Jan 17, 2019 in Health

Is Coffee Good or Bad on People's Health


In the book “Coffee Culture,” Catherine M. Tucker (2011), points out how the coffee has been suspected to have an influence in almost every kind of diseases. These illnesses include heart diseases, hypertension, cancer, problems associated with reproduction and high levels of cholesterol. Tucker notes that there are recent studies which point out the advantages of coffee associated with nutrition and their ability to decrease the risk of some diseases. The glaring controversy on caffeine and coffee’s impact on human health is mentioned. This essay seeks to analyze the Tucker’s discussion of the complications that has made the comprehension of coffee difficult, and the risks and benefits of this beverage on human health in a bid to clear the controversy surrounding the impact of coffee. This will be aided by the perspective developed in an article by Stern (2014), “Is coffee good or bad for your health.” These two articles offer detailed information on the risks, benefits and challenges of coffee study. This paper will discuss the similarities and differences of the information provided in the articles. 


In the introductory part of Tucker’s discussion, she states that with the confusing medical information available on the use of caffeine and coffee is the major factor why most people in the modern society are unsure of the intake is actually beneficial or dangerous to human health. Tucker continues the discussion by saying that what is now known and was not even clear in the past twenty years is that the research on the impact of coffee on human health poses several challenges in the field of medical science. 

The other sections of the discussion highlight on the on the challenges experienced in the research on the coffee’s impact on human health such as chemical complexity, differences experienced in personal physiological sensitivity and the ineffective study designs. The evidence of coffee’s contribution to some illnesses and complications and information on the reduction of the risks of particular illnesses is also discussed. The discussion is based on numerous recent researches. In the conclusion, Tucker points out that there is still a lot of information that is not available on the coffee’s impact on the human physiology. She continues to state that if the consumption of coffee elicits a good feeling in an individual, they should continue with their consumption as long as they do not belong to the high-risk category of people.

Challenges in the study of Coffee’s impact on health

Tucker states that the chemical complexity of coffee has made it difficult to carry out effective and more informative studies on coffee (Tucker, 2011). Most medical studies have only highlighted the caffeine component of coffee which is just one pharmacologically active ingredient of coffee and ignored other ingredients of coffee. Stern, the writer of the article “Is coffee good or bad for your health,” utilizes a research study example conducted by Robert Van Dam explaining the advantages of the stimulant on the amounts of blood sugar. In this study, she also points out the challenges of coffee’s study due to its chemical complexity. Caffeinated and decaffeinated types of coffee were analyzed and the findings were the same. The research study suggestions could not identify the exact composition of the stimulant except caffeine responsible for the study results. 

However, Tucker identifies other challenges. She pointed out are the differences in personal physiology sensitivity. Scientists have insufficient information on the variability of the responses. Some people can tolerate caffeine while a small population is sensitive and allergic to caffeine. Responses to caffeine also vary in introverts and extroverts depending on the dose. These variations of responses to caffeine and other components of coffee may be vital in the determination of individual benefits or risks of coffee consumption. Tucker points out that the study designs are unavailable for research on the variations in responses and the different components of coffee.

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Evidence that Coffee Contributes to Certain Diseases and Problems

Another point for analysis is the proof that coffee influences the occurrence of illnesses and problems. Tucker specifically points out the issues related to reproductive health. There are studies of abortive effects if coffee is consumed in large quantities and inability of conception. Similarly, Stern states that there are negative human health impacts caused by the consumption of the coffee stimulant. Stern uses a study by van Dam that proposes that during pregnancy, there should be a restraint of caffeine intake since the fetuses tend to be sensitive to the stimulant (Stern, 2014).  

Tucker also points out studies that coffee has psychological effects. She utilizes studies to point out that coffee cause restlessness, nervousness and anxiety in children. Stern explains the effect of caffeine on depression. She states that caffeine increases dopamine, a neurotransmitter, an activity which is significantly responsible for the stimulation impact of caffeine and its ability to decrease the depressive emotions. Stern explains that caffeine awakens the brain, aiding an individual to carry out their daily activities and after the effect of caffeine diminishes, there is a depressive impact on one’s mood. Additionally, Stern points out that coffee causes stress. She utilizes the research, published by the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. The study says that the stimulant decreases the blood circulation to the heart. She continues to highlight findings that caffeine can cause heart palpitations, elevate the blood pressure level and stress.

