Debunking the Common Myths About Coffee

How much do you really know about your favourite beverage? There are many myths that surround coffee and you’ll be surprised to know that what you may believe as ‘truths’ may well be just ‘fake news’. Here are five common myths about coffee and the truths behind them.

Coffee is Dehydrating

coffee splashing out of a mug
You can relax knowing coffee won’t make you dehydrated. Photo from Annie Spratt.

This is probably one of the biggest myths about coffee. While the caffeine in coffee is a natural diuretic (a substance that helps the body get rid of excess fluid like water and sodium), a standard serving of coffee does not contain enough caffeine to have this effect. If you’re drinking around two to three cups a day, it may have some diuretic effect but it is usually short term.

Even if you’re an avid coffee drinker who averages three cups a day, there’s nothing to worry about. Studies show that you’re likely to develop a tolerance to its diuretic properties and will not experience its effects. As long as you balance off your caffeine intake with the recommended 2 to 3 litres of water a day, your daily coffee won’t cause dehydration.

Coffee Can Cure a Hangover

a plate of sunny side ups, baked beans, pancakes
A hearty breakfast is a much better hangover fix. Photo from Life Of Pix.

We’ve all heard this one! Who else is guilty of instinctively reaching for a cup of coffee the morning after an eventful night?

Truth is, coffee does not cure a hangover as it will not help to sober you up or get rid of the alcohol in your system. It only feels like you’re sobering up because the caffeine in the coffee is helping to make you more alert.

That said, you’re better off sticking to scientifically proven hangover remedies such as having a hearty breakfast to maintain your blood sugar levels, staying hydrated to counter the diuretic effects of alcohol, and getting plenty of sleep to help your body recover.

Coffee is Not Healthy

a drip coffee machine
If you’re worried about your cholesterol levels, opt for filtered coffee which may be slightly better for you. Featuring the De’Longhi Clessidra Pour Over Coffee Maker. Photo from De’Longhi.

Too much of a good thing can’t be good. Right? In coffee’s case, it actually is good.

There is plenty of research that shows coffee is, in fact, packed with health benefits. It has antioxidants, and nutrients and minerals like potassium, niacin and magnesium. Coffee has also been linked to decreasing the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, depression and Alzheimer’s disease.

However, this comes with some caveats — those with high blood pressure and the elderly should watch their intake, and coffee stops being healthy once you add cream, sugar and syrups. So, it’s best to drink in moderation, stick to black coffee, and if you must add milk, use skimmed or reduced-fat.

Research also suggests that filtered coffee may be slightly better for health, especially for older people, as it helps to filter out compounds that can raise cholesterol levels. So, if you want to go the extra mile, opt to brew your coffee using a drip coffee machine that uses a filter.

Coffee Makes You Put On/Lose Weight

adding chocolate syrup to a coffee drink
What you add to your coffee matters if you’re watching your weight. Photo from Farhad Ibrahimzade.

When it comes to weight management, coffee is often misunderstood. Caffeine is a common ingredient in weight-loss pills which may have led to this misconception.

Studies suggest that there are no direct links to coffee and weight loss, unless coupled with a strict diet. While coffee can increase your metabolic rate and curb your appetite, it does so only on a short-term basis and not enough to actually make you shed those kilograms.

At the other end of the spectrum, coffee also does not promote weight gain. But if you take your cuppa with lots of high-calorie creams and sugars, it may have some negative effects on your overall health which can lead to weight gain.

In short, coffee on its own has no direct contribution to weight management but it’s important to be mindful of what you add to your coffee.

Coffee in the Afternoon Can Cause Insomnia

a blue reusable coffee cup
Go green and bring your own cup when you get your post-lunch coffee. This De’Longhi x STTOKE Ceramic Reusable Cup can keep your coffee hot for up to three hours. Photo from De’Longhi.

This is also one of the top misconceptions people have about coffee. The good news is — it doesn’t!

Because coffee is a stimulant and helps to keep you alert and awake, people often mistakenly think it causes insomnia and prefer to have their brew only in the morning.

Your body takes about four to seven hours to flush out all the caffeine in your system so drinking that post-lunch coffee will not affect your bedtime at all. So, go ahead, reach for that second cup of coffee and enjoy!