It can be hard enough to get out of bed on Monday morning, let alone to forgo your favourite creamy lattes. But what you absent-mindedly sip all day at the office can have a host of unexpected side effects that may be affecting your health, your moods and even the way you work. Below is part one of a two-part series in our no-holds-barred analysis of some of our favorite drinks.
Fiction: Coffee is as bad for you as smoking or excessive drinking.
Fact: There are no known health risks of drinking coffee – that is, filter-brewed coffee that goes easy on the cream and sugar. The “coffee” that more and more Americans are consuming that is loaded with sugar, whipped cream and artificial flavors does not get our stamp of approval. But otherwise, drinking a regular coffee is a great low-calorie beverage that may even be beneficial to your health. Studies are still in progress as to whether or not coffee decreases our risk for dementia, heart diseases, liver cancer and depression.
Fiction: Tea is the better, healthier alternative to coffee.
Fact: Many teas contain as much, if not more, caffeine than a cup of coffee. Like coffee, too much tea can give the drinker tremors, insomnia, heart palpitations or anxiety. Drinking tea in excess (more than seven cups a day) may even put men at greater risk of prostate cancer. However, black teas and green teas are an excellent source of antioxidants and most teas are a great zero-calorie beverage. Like coffee, the harm only exists if it’s drunk in excess.
Fiction: A protein shake will help me to lose weight, feel full and bulk up. It’s a great replacement for a full meal.
Fact: As Scott Laidler reports for The Guardian, “Protein shakes…deliver amino acids to muscle cells, helping them to recover after strenuous workouts.” While these shakes can pack a big protein punch, they are really only to be used as a post-workout source of convenient and fast protein (one that could be replaced by real whole foods, such as chicken breast, steak, or eggs.) Unless you have an intense fitness regimen or a physically demanding job, sipping one at your desk might be too caloric for your health needs.
Fiction: Gatorade’s electrolytes and vitamins make it healthier than soda or even just plain water. And it’s tasty!
Fact: Livestrong.com warns of serious health consequences that come from the overuse of Gatorade, such as weight gain and vitamin toxicity. In this instance, moderation is your friend: “Gatorade is an excellent tool to provide athletes with important electrolytes lost during exercise, it should only be drunk in small amounts as needed.” Drink Gatorade if you’re on your feet all day, but not at your 2 p.m. meeting.