If you still think that coffee is bad for you—that it’ll hurt your heart, give you diabetes, and beat up your grandma—it’s time to update your thinking.
Yes, many scientists in the 1970s and 1980s feared that coffee could cause health problems, but that was before the research community came to a deeper, richer understanding about antioxidants—compounds that can prevent or delay cell damage.
Brewed black coffee is chock full of antioxidants, and its studied benefits go far beyond disease prevention. Coffee may enhance awareness, prevent kidney stones, improve memory, turbocharge your workout, boost your mood, and even block gum inflammation and thereby decrease your risk of tooth loss.
Okay, but does the Coffee Diet actually work?
First off, when it comes to diets, “work” is a tricky word.
Maybe your friend goes on the Coffee Diet and they lose 20 pounds and they feel amazing and they won’t shut up about the plan.
But though the Coffee Diet has worked for your friend and Dr. Bob, their experiences are anecdotal. In order for a diet to “work,” scientists have to conduct double-blind placebo-controlled dietary intervention studies, which is a phrase that is almost guaranteed to put you to sleep, but it’s the only type of study science has to determine the effectiveness of a diet plan.
And, guess what? Most diets fail those dietary intervention studies or are so new that they don’t have any scientific research behind them.
Get this: A 2017 study reviewed the results of 25 weight loss programs and found that “commercial weight-loss programs frequently fail to produce modest but clinically meaningful weight loss with high rates of attrition suggesting that many consumers find dietary changes required by these programs unsustainable.”
Drinking three cups of coffee daily isn’t a chore, but sticking to a calorie limit of 1,500? Now that’s difficult, especially considering that the USDA currently recommends double that for the average active 19 to 35-year-old male (it’s 2,800 calories for men ages 36 to 55).
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