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I am a programmer. I like coffee as it keeps me awake, I usually drink 4 small cups a day.

I want to know if it is dangerous for your health? Or in which quantity it should be taken?

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closed as off topic by Ivo Flipse Feb 22 '12 at 17:56

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I used to drink coffee all work-day long. I went cold turkey on the caffeine and I felt so much better. No drowsiness and I was able to concentrate better. Of course, I have to have something to drink so I ended up going back to coffee (decaf). –  DustinDavis Aug 1 '11 at 14:44
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How is this off topic?! –  Cawas Mar 28 '12 at 16:41
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Seriously, how is consuming of coffee not a topic for "Fitness and NUTRITION"? –  Cray May 8 '12 at 16:58
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2 Answers 2

up vote 20 down vote accepted

Articles Related to this exact question

Mayo Clinic Article

Anyways here are some interesting findings in Mayo Clinic article:

  • Coffee no longer shows any link to cancer / heart disease:

Recent studies have generally found no connection between coffee and an increased risk of cancer or heart disease. Why the apparent reversal in the thinking about coffee? Earlier studies didn't always take into account that known high-risk behaviors, such as smoking and physical inactivity, tended to be more common among heavy coffee drinkers at that time.

  • Studies show coffee is linked with protecting against Parkinson's, type 2 diabetes and liver cancer because of it's high content of antioxidants:

Newer studies have also shown that coffee may have benefits, such as protecting against Parkinson's disease, type 2 diabetes and liver cancer. And it has a high content of antioxidants.

  • The doctor, Donald Hensrud, in this article indicates that the only downside to coffee is that it doesn't contain any nutrients compared to its counterparts and that you should use coffee in moderation:

But this doesn't mean you should disregard the old maxim "Everything in moderation." Although coffee may not be very harmful, other beverages such as milk and juice contain nutrients that coffee does not. Also, keep in mind that coffee accompaniments such as cream and sugar add fat and calories to your diet. Finally, heavy caffeine use — on the order of four to seven cups of coffee a day — can cause problems such as restlessness, anxiety, irritability and sleeplessness, particularly in susceptible individuals.

The Good:

  • Coffee decreases instances of MRSA in a persons nose. A most recent study shows that coffee / tea drinkers are less likely to carry methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in their noses. This means coffee / tea have anti-microbiological impacts. However, the link between MRSA and systemic infection have not been linked.

  • Coffee Decreases ones risk in Prostate Cancer* In may, Journal of National Cancer Institute found that coffee contains biologically active compounds that can be associated with reduced risk of cancer.

  • Long term coffee consumption reduces risk of type-2 diabetes; Indicating Coffee seems to improve insulin sensitivity

Overall, so far the jury is out that coffee can be substantially important in reducing risks of cancer, and various other diseases; just limit your intake.

The bad:

Overall:

I would just stick to your guns and do what you feel is right. I would continue to consume coffee. It seems as there are a lot of perks of coffee. I would of course, as stated previously, enjoy coffee in moderate amounts.

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Thanks a lot Chris for your detailed answer –  Pied Piper Aug 1 '11 at 3:40
    
No problem. My pleasure. i was curious about this myself. –  chrisjlee Aug 1 '11 at 3:57
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Cool answer +1.. –  Soner Gönül Aug 8 '11 at 6:28
    
Thanks for the details and references. As an avid coffee drinker (10+ cups per day - mainly espressos), it is nice to know that something good can come from my habit :-) –  Tonny Madsen Aug 29 '11 at 10:38
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I think that everyone should take a break every 2 hours for at least 10 minutes in able to relax and prepare oneself for the next 2 hours. Don't just go drink coffee and rob your body of it's deserved energy!

I wanted to answer this question because I felt that the accepted answer is a all too positive about coffee. There is one aspect of drinking coffee (4 times a day like in this case) which I don't like: it's caffeine. It messes up the Basic Rest-Activity Cycle of our bodies. But first let's see what caffeine does.

If you check with Wikipedia you can read:

Caffeine is a bitter, white crystalline xanthine alkaloid and psychoactive stimulant. [...]

In this article, Caffeine Psychological Effects, Use and Abuse, it's found that :

The onset of the effect of caffeine occurs within one hour and lasts for three to four hours (Baker, 1972). The equivalent of one or two cups of coffee (150 to 250 mg of caffeine) is sufficient to induce adverse effects.

This site discuses the Basic Rest-Activity Cycle of our body, which is an ultradian rhythm, because it's about 90 minutes long (less than 24 hours). This means that about every 90 minutes (one and a half hour) your body 'tells' you that it's time to rest. You might feel a little tired or you feel like yawning :)

What do most developers do when they are programming and are about to reach the 90 minutes cycle? They go drink a coffee instead of having a 10 minutes break to rest their eyes and change body posture, or use the time to relax. The caffeine kicks in at most one hour later and lasts for three to four hours. This means that, at about midday, your Rest-Activity Cycle is totally delayed, not being able to turn the activity down a notch and use the time to replenish lost energy.

So listen to your body more carefully and when it 'tells' you it's tired, stand up, maybe stretch a little or just go for a walk through the office to talk to another colleague. Turn off the focus from the monitor to some other activity which is less straining on the mind.

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+1 For 10 minute per two hours advise, I think that would be nice than being seated on the chair for a long, in-front of screen, under-light ... fresh air is quite refreshing –  Pied Piper Aug 22 '11 at 5:14
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