A new scientific study says drinking coffee is good for you.

Yay!

Another new scientific study says drinking coffee is bad for you.

What the @&%*#%! is going on here?

Study # 1

According to Australian researchers,drinking lots of coffee after a strenuous workout while consuming fuel-replenishing carbohydrates can help accelerate muscular recovery.”

In fact, the research showed that athletes who consumed carbohydrates and drank caffeine had 66 per cent more glycogen in their muscles four hours after working out, versus athletes who consumed carbohydrates alone.

This is important because to get the most from your workouts, you need to re-fuel your muscles as soon as possible. A proper re-fuel will cause your body to shift from it’s post-workout catabolic state to an anabolic state toot sweet.

Simply put, you will recover faster, feel less post exercise pain (still debatable, but anecdotal evidence leads me to believe this to be true), get stronger, faster, have more endurance and lose fat faster.

All good stuff.

So take a shot of espresso with your post workout protein shake.

Okay, this is weird. As I was writing this post, I was also surfing and came upon this – Starbucks new Vivanno Nourishing Blends. I haven’t had one, but this is exactly what the Aussie researchers are describing. Carbs, protein & caffeine.

I am sure that there are lots of other coffee houses that have or will soon be offering such a beverage. (Vivanno is being released this week)

So, if you want to see science in action, head down to Starbucks post workout. And no, I don’t have any financial interest in Starbucks. I just spend a lot of money there.

For a great info on workout nutrition, check out Dr. John Berardi.

Study #2

Researchers from the University of Guelph have concluded that drinking coffee before eating your morning cereal can affect the body’s blood-sugar response and cause blood glucose levels to rise dramatically (250% higher)- especially when eating low-sugar cereals like All-Bran“.

Once again, what the @&%*#%! is going on here?

I eat my All-Bran twigs and berries cereal so that I don’t get colon cancer and now these science geeks are telling me that unless I cut out my morning cup o’ joe, my blood sugar is going to jump sky-high, followed by my insulin levels.

Great, the next thing you’re going to tell me is that this is going to make me insulin resistant and eventually type 2 diabetic.

Well, research does show that “whether you’re a healthy individual, obese or a Type 2 diabetic, when you ingest caffeine and then follow that with some food that’s carbohydrate-based, for a prolonged period of time — certainly six hours at least — your body becomes insulin resistant.”

“It’s the caffeine in the coffee that is altering your body’s sugar response,” Prof. Graham (the lead researcher) says. “It makes us resistant to insulin, which in turn makes our blood-sugar levels go higher.”

So what am I supposed to do now?

According to Prof. Graham, for healthy people, the implication is “no big deal.” “If my glucose goes a bit higher and I’m over it in a couple of hours, I’m happy and I’ve had my coffee.” In fact, recent research shows “very clearly” that heavy coffee drinking decreases the risk for Type 2 diabetes.

Coffee contains many positive biological compounds, including antioxidants, and decreases the risk for diseases of the gut.

“In the long term, consuming coffee for decades decreases your risk,” Prof. Graham says.

Not so for those individuals who are obese, sedentary and don’t exercise. It’s likely that those people are already insulin resistant.

So, what should you do?

If you are not at risk, enjoy your java. However, if you fit the ‘at risk’ profile, try switching to water distilled decaf coffee.” Or, eat your cereal before your coffee. Or, dump the cereal altogether and switch to a Mediterranean or Paleo way of eating.

Conclusion

These two studies seem to contradict themselves.

Not really.

In study # 1, the researchers are trying to increase levels of blood sugar and insulin. This effect literally drives the sugar into your muscles. Your muscles have been depleted by your workout (At least they should be; if not, workout harder) and they are virtually screaming to be fed. The sugar will go straight to your muscles where it will go about fueling your muscles re-building process.

In study # 2, you have no need for a giant spike in blood sugar and insulin. You just woke up and your body is not screaming for fuel.

But don’t think I am telling you to skip breakfast. Like my mom always said, “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” (weird – I quoted my mom)

You have a long day ahead of you, so a nice steady stream of low glycemic carbs is the way to go. No sugar spikes you Coca-Cola junkies.

So, in conclusion, you want to keep you blood sugar in check all day long, except for post workout.

Got it?

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5 comments

  1. I LOVE coffee but I’m trying to reduce my daily consumption of it. I’ll never completely stop though.
    Interesting post. I got what coffee does for you at breakfast time and post workout but one thing wasn’t specified: do you get the same results with decaffeinated coffee? I’m just wondering because as I said before I’m trying to reduce the amount of coffee I drink everyday and I have begun to slowly switch to decaf some of my shots. Not the breakfast one nor the after workout though.
    Thanks a lot for sharing these information

  2. According to the study, caffeinated coffee resulted in a 250% higher blood sugar spike than decaf coffee.

    So, if you want the post-workout sugar spike, drink the full caf. coffee.

    And if you’re trying to kick the habit, go with decaf the rest of the day.

    Hope that helps

  3. DAMN! I’ve been doing this backwards the whole time. Oatmeal after my coffee. Thanks for filling me in

  4. As a family physician and one who LOVES coffee, I’ve been following the literature on the health effects of caffeine for many years. There have been many bad things researchers have tried to pin on coffee/caffeine and it seems that its health hazards have consistently been disproven upon further research. I can’t help it–I keep coming back to my “everything in moderation” mantra. I know that I can only have one cup before a workout otherwise I get very shaky so I have a second cup after the workout. Another study (Diabetes Care Feb 2006) actually showed that drinking coffee decreased your risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes. Enjoy life and have your coffee in moderation!

  5. Something that always gets me about coffee research is what TYPE of coffee are they testing in labs? Is it the grande-latte-McNugget-Family-Bucket-7000cal type? I don’t think so. I would bet they’re testing black coffee. How many of us only drink our coffee black?
    It’s known that protein blocks antioxidant uptake so all those berry smoothies you’ve been guzzling = almost useless. And that milk in your tea or coffee, it’s cutting any antioxidant effect from the drink.
    If you can find it, try cold drip or cold filter coffee from the smaller independent coffee houses. Very high caffeine levels and delicious flavour, because the drink is extracted cold there’s no burnt flavour that usually has us adding milk and sugar.

  6. I love the cold drip coffee process…completely different taste and I can drink it without cream (no tummy upset)

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