Deadly Brew or Heated Health Beverage? You Make the Call

I went online this morning to check my email, its unfortunately one of those sites where I’m hit with a barrage of the latest headlines from around the world before I can even access my account. A headline catches my eye, as headlines are wont to do. It is their design, their purpose. And this one worked, hook, line and sinker on yours truly. The headline in question: Is Your Morning Coffee Killing You?

Being a coffee consumer, and more specifically a coffee drinker of the morning variety, I clicked and checked out the article. This was my first mistake. The article was quite well conceived and written, but its premise was shaky at best. It mused that five coffees a day could lead to an increase in “visceral fat”, a phenomenon I’ve admittedly never heard of, but sounds appropriately terrifying. The writer went on to summise that an experiment was conducted using mice as the guinea pigs. They were given the equivalent of five coffees and from this it was deduced that, although coffee has several health benefits such as increasing insulin sensitivity and reducing blood pressure, there was a potentially deadly downside: the aforementioned visceral fat.

It’s the lab mice I feel for in this instance. Here they are, prancing about in a field somewhere, loving their life, only to get snatched from freedom by men in white coats and whisked off to some cold sterile laboratory and served coffee. Are mice particularly fond of coffee? I doubt it. And to give them five, or the equivalent thereof? That just seems cruel and unnecessary. What is their equivalent anyway? A thimble full? Maybe not your standard issue thimble, perhaps the one found in those old Monopoly sets would do. And I don’t know about the mice, but I like my coffees to be flavored with syrup. I’m sure the mice would approve of a Vanilla Latte with whipped cream.

So, like the unofficial investigative journalist that I claim to be (mainly after seven pints), I delved a little deeper into the long-standing argument: is coffee good or bad for you?

A Google search posing the question ‘is coffee good for you’ yields 344,000,000 results. The opposite yields 473,000,000. A Harvard study indicates that drinking up to six cups of coffee a day is not associated with an increased risk of death by any cause. Any educational institution where a brainbox like Will Hunting is but a lowly janitor is good by me. No mention of experiments on mice in their findings either.

So rejoice, fellow caffeine junkies! Enjoy your half a dozen coffees today, and spare a thought for the poor mice of the world, kept in cages and force-fed coffee for the benefit of all humans!

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