However, according to Tucker, coffee enhances numerous illnesses, particularly in individuals with nutritional deficiencies. An example is that of elderly individuals with Calcium and Vitamin D deficiencies are more susceptible to hip bone fractures if they consume coffee. People who are on iron supplements should not consume coffee since it disrupts the absorption of iron into the blood system (Tucker, 2011). Stern does not mention the effect of caffeine on nutritional deficiencies. 

Evidence that Coffee Decreases the Risk of Certain Illnesses

Another discussion point outlined by Tucker is the demonstration of recent studies on the potential of the stimulant to decline the likelihood of occurrence of a number of illnesses by utilization of recent studies (Tucker, 2011). These illnesses are Type 2 Diabetes, liver cancer, including the Parkinson’s disease. Similarly, according to Stern, there are numerous recent researches that point out that coffee possess a wide range of health advantages. In her discussion, she points out Dr. Peter Martin’s study, which suggests that coffee has actually been determined to decrease the risk of numerous familiar medical diseases- the most significant being type II Diabetes. Other illnesses are neurodegenerative diseases, which include Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.

According to Tucker, these findings were unforeseen and as a result, numerous studies have been carried out to determine the interaction of the physiological processes with the above mentioned illnesses. The risks of occurrence of type 2 Diabetes in numerous researches tend to decrease as the quantities of coffee consumed increases. These study results are more common, particularly with the regular intake of the filtered kind of the stimulant in large quantities. Stern also points out that a review of nine research studies suggested that daily consumption of four to six coffee cups against two or less, their likelihood of having Type 2 Diabetes reduced by approximately 30 percent. Relatively the incidences reduced by 35 percent when the coffee intake is higher than six cups daily. However, Stern seeks to offer an explanation to this connection between diabetes and coffee by utilizing a 2003 research in the Journal of Nutrition. There are findings of the presence a white powder with a bitter taste known as dicinnamoylquinide formed over coffee roasting which is probably responsible for the association. The scientists indicated that this chemical compound attached to and subsequently weakened the function of particular brain protein receptors, thereby promoting the insulin activity in rats and reducing their Type 2 Diabetes risk (Stern, 2014). Additionally, in both, there is information on showing that consistent intake of coffee decreases the Parkinson’s disease risk.

However, Tucker highlights the effect of coffee on cancers, especially the liver cancer. She states that the research studies show that with the elevation of the level of coffee intake, the likelihood of occurrence of liver cirrhosis and cancer tend to fall. It is hypothesized that coffee has an impact on the liver’s chemical processes to decrease the harm caused by alcohol intake, hepatitis and other influences. Recent researches also highlight that coffee consists of antioxidants, which offer a protective impact against particular cancers and illnesses. These antioxidants are important since they shield individuals from liver cancers and probably other types of cancers. In contrast to Tucker, Stern mentions suicide among these illnesses.


This essay analyzed the book “Coffee Culture,” by Catherine M. Tucker. Tucker insists that the chemical complexity of coffee is responsible for the difficulties experienced in conducting effective coffee studies. She points out differences in personal physiology sensitivity and the flaws of study designs as obstacles too. Tucker continues to analyze the influences of coffee on the occurrence of particular illnesses and problems. The issues related to reproductive health such as the abortive effects of coffee when consumed in large quantities and inability of conception. She also points out association of coffee with restlessness, nervousness and anxiety in children. The coffee’s enhancement of several illnesses, particularly in individuals with nutritional deficiencies is also pointed out. Tucker also provides a demonstration of recent studies on the possibility of coffee, reducing the risk of some illnesses, particularly liver cancer, Parkinson’s disease and the type II Diabetes. 

However, after analyzing Tucker’s book, it is sensible to offer a suggestion that the physical and mental effects of coffee should be analyzed more as a whole. Probably instead of focusing concentration only on the effects of caffeine, Tucker, other analysts such as Stern and the researchers in general should also shift focus on the other components of coffee apart from caffeine. Perhaps, the utilization of this approach will resolve the controversies surrounding the stimulant. 


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