Is It Time to Quit Coffee?

I’ve written a lot on a healthy lifestyle and exercise, and only a little on nutrition. Since diet and nutrition are an important component in a healthy lifestyle, and while “Stop Eating Crap” is sound advice it doesn’t really do the topic justice. I think maybe it’s time to rectify that.

Let’s start with coffee, and why you should quit. Ha ha, just kidding, you absolutely, positively should NOT quit drinking coffee.

Wait, wut? But Andrew, I keep hearing how coffee is bad, and I should quit drinking it.


“Coffee is a slow poison.”

“It must be, I’ve been drinking it for 80 years.”

I first heard the quip attributed to Voltaire, on the event of his 84th birthday. In order to write this piece I went to quote investigator. The joke has been attributed to both Voltaire and Fontenelle, in various forms. No firm source has been established, but the point remains, if coffee is killing you slowly, by 80 years old, it’s killing you very slowly.

Heck, dad just turned 88, and he has several cups a day. It might even have been he, who got me started on my coffee habit.

Anyway, jokes and anecdotes aside, the question remains; should you quit coffee? Let’s go to the actual science. According to the British Medical Journal, “Drinking coffee was consistently associated with a lower risk of death from all causes…” Let me bold that:

Drinking coffee was consistently associated with a lower risk of death from all causes…

Diving down into the specifics, the lowered risk peaked with three cups per day. Anything beyond that marginally reduced the beneficial effects, but didn’t cause any harm.

So, besides the generic “from all causes,” what did coffee specifically help with? Lowered risk of

  • Heart disease
  • Certain cancers (prostate, skin and liver)
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Gallstones
  • Gout
  • Depression
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Liver diseases, including cirrhosis and fibrosis

Now there is a laundry list of goodness.

In addition to reducing the risk of death and a plethora of diseases, coffee is an excellent source of antioxidants. We desire antioxidants in our diets to help prevent the cellular damage done by free radicals, damage suspected to lead to (among other things) certain cancers and Alzheimer’s. Which, coincidentally enough, are right up there on that list. But I digress.

Coffee contains a number of powerful antioxidants and is, in fact, the number one source of antioxidants in the North American diet. So, imagine if you would, that someone invented a pill that could:

  • Lower your risk of death from all causes?
  • Reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, heart disease, cancer, diabetes and liver disease?
  • Provide your largest dietary source of antioxidants?
  • Be sold at the grocery store without requiring a doctor’s appointment or prescription?
  • When ground up and mixed with hot water provided a simply delicious beverage?

Well, now you can imagine it. It’s called the coffee bean.

So, you’re thinking of quitting coffee? Why?

  • If it’s for your health, then not only no, but Heck No, don’t do it.
  • If coffee gives you digestive problems, then yes, time to consider giving it up.
  • And if you’re thinking of quitting coffee because you think it doesn’t taste good, well then I can’t help you. What I can do is head to the pot for another cup of hot, delicious health and longevity.