In response to mentioning coffee in another thread, an IC member sent me a PM asking for additional details. The topic has also
arisen on the forum historically, and on the
blog from time to time.
⟲ Program Posture
Coffee is casually mentioned throughout program documents, and is
an ingredient in any number of recipes.
Wheat Belly Total Health, page 121 (print edition):
“Interestingly, the heightened responsiveness of the
gallbladder to CCK
can make some people sensitive to caffeine in
coffee, tea, and other sources because it stimulates CCK release
and gallbladder contraction.”, which I take to suggest
to not increase coffee consumption at the outset of the program,
and be mindful of any indications of CCK issues.
Wheat Belly Total Health, page 305:
“Coffee and tea, while they fit into a grain-free
lifestyle, cause modest dehydration through their diuretic
action.”, so some adjustment of fluid intake
might be needed.
Wheat Belly Total Health, page 306:
“But thanks to caffeine and other components,
such as chlorogenic acid, 2 to 3 cups per day of caffeinated
or decaffeinated coffee or green, oolong, or white tea can
yield modest weight-reduction effects. These drinks also
provide other health benefits, including reduced potential
for diabetes and Parkinson’s disease.”
Green coffee bean extract is deprecated in several places,
so it’s not a suggested supplement. If you’re after the
polyphenols in coffee, drink coffee.
And that seems to be about it. These focused details were not
repeated in Undoctored. My take on that is
that they still apply, but they are not a high priority.
In particular, due to the TYP
heritage of the IHIC
site, I don’t seem to find any insights specifically regarding
heart disease and coffee. If your doctor has told you something
different, they may have just heard it from their lawyer.
So don’t expect a UIC Coffee Protocol. For your entertainment,
Sisson posts a summary periodically from his
Primal point of view. It links to a bunch of further
⟲ My Posture
Firstly, I’m writing of coffee, ideally whole bean, and not
instant coffee, nor flavored coffee, nor coffee-based beverages
(including probably all of the named beverages at Starbucks).
If the package Ingredients list has anything other than
“coffee”, you’re on your own.
I’m also presuming black coffee (nothing added). There’s no
theoretical problem with adding stuff, like cream, ⎆safe
sweetener (⎆on PCM),
or other healthy fats, and carefully selected flavorants,
but I can’t cover all the possibilities.
☕ How much is ideal for you?
Ask 23andMe. I did, and my CYP1A2 SNP makes
me a “fast coffee metabolizer”, so I don’t
seem to have any problem up to about
8 cups per day. There are other SNPs that may
come into play as well. Here’s a 2015 paper:
Mol Psychiatry: ⎆Genome-wide meta-analysis identifies
six novel loci associated with habitual coffee consumption
I personally aim to finish the pot before 2:00 PM,
and never drink coffee with or after an evening meal. We face
enough threats to ⎆sleep hygiene without adding caffeine.
☕ What About Caffeine?
Caffeine is fine for you unless it’s not.
Coffee is far from the only source of it.
Avoid deliberately caffeinated beverages for
For slower release of caffeine, consume with a fat.
☕ What’s In Your Water?
I only drink coffee made with ⎆our own filtered well water,
or plain coffees at Starbucks (all of their stores
use RO filtering).
If you are making coffee with ⎆municipal tap
water (or consuming that water for any purpose), or drinking almost any
store/restaurant-prepared beverages, you may have much more
serious issues than those discussed in this tweaky article.
Coffee enthusiasts discourage using distilled water for
coffee, but there are no health issues with doing that.
Bottled spring water is probably fine.
But on the topic of water, coffee is a diuretic, so attend to your
overall hydration, and probably don’t count coffee as contributing
Most common coffee condiments are a disaster.
Sugars you’re likely aware of. Creamers are little
mine fields of ⎆unwanted
ω6LA at the very least.
If you’re tempted to add any prebiotic ingredients, be
mindful of temperature. Coffee is normally brewed at
195 to 205°F (90.5-96.1°C), and this can convert
resistant starches to available net carbs. Check the
Can Cook column in my ⎆Prebiotic
Fiber Sources table. Raw potato starch, for example, would
be unwise in coffee.
☕ Coffee Filter
I use an unbleached paper filter (Mellita). Bleached
filters raise potential residual bleaching concerns.
If you go with bleached, look for some manufacturer
representations regarding residues. And again, this
issue is trivial compared to chloramine in tap water.
You’ll need to check into the latest
pondering on the cafestol issue (which I haven’t done
for this article, and the cholesterol
connection is probably completely irrelevant, other than
for purposes of gaming lipid panels). Do be aware that
unless you got sticker shock when you bought it, that
“gold filter” is no such thing. It’s
more likely heat-treated stainless steel, easily not
even gold-plated. Curious that no one ever mentions
☕ Container Materials
Once brewed, coffee at our house goes into a
pre-warmed stainless steel thermos, and then is
consumed from an insulated glass mug (Eparé or
Bodum), ceramic mug, or a well-aged insulated plastic
mug that is presumably no longer out-gassing much to
Coffee to go, even at Starbucks, is going to be in a
bleached paper cup with some sort of lining to prevent
the coffee from seeping through the paper. So normally,
I’ll have the stainless travel mug along, and immediately
Thermos pre-warming is a simple matter of filling it with
hot tap water, letting it stand, emptying and filling
with the coffee. Why pre-warm the container? Both glass
and stainless vacuum vessels represent a modest amount of
thermal mass. If you don’t heat them up before hand, they’ll
get heated by cooling the coffee.
☕ Picking a Coffee
I use whole bean, burr-ground just prior to brewing.
Brand and variety matter, but you’ll figure this out by
trying various products.
Organic is not a priority. Even less so are high altitude,
single-origin, shade-grown, and low-mycotoxin.
☕ In Closing
Coffee is one of those topics that is not helpful to
the cause of gaining people’s attention on more serious
nutritional issues. The breathless headlines on coffee swap from
Toxin to Elixir on an annual basis. The average
person thinks that such ambiguity thus applies to all
foods and food-like substances.
At some point we may know the full spectrum of benefits and
hazards for coffee. In the meantime, there are bigger fish
to fry—but not at too high a temperature, and choose the fat
carefully 😉. Someone tweaking
coffee, but still consuming grains, added sugars, or PUFAs
at typical levels, and doing nothing for microbiome,
needs to re-examine their priorities. Even emulsifiers,
preservatives and food coloring are likely more serious
If someone decides to quit coffee, by the way,
tapering off is usually pretty easy compared
to cold turkey. I’ve done it several times for varying
periods and reasons (and get headaches doing it cold turkey).
And yes, the reaction to cold turkey does reveal a coffee
adaptation if not an addiction.
Bob Niland [⎆disclosures] [⎆topics] [⎆abbreviations]