By Hammer Nutrition
Coffee is ubiquitous. The centuries-old drink is among the most consumed beverages on Earth, outpaced only by water and tea. Each day 1.6 billion cups are gulped globally, and an estimated 8 out of 10 Americans routinely indulge in a cup of joe. But as is the case with celebrity, rumors often come with fame. Here are some of the most common coffee myths debunked.
MYTH: Coffee causes dehydration
Research has shown that coffee is a mild diuretic; however, when consumed in moderation (approximately 3 to 6 cups per day) coffee has nearly the same hydrating effects as pure water.
MYTH: Coffee is addictive
Caffeine is a mild stimulant, but the World Health Organization has stated there is no evidence that caffeine consumption meets the criteria for addiction.
MYTH: Coffee causes insomnia
For healthy adults, the half-life of caffeine is approximately five to six hours, so as long as you aren't drinking your java late in the afternoon or evening, it should have little effect on your sleep.
MYTH: Coffee will sober you up
Coffee will counteract alcohol's sedating effects, but it has no effect on your body's ability to metabolize alcohol. More alarmingly, research has found that combining alcohol and caffeine can be especially dangerous because it can give a false sense of competency to those under the influence.
MYTH: Coffee will cure a hangover
Another coffee and alcohol myth that has long been perpetuated. Hangover symptoms are attributed to dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. Although coffee alone will satisfy some of your body's hydration needs, water and electrolytes do a better job of combating a hangover.
MYTH: The hotter the coffee, the better
For optimal extraction coffee experts suggest a water temperature of between 195 and 205 degrees. Brewing coffee with boiling water (212 degrees) extracts more bitter oils from the beans, imparting an overly bitter or burnt flavor to the beverage.
MYTH: Coffee is acidic
The pH of a typical cup of black coffee is 5.0, making it only slightly acidic relative to other beverages. Soda, fruit juices, and even beer are more acidic than coffee.
MYTH: Espresso is stronger than drip
When discrediting this myth, size matters. It is true that by volume, espresso contains more caffeine than standard drip coffee. But a typical 2 oz. shot of espresso contains approxiately 80 mg of caffeine; a 12 oz. cup of black coffee contains, on average, 120 mg.
MYTH: Coffee stunts your growth
Countless studies have found no correlation between coffee consumption and stunted growth. Consuming an extreme amount of caffeinated beverages can result in a slight decline in overall bone mass, but that is easily counteracted by adequate calcium intake.
MYTH: The darker the roast, the more caffeine it contains
Dark-roasted coffee packs a bit more flavor punch than a light-roast bean, but when it comes to caffeine, the roasts are nearly identical more often than not.
MYTH: Coffee is best stored in the fridge or freezer
Fridges and freezers, because of their high moisture content, can cause the flavorful coffee oils to break down faster. Instead, store coffee in a cool, dry pantry or inside a canister with tight-fitting lid.