New research suggests that excess coffee can lead to weight gain, even if drinkers stick to decaffeinated brands.
Experts have warned that if you drink five or more cups of coffee a day, you are increasing your risk of storing fat around the abdomen. This could contribute to associated health problems such as diabetes and heart disease.
Australian academics were originally trying to determine how health-boosting compounds in the drink could help to improve cardiovascular function. The compound being studied, chlorogenic acid (CGA) has previously been linked to lowering blood pressure, reducing risk of diabetes and even combating fat.
The results of the study sadly told a very different story when the compound was used in excess. An equivalent dose of CGA present in five or six cups of coffee was fed to laboratory mice. The results found that this level of CGA affected the utilization of fat in the liver and also caused an abnormal amount of fat retention within the cells.
Prof Matthews has said that while in moderation coffee is perfectly safe, there are risks associated with drinking too much.
"It seems that the health effects are dose-dependent. A moderate intake of coffee, up to three to four cups a day still seems to decrease the risk of developing diseases such as cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes," he said.
The study also points out that it is not necessarily those who are overweight who are most at risk. Those who appear slim can still have a dangerous amount of fat stored around their internal organs that causes a multitude of health problems. This type of fat retention could be exacerbated by excess coffee.
If you want to learn more about the health benefits and risks in the food and drink we consume, why not hire a nutritionist? To find out more, please see our Healthy Eating page.
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