Every cup of coffee you drink comes a glass-half-full (or half-empty, depending on your mood) of insatiable questions. Outside of cannabis and maybe alcohol, coffee is probably the most misunderstood, readily available vice.
For instance, you may have heard coffee makes you poop like a racehorse on laxatives. And yes, that one’s true. But these 12 well-trodden myths are absolutely wrong. Read up, then wake up, kids.
1. Your afternoon cup will cause rampant insomnia
Caffeine is a stimulant. Obviously. But the caffeine you consume in your post-lunch cup of is processed through the liver at a fairly quick clip, and nearly all of it (roughly 75%) is flushed out of your body within four to seven hours.
So, if you’ve been scared to drink that second or third cup at 2pm… well, you shouldn’t be. Unless you are scared to poop in your office (see above).
2. You need to use boiling water on the grounds
If the temperature of your water goes above 200 degrees Fahrenheit, the water can start to extract some of the bitter oils from coffee grounds and may even scorch them. You can attribute the burnt taste of coffee to boiling water poured directly on the grounds. In other words, don’t drop it like it’s hot.
3. Coffee dehydrates you
Take a look at your cup of coffee. Notice the watery consistency? You can attribute the lack of natural dehydration to all the added water in a cup of coffee. The amount of H2O in a cup makes up for the dehydrating effects of caffeine.
Still, you might not want to substitute coffee for Gatorade after your next sports ball game.
4. Coffee will cure your hangover
It might make you feel a little less groggy, and more alert (as coffee is prone to do). But trust me, it won’t cure your hangover. Sorry. Try exercising.
5. Coffee helps you lose weight
You know supermodels live on a diet of cigs and coffee, right? Well, the stimulating effects of caffeine can slightly increase your metabolism, but not enough to make a dent in your diet, especially in terms of long-term weight loss. Caffeine may reduce your desire to eat for a brief time, but there’s not enough evidence to show that long-term consumption aids weight loss. It could give you a little more energy to exercise though, right?
6. Caffeine is highly addictive
While there’s a little bit of truth to this one, it’s not as bad as Jessie Spano made it seem in Saved by the Bell. Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system, which causes a very slight dependence, however, the withdrawal effects last only a day or two and are a far cry from the withdrawal effects of, oh, let’s say heroin. Coffee is not a gateway drug.
7. Coffee stunts your growth
This myth has been around forever and used to be the sole reason why I believed my NBA career never came to fruition. However, the belief that coffee does stunt your growth is just another lie told to short people. It’s unclear how this myth got started, but there’s no scientific evidence supporting it. I guess I just wasn’t genetically gifted… or good at basketball.
8. Coffee causes heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis, rabies, scabies, etc.
Calm down, everything is going to be fine. This is mainly some Reefer Madness bullshit for the cafe set.
Consuming a moderate amount (up to 300 milligrams or three cups of coffee) of caffeine on the daily isn’t going to hurt you. If you have high blood pressure, you could potentially experience a temporary rise in heart rate, but there is no link between caffeine and high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, or rabies. Especially rabies. There’s even plenty of evidence from places like Harvard that coffee can be good for you, in moderation.
9. Pregnant women shouldn’t drink coffee
Caffeine won’t harm a fetus, however, it is advised that women should limit their daily caffeine intake to only 200 milligrams — about one cup of standard coffee.
Caffeine can pass through the placenta and reach the baby, but there are no concrete studies proving it’s harmful. But… if you don’t want your baby to get all over active inside there, you might just want to play it safe and stick to decaf tea.
10. The darker the roast, the stronger the coffee
Quite the opposite, actually! Roasting actually burns off the caffeine and gives you more of an acidic taste.
11. All coffee has the same amount of caffeine
Not all coffees are brewed the same, and some cups have a hell of a lot more caffeine. For instance, McDonald’s has a measly 9.1 milligrams per fluid ounce as compared to the massive 20-milligram cup of Starbucks. Not all coffee is created equal, and this can definitely explain why some joe makes you a little more amped than others.
12. A cup of coffee will sober you up
The short answer? No. Caffeine can make an intoxicated person more alert, in theory, but a study by The American Psychological Association concluded that coffee does not reverse the negative cognitive impact of alcohol. It’s actually even worse for you, they report: “People who have consumed both alcohol and caffeine may feel awake and competent enough to handle potentially harmful situations, such as driving while intoxicated or placing themselves in dangerous social situations.”
Only time can sober you up. So please, don’t think coffee is your blotto panacea.