The Truth About Coffee

How to brew a great cup of coffee at home -- and save money, too. Ray Isle of Food & Wine will show us a few tricks. (Pretape / Producer: Brendan Conway) IStockPhoto

Nothing like the smell of coffee to start off the day!

With so many studies out there about coffee, it's hard to remember whether our morning cup of Joe does the body any good -- or harm.

On The Early Show Monday, Dr. Holly Phillips of CBS station WCBS-TV in New York went through some commonly-circulated beliefs about the health effects of one of the nation's most popular beverages.

IS COFFEE GOOD FOR YOU?

Well, I would have to say, all things in moderation. There do definitely seem to be some health benefits. The more we're learning, research is leaning on the side of it being good for you. It lowers the risk of Parkinson's disease and Type 2 diabetes. It mediates depression. But the benefits are dose-related.

SHOULD CHILDREN BE DRINKING COFFEE?

It's better to limit their caffeine intake. They'll get caffeine in other things -- chocolate, sodas, but particularly in kids, it's linked to attention problems and hyperactivity, so it's better to avoid it.

COFFEE IS DEHYDRATING. TRUE OR FALSE?

It depends on the dose. We think of coffee as a diuretic. But recent studies have shown it's only a diuretic at high doses -- above 575 milligrams. Have some water if you exceed that amount.

HOW MUCH IS THAT?

575 milligrams is a little less than three cups of coffee, but that's three regular size cups. But we have to remember the cups we have nowadays are big cups. So, it's easy to have more than 575 milligrams.

COFFEE INCREASES HYPERTENSION. TRUE OR FALSE?

Coffee does increase your blood pressure, but only for a few minutes. What's interesting is that recent studies show it doesn't increase your likelihood of getting hypertension. I would caution that anyone who has high blood pressure that's not under control should avoid caffeine.

COFFEE HELPS WEIGHT LOSS

Unfortunately, this doesn't work. Caffeine does speed up your metabolism for awhile but, in long-term studies, people who drank coffee had no better weight control than people who didn't.

DOES COFFEE ACCELERATE BONE LOSS?

This one is a little controversial. It doesn't make our body lose more calcium or lose calcium from the bones, but some studies have shown coffee drinkers do have more brittle bones. I suggest all of my patients, especially women, supplement with a calcium supplement or, if you're going to have a great deal of coffee, make sure you put some milk in your coffee.
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