60 mg
  • Cocoa: 4 mg
  • Beverage cans: 35 – 60 mg

Sudden caffeine disruption may cause many problems such as headaches, dizziness, sleepiness, irritability, nausea and vomiting. For these reasons caffeine disruption should be done gradually to avoid withdrawal syndrome.

Christina Mpalamoti MSc,  AthensTrainers® Associate