There are a lot of rumors floating around about how that delicious, caffeinated beverage can affect you. But how many of them are actually true?
Here are nine coffee myths you definitely shouldn’t believe.
MYTH: Coffee dehydrates you
Coffee is made with water, and while caffeine can have some dehydrating effects, the H2O in coffee makes up for it.
The Mayo Clinic suspects that this myth stems from the diuretic properties coffee holds. However, that isn’t necessarily linked to dehydration.
“Drinking caffeine-containing beverages as part of a normal lifestyle doesn’t cause fluid loss in excess of the volume ingested,” they said. “While caffeinated drinks may have a mild diuretic effect — meaning that they may cause the need to urinate — they don’t appear to increase the risk of dehydration.”
“In a healthy body, it’s very unlikely that a few cups of coffee are the cause of your dull skin, or headaches, or overall feeling of dryness—at least, not through the mechanism of dehydration,” Jennifer Haythe, M.D., a cardiologist and internist at Columbia University told MarieClaire.com.
Actually caffeine can keep you more hydrated than other liquids, especially if you are drinking it with a volume of fluid like iced coffee or tea. A 2014 study found that there was zero evidence of dehydration with moderate daily coffee intake.
MYTH: Coffee stunts growth
This myth is really just an old wives’ tale. There is no scientific proof that drinking coffee will stunt your growth.
The rumor originated from a famous commercial by the popular coffee substitute, Postum. They advertised that their beverages were safe for kids, because it wouldn’t stunt their growth.
It’s really all just clever advertising that stood the test of time — but it isn’t rooted in actual fact.
MYTH: Caffeine is highly addictive
Now, this myth does have some truth to it, but it’s not nearly as bad as it seems. Caffeine does stimulate the central nervous system and can cause a slight dependence.
However, many experts are wary of labeling caffeine as an addictive substance. For most people, the withdrawal effects of caffeine only last a day or two. It’s also not common for people to struggle with their caffeine intake, due to the negative sensations that come with having too much.
Long story short, you may experience some uncomfortable effects if you quit caffeine cold turkey. But it’s nothing compared to other addictive substances — and in a couple of days, you should be back to normal.
MYTH: Your afternoon cup will keep you up all night
If you’re questioning that afternoon pick me up, don’t! For most people, that post-lunch cup of coffee is processed through the liver at a quicker rate than normal. Almost all of it will be flushed out of your system within four to seven hours — that means you’ll still be ready to sleep come bedtime.
Now, if you’re drinking coffee at 7 p.m., that’s a different story. Maybe switch to decaf or tea if you need a little something after dinner.
MYTH: You need to use boiling water to make your coffee
If you just boiled some water on the stove, pause. Give it a minute or two before pouring it over your coffee grounds.
If your coffee goes above 200 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s likely to scorch your grounds, making them taste bitter and burnt.
“Boil your kettle and leave it to cool for a minute. You are aiming for around 95 degrees so the extraction works well,” coffee expert Will Corby said.
MYTH: Coffee will help you sober up
If only it were that easy! Unfortunately, it’s not.
While caffeine is a stimulant and can help you feel more alert, it does not combat the effects of alcohol on your system. In fact, it could be worse for you — causing your brain to enter “fight or flight” mode.
“People who have consumed both alcohol and caffeine may feel awake and competent enough to handle potentially harmful situations, such as driving while intoxicated or placing themselves in dangerous social situations,” reported The American Psychological Association.
MYTH: Coffee can help you lose weight
This is another one of those myths that has the slightest bit of truth to it — but it’s not what you think.
Caffeine can cause a very small increase in metabolism, but it’s hardly enough to affect any long-term weight loss. What caffeine does do is decrease your appetite, which could aid you in your diet goals. However, we don’t recommend it.
Drinking coffee on an empty stomach can be detrimental to your health and cause lots of negative side effects including severe heartburn and indigestion, and possibly even gastric ulcers.
MYTH: Decaf means no caffeine
Despite being misleadingly named, decaf coffee actually does have a little bit of caffeine in it.
According to USDA regulations, decaf coffee needs to be 97% caffeine free. So, that extra 3% probably won’t affect you too much, but it’s still there.
Science Daily reported that you would need to drink 6-10 cups of decaf coffee to get the same amount of caffeine found in 1-2 cups of regular brew.
MYTH: Coffee will shorten your lifespan
A recent study, published JAMA Internal Medicine, says drinking coffee will actually help extend your life span. In a study of 9 million British male and female adults, coffee drinkers had a slightly lower risk of death over 10 years (10 to 15%) than those who didn’t drink it regularly. Most of the subjects (154,000) drank two to three cups per day and 10,000 of them drank at least eight cups every day!