Why You Can Stop Worrying and Love Coffee (Even More)

Coffee? Just say yes. (Photo: Getty Images)Do you ever feel like there is a worldwide anti-conspiracy trying to spoil your morning (or afternoon) brew? Java lovers can take heart, because a new study has just knocked another leg out from under the haters' high horse. Researchers found that moderate coffee drinking (the subjects drank four cups a day) is not linked to dehydration as is commonly thought. Researchers tested 50 men over the course of two three-day trials and found that their hydration levels stayed the same whether they drank coffee or an equal amount of water. Women were excluded from the study because their fluid levels are more variable. And the dehydration myth is not the only one worth ditching.

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Coffee stunt kids' growth. While children are sensitive to caffeine and it may contribute to anxiety, sleeplessness and other disorders, there is no hard evidence that it stunts growth. This notion may have come from the fact that caffeine does leach calcium from the bones. However, studies have shown getting enough calcium and Vitamin D and sticking to under three small cup day offsets those losses.

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Coffee is bad for your heart. Researchers have found no increased risk of heart disease associated with drinking less than six cups of coffee a day. In fact, some studies have linked a lower risk of mortality from cardiovascular disease with regular coffee consumption.

Coffee causes cancer. In 1981, a study came out linking coffee to pancreatic cancer stoking fears about coffee's health risks. According the American Cancer Society, that data has not held up. Other, more recent research has suggested that coffee is protective against certain types of cancer including endometrial, some forms of breast cancer, and liver cancer.

Coffee is addictive. While caffeine is a stimulant and may cause psychological or physical dependence, it is not addictive in the same way opiates, cigarettes, or other health and wellbeing-threatening substances are. You'll never hear a cappuccino lover utter the words, "I flushed my whole life down the toilet, and over what? COFFEE!" Sudden withdrawal from caffeine can be unpleasant for a couple of days, but quitting gradually tends to alleviate potential side effects.

Doctors advise pregnant women to avoid coffee because the fetus metabolizes caffeine slowly and it can also trigger acid reflux. The rest of us can relax when we say, "Make mine a Grande."

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