Are you drinking too much coffee? Researchers say it could lead to serious health problems

CBS4 This Morning

INDIANAPOLIS — For so many of us, that morning cup(s) of coffee is crucial to making it through the day.

But a new study now says if you drink too much coffee, you might be doing more harm than good.

Researchers in Australia tracked a group of 17,000 people and found drinking six or more cups of coffee a day was linked with a 53% increased risk of dementia. Six cups of joe or more was also linked to a increased chance of stroke and brain shrinkage as well.

When it comes to coffee consumption, moderation may be key. Researchers at Johns Hopkins say drinking the “right” amount of coffee can be beneficial as coffee is full of substances that may help guard against heart disease, diabetes and kidney disease. It also may help people process sugar more efficiently and decrease the chances of developing Parkinsons.

According to the National Coffee Association, the average coffee drinker in the U.S. drinks just over three cups per day.

While the average American consumes well below the “excess” amount of coffee the Australian researchers referred to, registered dietitian and nutritionist Kim Galeaz says in many cases, people may not need to consume as much coffee as they think. Especially those who are seeking an energy boost.

“If you’re feeling sluggish in the middle of the day or the late morning, it’s probably because you need a boost of energy, but energy only comes in the form of calories. That’s proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. It doesn’t come in caffeine,” Galeaz said.

Galeaz says fueling up every three to five hours with snacks like nuts, cheese and crackers, a banana and some peanut butter,  or even yogurt can help with sustaining energy levels throughout the day. She also adds that proper hydration is key for sustained energy as well.  

“Many people are not adequately fueling every three to five hours and that’s why you might feel sluggish and feel like you need that boost of coffee. But the truth is you may actually just need some calories. Every three to five hours to keep yourself fueled, you’re going to pick a snack, and even at your regular meals, protein and carb combos,” she said.

Galeaz adds a protein and carbohydrates mix is best for energy stores. She also a ten minute burst of physical activity can help when people feel “sluggish.”

“If you feel sluggish, one of the best things that is natural it’s just to get your body moving. Let’s say you’re working from home; just get up and run the steps in your house or go outside and take a quick 10 minute walk, because really just 10 minutes is going to give your body that natural boost. If you’re at the office already, going up and down the steps there, or a lot of office buildings house places where you can walk outside. Just a quick first of activity and energy is going to make you feel so much better,” she said.

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