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Red Door Communications on behalf of the British Coffee Association

Clinical Articles, Lead Article

Defrothing Coffee Myths

Coffee drinking has been accused of causing palpitations, raising heart rate, blood pressure and causing other cardiovascular adverse effects.

Now a detailed literature review of a number of recent scientific studies, published in Nutrition1 looks at the cardiovascular and other effects of caffeine and concludes that, moderate amounts may have a number of beneficial effects on alertness, cognitive function and physical performance. (Download the PDF)

Extensive analysis of recent published research conducted by Illinois nutritionist, Dr Michael Glade (see pdf of paper attached) has confirmed that caffeine consumption may be associated with such benefits as increasing mental energy and cognitive function which can produce increases in the functional capacity to engage in cognitively demanding tasks.  In addition this review has also suggested that caffeine elevates mood and relieves anxiety.

The review has also suggested that caffeine consumption may be associated with:

  • Increasing resting energy expenditure
  • Increasing endurance and enhancing physical performance
  • Increasing neuromuscular coordination.

The Glade review suggests that, “ the results of two prospective observational studies indicated that habitual caffeine intake is not related to the risks for angina, diabetes, myocardial infarction, hypertension, or depression.

Furthermore, the acute consumption of 600 or 800 mg of caffeine

at one time did not produce side effects or adverse reactions . In its definitive 2001 report (Caffeine for the Sustainment of Mental Task Performance. Formulations for Military Operations), the Institute of Medicine Food and Nutrition Board Committee on Military Nutrition Research concluded that single doses of up to 600 mg of caffeine do not produce neuromuscular manifestations (“jitters”)”.

Dr Euan Paul, Executive Director of the British Coffee Association, commented, “This study adds further support to the already

overwhelming weight of evidence which demonstrates that coffee consumed in moderation- that is four to five cups per day, is safe and may even confer certain health benefits. This extensive review builds on sound research in this area of cognitive function and physical performance which has demonstrated that moderate coffee consumption may increases levels of physical and mental alertness and performance2-8.”

As advised by the Food Standards Agency guidelines, pregnant women should moderate their intake of caffeine to 200mg per day from all sources9.

For more information on coffee and health visit


  1. Glade, M., Caffeine – Not just a stimulant,  Nutrition 26 (2010) 932-938
  2. Smith, Human Psychopharmacology Clinical and Experimental; 20: 441-445, 2005
  3. Dorea et al, British Journal of Nutrition; 93:773-782, 2005
  4. Paluska, Current Sports Medicine Reports, 2, 213-219, 2003
  5. Graham, Sports Medicine, 31, 785-807, 2001
  6. Graham, Canadian Journal of Applied Physiology, 26 (Suppl.): S103-S119, 2001
  7. Nehlig and Debry. International Journal of Sports Medicine, 15, 215-223, 1994
  8. Dodd et al. Sports Medicine, 15, 14-23, 1993
  9. Food Standards Agency -

Published on: November 3, 2010

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