7 Popular Coffee Myths: What’s True & What’s False?
Myth #1: Coffee always causes stress
It is widely believed that due to it being a stimulant, coffee always sends your body into a state of heightened stress (aka why you feel more awake when you indulge in a cup). However, according to research conducted by Seoul National University in South Korea (as discussed by The Washington Post), smelling the aroma of coffee beans and/or grounds can actually relieve stress. In their study, researchers exposed sleep-deprived rats to the aromas of roasted coffee beans. They focused on 11 different genes within the rats, and found that smelling the aromas increased the activity of some genes and decreased the activity of others, all resulting in lowered stress levels.
Myth #2: Coffee causes insomnia
False (Depending on when you drink it that is)
If you’re waking up in the morning and enjoying a cup or two of coffee, going coffee free for the rest of the day after that, and then experiencing difficulty when it’s time to go to sleep – your cup of Joe is not to blame. Caffeine is absorbed into the blood stream almost immediately, and is entirely out of your system after 8 hours, maximum. Therefore, unless you’re ordering a Venti drip coffee at 6PM, your sleepless nights are likely not rooted in your coffee indulgences.
Myth #3: Coffee flushes you out (think #1 and #2)
In terms of urinating, coffee (caffeine) is a mild diuretic, which means it causes you to lose water. This explains why most people have to pee soon after they drink a cup of coffee (similar to the effects of alcohol). Additionally, lets not be coy: coffee makes most people poop, but why? Researchers are a bit unclear as to why coffee is directly correlated to increased bowel movements as extensive studies on the matter have yet to be conducted. Scientists do however have some generalized findings that could help explain the phenomenon: Coffee may cause something called peristalsis, which is the typical relaxation and contraction of the colon when producing a bowel movement. By speeding up this process, the colon therefore has less time to reabsorb the water within the stool, which explains why most coffee-induced bowel movements are “looser “in nature.
Myth #4: Coffee is bad for your health
False, false and more false!
From fighting against cancer to providing protection for vital organs, read our blog on 8 awesome health benefits of coffee, here.
Myth #5: Caffeine is extremely addictive
Most of us have experience the “caffeine headache” and have chalked it up to our “caffeine addiction”, curing it with a cup of Joe. Addiction however, is classified as the completely irresistible need for a substance, and the experience of extreme discomfort with a wide variety of physical and possibly even mental symptoms without it. Caffeine is not only easy to resist, but the possible symptoms of withdrawal are mild, limited to headaches and lethargy. Therefore, while you can develop a caffeine “dependence”, it is not technically regarded by scientists as actually being addictive.
Myth #6: Coffee helps with hangovers
If you’ve ever woken up with a massive hangover and the need to be productive that day, then you’ve likely turned to coffee for assistance. We say false “ish” because it is true that the caffeine found in coffee can definitely help you to become more alert and even slightly increase your motor functions (which are depressed during a hangover), that being said however, it is more likely to prolong your terrible state than it is to alleviate it. As previously stated, coffee is a diuretic, meaning it flushes you of liquids (Layman’s terms: it dehydrates you). Hangovers are caused by a variety of things, but one of the main components is extreme dehydration. Therefore, drinking something that will flush you of even more fluids and only further dehydrate you, will likely only perpetuate your hangover and the symptoms you’re feeling.
Myth #7: Coffee can help to sober you up faster
In a study published in the Journal of Behavioral Neuroscience, researchers performed an experiment on mice, feeding them a sufficient amount of alcohol followed by a sufficient amount of coffee in order to test its “sobering” effects. After both the alcohol and coffee were ingested, the researchers had the mice perform the task of working through a maze. While the coffee did appear to make the mice more alert than they had proven to be pre-coffee, they still had a great deal of trouble navigating the maze as compared to the other, untainted group of mice. The takeaway? While coffee might make you feel more “with it” the fact of the matter is that you’re not, and only time will make you sober.