Risks of Coffee

There is an on-going debate about advantages and disadvantages of coffee impact on the human health. Many people know of some of its benefits, such as positive effects on energy and cognition, as well as reduced risk of Parkinson’s disease and diabetes. However, there are several risks associated with coffee consumption. This essay discusses the threats of coffee for human health, such as digestive disorders, heartburn, peristalsis, digestive system inflammation, increase of stress level, and general contribution to mortality risk.

Many Americans start their day with drinking coffee. According to the researches such ritual is considered to be harmful for the digestive system as drinking coffee on an empty stomach leads to the production of hydrochloric acid which is used to digest food. Excess in its production disrupts digestion, possibly causing a range of outcomes, “from bloating and gas to IBS, diverticulitis and even colon cancer” (Dillan). In addition, coffee can irritate mucous membrane of intestines and intensify the problems of patients suffering from ulcers and gastritis. However, it has not been proven that coffee can actually cause these conditions.

Coffee is also believed to contribute to heartburn since it is relaxing the esophageal sphincter which prevents the substances of the stomach from returning to the esophagus and irritating its membrane with acid. Coffee can provoke peristaltic movements of the intestines which usually signal people when they need to go to the bathroom. Therefore, stomach emptying occurs more often. As a result, sometimes the food may have no time to be properly digested and provide body with necessary nutrients. In addition, such incompletely digested food may increase the risk of inflammations in the digestive systems. Scholars argue that even decaf can cause heartburn and peristalsis for some patients.

The most enthusiastic coffee drinkers are more subjected to risks than regular ones. The Aerobic Center Longitudinal Study has estimated that those people who drink more that 4 cups of coffee a day have “a 21% higher risk of mortality as a result of death from all causes”, compared with those who drink fewer than 4 cups of coffee a day (Whiteman). Furthermore, this risk is estimated at 50% for people over 55 who consume more than 4 coffee cups a day. Another factor that increases the risk is smoking. Studies show that heavy coffee drinkers are more likely to smoke than regular coffee drinkers.

However, other studies point that drinking higher amounts of coffee also has some benefits. For example, the American Cancer Society has reported that people who consume more than four cups a day are less vulnerable to mouth and throat cancer. Harvard School of Public Health studied the effects of coffee on mental health and estimated that revealed drinking two to four cups a day may decrease the possibility of committing suicide by 50% (Whiteman). In contrast, other researchers argue that coffee stimulates production of the stress hormones, such as epinephrine and cortisol. These compounds are believed to increase your body’s heart rate, blood pressure and tension levels (Dillan).

To conclude, drinking coffee may contribute to various digestive problems, stress, and increase the rate of mortality. However, the effects of coffee have not been fully studied and there are many advantages of this beverage. It is possible that effect from coffee could serve as a circumstantial factor for different conditions. For example, the fact that most of heavy coffee drinkers are smokers indicates that there may be more aspects that can interplay. Nevertheless, it is highly recommended to refrain from excessive coffee consumption.