I received a number of emails a few months ago when I released my article entitled “The Impact Of Caffeine On Thyroid Health”, as I had a number of people ask whether it was okay to drink one cup of coffee per day, or to drink tea or decaffeinated coffee. So I figured I’d write a brief blog post to clarify this.
We all obviously have our own personal biases and opinions. I honestly never have been a big coffee drinker in the past. I did drink a lot of soda growing up, but it wasn’t for the caffeine, as I just loved the taste, which of course was due to the high sugar content. In any case, the point I’m trying to get across is that because I never was a coffee drinker, I can’t relate to people who love drinking coffee or tea. And so I realize it’s easy for me to tell people to give up the coffee and other sources of caffeine, but it can be a big challenge when someone is addicted to it, or perhaps isn’t addicted but just loves drinking these beverages.
Getting back to “personal biases and opinions”, I attended a seminar a few months ago on thyroid and adrenal health. The presenter was a coffee drinker, and stated that she thought it was fine for most people to drink some coffee in moderation…even those people who had thyroid and adrenal problems. She confessed that part of this was due to her own personal bias in that she would never want to give up coffee herself. So it’s easy to pass along our personal biases, and I’m guilty of this too at times. I’m not criticizing this presenter, as she just didn’t target coffee, as she also stated that it’s okay to consume most other things in moderation as well.
However, every circumstance is different. For example, I’ve stated numerous times how I’m not an extremist when it comes to gluten. While I believe that most people should go on a gluten free trial, and realize that some people do need to avoid gluten on a permanent basis, I don’t think that every single person with an autoimmune thyroid condition needs to avoid gluten for the rest of their life. If someone avoids gluten and is doing better, then obviously they should continue to avoid it for awhile. This still doesn’t mean they will need to avoid it on a permanent basis, as some people can reintroduce gluten into their diet once the inflammation is gone, which of course can take a good amount of time. Of course many of the gluten-based products are genetically modified, which only causes more problems with food allergies, and so one really should minimize their consumption of these products anyway.
Would You Like Cream and Sugar In Your Coffee?
This blog post isn’t about gluten, but instead is about coffee. And when it comes to the caffeine, if someone has problems with their adrenal glands then I personally think it’s best to avoid coffee altogether until the health of their adrenal glands is restored. Others will disagree and state that drinking one cup of coffee per day is fine. And by one cup I’m of course referring to eight ounces, and not a huge cup of coffee you can buy at Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts. In any case, some people with compromised adrenals can drink one eight ounce cup of coffee and do fine, while others won’t do fine. The problem is that I don’t know who will do fine, and who won’t be okay, which is why I think it’s a good idea to cut it out altogether.
As you know, the problem with coffee isn’t just the caffeine. Many people need to add cream and sugar to the coffee. So for the person with weak adrenals, the sugar can cause some big problems. Of course this depends on how much sugar is added, as some people will add three or four packets of sugar to each cup of coffee, while others are happy with one packet of sugar. Others use artificial sweeteners, which is a topic for another blog post (I actually have written about this in the past). The cream also is something people can react to, although there are some organic creamers people can use.
Besides the impact the caffeine and any added cream or sugar can have on one’s health, one also needs to consider that many different chemicals are found in coffee. One of these chemicals is Acrylamide, which is a possible carcinogen. This is controversial, and apparently there isn’t as much Acrylamide in brewed coffee as in instant coffee. But just remember that this is just one of many chemicals found in coffee.
Is Drinking Organic Coffee Better?
If someone is going to drink coffee, I do recommend for them to drink organic coffee, since it doesn’t have all of the chemicals that non-organic coffee has. Of course the caffeine will still be a factor, although some people switch to organic decaffeinated coffee. If someone does this and minimizes the amount of cream and sugar they add, then this definitely is better than getting a big cup of coffee at McDonalds or Starbucks. But some people don’t want to give up the caffeine, and as I stated earlier, for some people this isn’t a problem, but for others it can affect their recovery.
How about drinking tea? Once again, due to the caffeine you want to be careful about drinking too much tea. Toxins can also be an issue as well, and so anyone with thyroid or adrenal issues also needs to be careful about drinking too much tea on a daily basis. I realize for some people it is boring to drink nothing but water, and of course there is controversy with water consumption as well. But I still would try to consume mostly purified water, and minimize your consumption of both coffee and tea.
In summary, many people with thyroid and autoimmune thyroid conditions can drink one cup of coffee without a problem. Heck, some people might even be able to drink more than one cup of coffee per day without having any issues. On the other hand, some people really do need to avoid the coffee and tea, and this is especially true when the adrenal glands are compromised. For those who absolutely refuse to give these beverages up, at least consider switching to an organic brand so you’re not exposed to the chemicals, try not to drink more than one eight ounce cup per day, and also try to minimize the amount of cream and sugar you add to your coffee or tea.