Guilt-ridden java guzzlers, take heart: a recent study in Sweden showed the risk of certain types of breast cancer was significantly reduced in post-menopausal women whose daily coffee intake was higher than five cups a day. Other studies have shown that coffee protects against type 2, or adult-onset, diabetes.
Let's face it --- most people don't pay attention to the endless and conflicting barrage of evidence on either side of the coffee issue. Yet many, including yours truly, slug down barrel-fulls of joe. So Short Order visited Starbucks (959 West Ave., Miami Beach) to discover what benefits locals think they reap from downing immoderate amounts of coffee.
Before the question was even fully posed, wide-eyed local Rima Gerhard blurted, "I'm addicted!" She continued, after she got the full question. "Every couple of months it seems like they come up with a new study saying coffee is good for you or bad for you. My parents drink it every day and my dad is almost 80 years old," she said. "You can drink it in social situations, instead of getting wasted. It's much more civilized." She examined her paper cup and pulled it lovingly to her lips before adding, "It just feels good. I guess it's a drug of some sort."
On the other side of the patio, Jasmine Bullard,
sipping hot cocoa, had a very different outlook on the beverage.
"Coffee is acidic and it leeches fluid out of muscles because of the
acidic environment it creates," she said. "An acidic environment is an
environment where illness can develop, so I'm a little surprised about
the study saying it can prevent cancer." A doctor of acupuncture and
Oriental medicine, she said patients come to her for relief from coffee
addiction. "Some people drink it because they say it helps them go to
the bathroom, but these people can become dependent on it and get
constipated without it. The peristalsis of their bowels becomes
dependent on it ... Any stimulant in massive quantities is going to have
negative effects," she concluded.
Scott Spradley was proudly sipping what appeared to be one of many mugs
of the stuff. His remarkable eyes, one brown, one blue, were round as
saucers as he spoke on the matter, fondly gripping a ceramic mug.
"It's for social interaction. It's a habit," he said. "It's not that I
need coffee to stay awake. It's just like a cigarette for me. I don't
think it's the nicotine I'm addicted to, it's the act of holding it,
lighting it. With coffee, it can be decaf, it can be tea. I've done that
before, just drank tea instead. But when I'm working, I need to get up
and get coffee every 15 minutes. A lot of the time it just sits there
and gets cold."
He said he "holds" about eight
cups of coffee a day, but only drinks about three or four. "It's not
about the coffee, it's about the ritual --- holding onto a mug and
playing around with it. It gives me pause during a hectic day of work. I
will sometimes get up and get coffee four times an hour. It just gives
me two minutes to step away from my work," he said.
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