In the future, when asked about my thoughts about a specific food or beverage, I’m going try to respond with the question “compared to what?”.

Someone recently asked me what I thought about coffee. I didn’t answer with the question “compared to what?”, but I should have.

When compared to cow’s milk, soda and alcoholic beverages, I have a favorable outlook on coffee, but when compared to water, not so much.

Because of my wholistic view of nutrition, I don’t really like answering questions about specific nutrients or foods., but I’ll make an exception with coffee due to its tremendous popularity in the US and throughout the world.

Thoughts on Coffee

If your diet is dominated by fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans and includes one or two reasonably sized cups of coffee per day, it probably is not a problem.

I don’t drink coffee, so I’m not familiar with the different types and sizes that are sold. However I do know that a daily Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuchino from Starbucks is a bad idea. If you drink a standard sized cup (in the US that would be a 6 to 10 oz. size) and you add a plant based milk and little or no sugar, you likely will not sabotage your healthy WFPD diet. Click here for Dr. Tom Campbell’s thoughts on plant milks.


Back in 2013 I wrote an article about a study involving regular coffee and decaffeinated coffee that led Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn to add caffeine to his list of substances/foods for his cardiac patients to avoid.  This article prompted a reader named Graham to write

It looks like Dr. Esselstyn may be overdoing it here. He has been following his patients for 25 years or so without eliminating coffee. If it hasn’t adversely affected his patients in that time, how could it possibly have a significant effect?

Another, earlier study that appears more comprehensive, suggests simply removing cafestol, an oil compound in coffee, using a paper filter eliminates what can cause the cholesterol level to increase.”

Coffee contains much more than Caffeine and Cafestol

Someone who looks at nutrition through a reductionist lens would look at the various research on cafestol and caffeine.  That does not interest me nearly as much as the research on coffee.

Coffee, like any plant food, is extremely complex chemically. It contains many compounds that may have synergistic effects on health.

Institute for Science Information on Coffee (ISIC)

The ISIC is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1990, devoted to the study and disclosure of science related to coffee and health.  ISIC members are six of the major European coffee companies: illycaffè, Jacobs Douwe EgbertsLavazza, Nestlé, Paulig,  and Tchibo.

You’re probably thinking what I initially assumed about the ISIC – that it would only publish study results favorable to coffee.  But that is not the case.  The ISIC shares information on study results regardless if they reflect favorably or unfavorably towards coffee consumption.

It appears the preponderance of evidence we have on the health effects of coffee consumption is leaning towards the positive.

The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) and Good News About Coffee

The AICR is a research organization that focuses on the link between diet and cancer and educates the public on cutting edge research.

The link between coffee and cancer has been extensively studied.  The AICR reports that regular coffee drinking PROBABLY lowers the risk of liver and endometrial cancers.

Lenore Arab, an epidemiologist at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) states:

There is a tremendous amount of evidence out there on coffee and cancer risk and now the research is consistent and clear… showing coffee is not a risk for most of the cancers studied.”

The AICR recently published an article entitled “ Coffee Links to Longer Life”. In it, the AICR makes a strong case for coffee providing health benefits to many ethnicities and races.

This is good news for me because all of my siblings consume coffee. It’s nice to know that their coffee is probably not doing them harm and may even be protecting them from some chronic diseases.

Making a cup of coffee is just soaking a powdered seed in some water, so we shouldn’t be surprised that coffee can help reduce the risk of disease

Where does America Rank in Coffee Consumption?

With a Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts seemingly on every corner, you’d think that America would crack the top ten in coffee consumption per capita.  However, America doesn’t even crack the top twenty. America ranks 22nd in the world in per capita coffee consumption, slightly behind Canada which comes in at # 19.

I won’t reveal the # 1 country in per capita coffee consumption. You can google it yourself.  I’m finnish writing for now.

Stay Healthy and Strong


  1. Rare now are those who drink coffee, black, without cream, flavoring, sugar or syrups. A nurse described the most common coffee prep as warm, liquified, coffee ice cream in a mega portion.

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