Health Effects of Coffee

Health Effects of Coffee

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“I’ve been treating eating disorders (ED’s) and obesity for nearly 25 years and have always had good outcomes. My rate of success improved dramatically, however, when I discovered the critical role that processed food plays in causing as well as in preventing recovery from Anorexia, Bulimia, Bulimarexia, (a combination of the two) Binge Eating Disorder (BED,) Emotional Eating and Obesity. To this end, I find it of great importance to provide both my patients and readers with relevant nutrition information to aid in their recovery. You can view all my Nutrition, Fitness, and Health articles here.

This year coffee consumption in the United States has jumped ahead of soft drink consumption by more than 10%. The United States imports 35% of the world coffee bean supply to keep up with our consumption of over 400 million cups of coffee per day OR 4500 cups of coffee per second. The increasing popularity of coffee shows no sign of stopping; in 2010 56% of Americans consumed coffee, now in 2012 64% of Americans enjoy the beverage. How healthy is it to consume that much coffee? How are coffee bean farmers keeping up to our demand?

Up until 30 years ago, coffee beans were traditionally grown in shady, tropical, bio diverse environments. As demand began to increase, farmers had to find methods of increasing yield. This is where scientists stepped in to lend a hand. A fancy, new variety of coffee bean plant was developed that had the potential to produce more than three times more coffee beans. Problem solved, right? Not so fast. There was one major requirement that these plants needed to thrive, a sunny environment. Farmers were strongly encouraged USAID and other international development agencies to clear their land of rainforest plants that previously provided shade and begin to exclusively use the new sun-tolerant coffee bean plants.

Since sun-tolerant coffee bean plants were introduced, coffee bean plants have become one the most heavily chemically-treated crops of ANY agricultural commodity. When farmers cleared their land to create ideal growing conditions for the sun-tolerant plants their soil quality became extremely poor, resulting in the introduction of chemical fertilizers to promote plant growth. According to the CS Monitor, more than 250 pounds of fertilizer is used per acre of land. The new full-sun growing environment resulted in an increase in insects, weeds, fungus, pests, resulting in the introduction of an insane amount of pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and insecticides. What effects do these chemicals have on our health?

When pesticides are applied to any crop, they are applied in a fat-soluble base, so that they won’t wash off of the plants. Fat-solubility makes these chemical extremely difficult for the body to eliminate. If the body does not have enough resources to break the fat-soluble substance into a water-soluble substance, it moves the toxins into stored body fat until resources are available. As we consume more and more toxins, our bodies are forced to create more fat to store the toxins in. This especially becomes an issue for people that participate in physical exercise. When we exercise, our body dips into our stored body fat for energy, forcing our body to process the toxins in the fat without the right nutrients to do so. This results in scarring or cirrhosis of the liver.

Does this mean we should eliminate coffee from our diets altogether? Not necessarily. Should we avoid non-organic coffee? Most definitely. There are a small amount of organic coffee bean farmers that still use the shade-tolerant variety of plants. As of 2003, organic coffee only represented 0.6% of coffee consumption in the major coffee consuming countries. Starbucks has introduced some organic coffee blends, but at this point it only accounts for 2.3% of the beans they purchase and sell.

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Medical Advice Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. Reading the information on this website does not create a physician-patient relationship.

© 2012, Dr J Renae Norton. This information is intellectual property of Dr J Renae Norton. Reproduction and distribution for educational purposes is permissible. Please credit ‘© 2012, Dr J Renae Norton. //’

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