Crazy For Coffee
It’s no secret that I enjoy my daily cup of java and I’m often asked about coffee and its effects on our health.
It will come as no surprise to learn that there’s some confusion about coffee. Depending on who you speak to, it's hailed as both the devil’s spawn and a miracle cure-all. So here’s the lowdown on the true nature of coffee. The good, the bad and the ugly:
Cafetiere 120mg caffeine
Unfiltered coffee, such as cafetiere coffee (made in a plunger or French press), contains a type of fatty residue called cafestol, which is a potent cholesterol-raising chemical. A study published in the British Medical Journal found drinking 900ml (about four mugs) of strong cafetiere coffee a day raised artery-clogging, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol by 9 to 14 per cent.
This fatty residue can be reduced or eliminated by changing how you drink it. Filtering coffee removes cafestol and a review in the American Journal Of Epidemiology found high consumption of the filtered brew had no negative effects on blood cholesterol. However, this coffee is the highest in caffeine, at 160mg, so it’s best not to overdo it.
Espresso 75mg caffeine
For such a tiny cup, this contains a lot of caffeine. It's fine in moderation, but if you're drinking several double or triple espressos a day, then it’s time to slow down, as caffeine and stress combined can raise blood pressure. One espresso contains about a third to a half the amount of cholesterol-raising cafestol in a mug of cafetiere coffee.
Latte 75mg caffeine, 95 calories, 3.5g fat
This is an espresso with lots of added milk. A small latte supplies 30 per cent of the recommended daily amount of bone-building calcium. Choose this to curb your appetite mid-morning as it’s also a source of satiating protein. Save 30 calories by using skimmed milk.
Instant 100mg caffeine
These soluble granules don’t contain the fatty cafestol substance that is found in freshly-ground coffee, so there is no risk to heart health. There is also less caffeine in instant coffee.
Decaf Negligible caffeine
A US study of 28,000 women found drinking more than six cups of decaf coffee a day was linked with a lower risk of diabetes compared with no coffee. Coffee contains a number of phytochemicals, which researchers suggest could protect the cells that produce insulin in the pancreas. It's caffeine which counteracts this beneficial effect.
Cappuccino 80 calories, about 75mg caffeine (with semi skimmed milk)
A cappuccino is made with a shot of espresso coffee, about the same amount of hot milk and is topped up with milk froth. There’s about a quarter of the recommended daily allowance of calcium per serving. Extra chocolate on top makes it slightly less healthy than a latte.