Coffee and Metabolism

There is a constant debate about coffee. Is it good or bad for us? Does it really help achieve health benefits, slow down aging process, prevent diabetes, help reduce cancer risk, and many neurological disorders? There are many conflicting studies and two camps of thought as it relates to coffee. Confusion as to who is right or wrong remains the constant.

Regardless, America’s favorite drink is consumed daily, and for many, the debate about the benefits versus risks of coffee is conveniently brushed aside as we wait for our coffee to brew. But for many whose busy lives are also consumed with health questions as it relates to their slowed metabolism, weight gain, hormone imbalance, fatigue, and related disorders, some clarification of coffee and caffeine is in order.

There is no doubt that the a coffee bean contains many potent anti-oxidants from its content of chlorogenic acids, caffeol, polyphenols, phytoestrogens, and diterpenes. Early studies on coffee lead many to believe that it had beneficial effects when consumed in nominal amounts (no more than 3 cups per day). There have been studies that showed coffee had a beneficial effect on Type 2 diabetes risk on people who did not have issues with blood sugar control. Biochemically, this process makes sense because studies have shown that Chlorogenic acid in coffee can inhibit glucose-6-phosphatase in the liver and potentially improve insulin sensitivity.

But if you are part of the population who struggle with Type 2 diabetes, obesity, weight gain, metabolic syndrome, or hormone imbalance, recent studies have shown that coffee may have a detrimental effect and may cause exacerbation of the conditions mentioned here. Van Dam et. al 2006 showed that coffee and caffeine intake showed insulin spikes and high blood sugar after meals. This, we now know also affects those with metabolic syndrome and pre-diabetes by increasing insulin production from the pancreas. This is not a good situation.

For those struggling with obesity or weight gain, metabolic syndrome or syndrome X is defined by dysfunctional pancreas whose insulin production is on “red-line”. Insulin’s role in the body is primarily to maintain normal blood sugar and (this is the problem) to store nutrients as fat. Most often, many of the patients at Camelback Health Care who present for weight management often have moderate to severe coffee or caffeine consumption to combat fatigue and food cravings. The decreased sensitivity to insulin by the body’s tissues has been well documented in a study by Moisey et al 2008, where they showed that caffeinated coffee consumption impairs blood glucose in healthy adult men.

Additionally, coffee by nature is very acidic, thereby raising the inflammation of the body. Patients will develop digestive problems. Additionally, for those predisposed to inflammatory disorders other than the digestive system also experience increased severity of their symptoms. Namely, oxidative stress rises as a result and is completely contrary to the earlier studies that showed that coffee’s high content of antioxidants somehow alleviated this issue.

It has been shown that too much coffee consumption can lead to our brain chemical serotonin to deplete, causing irritable sleep patterns, low energy levels, and mood disorders. Serotonin is essential for regular sleep patterns, energy levels, and normal digestion. Couple this with people that are struggling with obesity due to metabolic syndrome, Type 2 diabetes, or hormonal imbalance, and one can quickly understand something must be done to alleviate this little known relationship that we all have with coffee.

Because of the addictive nature of caffeine and coffee, it can be difficult for someone to implement changes to their daily routine. Coffee is ubiquitous and is part of Americana. For those who wants to withdraw from caffeine and coffee, the withdrawal symptoms last about 5 days and can include, headaches, irritability, low energy, inability to concentrate, and nausea. But for those making the decision to be more proactive about their health situation, the following are recommended:

  1. Withdraw slowly. Cold turkey method can be done but it will be a tough 5 days.
  2. Drink plenty of water. At least 8 glasses of 8 oz water or 2 liters is recommended.
  3. Ensure that plenty of good multivitamins with high levels of antioxidants such as vitamin C (1000mg twice per day) are used. Protandim is an excellent source of antioxidants that works at the genomic level to produce the body’s necessary antioxidants and survival genes.
  4. Eat on schedule and eat low glycemic index foods. Or consider joining a weight loss program geared toward reducing metabolic syndrome and maintaining muscle mass. A good program is the Ideal Protein Method Program.
  5. If you insist on consuming moderate to significant amounts of coffee, recent advances in healthy coffee such as OrganoGold coffee products are promising and has shown to be non-acidic, non-inflammatory, and has the benefits of ganoderma lucidum which has potent antioxidant and detoxification capabilities.
  6. Green tea is also an excellent substitute for coffee and if taken at one to three cups per day, the caffeine will not interfere with normal body function and the rich antioxidants will allow to stabilize the caffeine and coffee addiction.
  7. Get plenty of sleep and allow the body to recover from fatigue.

In conclusion, coffee does not help in metabolic syndrome, hormone imbalance or deficiencies, Type 2 diabetics, or those struggling with weight. A good place to start to reduce consumption of caffeine and coffee is to consult your physician and get on a plan that suits your individual needs. You can do this. Live Young!


Van Dam RM, Willett WC, Manson JE, Hu FB. 2006. “Coffee, caffeine, and risk of type 2 diabetes: a prospective cohort study in younger and middle­ aged U.S. women.” Diabetes Care (2) 398­403

Moisey LL, Kacker S, Bickerton AC, Robinson LE, Graham TE. 2008. “Caffeinated coffee consumption impairs blood glucose homeostasis in response to high and low glycemic index meals in healthy men.” Am J Clin Nutr 87 (5): 1254­1261

Resource: Watch our video to learn more about weight loss and how you can be successful.

By: Dr. Brandon Kim | Camelback Health Care