Like a lot of the population, I can't get through the day without a cup of coffee, (or three). There are a lot of urban legends going around about the effects of coffee, many of which are not true. Hopefully, these facts will clear up some of the misconceptions about this miraculous substance.
1. If you have a cup in the afternoon you won't be able to sleep at night.
False! Although caffeine is a stimulant, if you have a cup of coffee after lunch it will quickly be processed through the liver and the majority of it will be flushed out of the body in four to seven hours. Therefore, by the time you are ready to go to bed at night, the caffeine from earlier will be long gone from your system.
2. A cup of coffee will sober you up.
False! The American Psychological Association conducted a study that proves that giving coffee to an intoxicated person will do little to help reverse the negative effects of alcohol or help the person become more alert. Mixing caffeine and alcohol might make you feel more awake but you will still be just as incapacitated.
3. Coffee will help you lose weight.
False! An increasingly popular thought is that drinking more coffee will decrease your appetite therefore making you eat less and lose weight. However, the effects of coffee on your metabolism are actually very slight and the decrease in hunger is so brief that it is not enough to cause noticeable weight loss.
4. Coffee stunts your growth.
False! You've probably heard your mother tell you this at one time or another. However, there is no scientific evidence that coffee stunts your growth or that it causes osteoporosis, another common wives tale. The effect of caffeine on calcium is too small to say there is a viable link between osteoporosis and coffee. As long as you continue to take in regular amounts of calcium and vitamin D then you will not have any increased risk of osteoporosis or weakened bones.
5. You shouldn't drink any coffee while pregnant.
False! Pregnant women are often told that drinking caffeine could hurt a fetus and are advised that they should try to not take in more than 200 milligrams of caffeine a day while pregnant. However, there are no definite studies saying that caffeine can hurt a baby. Physicians say that as long as a mother limits her coffee to one cup a day there is nothing to worry about.
6. It is easy to get addicted to coffee.
False! Even if you are used to drinking coffee on a regular basis the dependence caused by the caffeine on your central nervous system will be very slight. If you were to go from drinking multiple cups a day to quitting cold turkey you might experience some very slight withdrawal effects but they would only last for a day or two.
7. All coffee has the same amount of caffeine.
False! Many coffees are brewed differently and thus will have different caffeine contents. A little known fact is that McDonald's coffee actually has far less milligrams of caffeine per ounce at only 9.1. Starbucks on the other hand, has a whopping 20 milligrams per fluid ounce in just one cup.