Features NY Life — 04 October 2011
Healthy New York: Drinking Coffee

A Guest Blog by Registered Dietitian Leslie Goldstein of HealthyStepNutrition.com

The fall weather is upon us as we start October. Local coffee shops in town have been bustling with crowds getting their first warm drinks of the season. That snug feeling inside as you taste that first sip of coffee is always inviting and comforting. So for those of you coffee “addicts,” don’t fear, you’re not alone.  According to the National Coffee Association 56% of Americans are habitual coffee drinkers. And take a sigh of relief…there are many benefits to drinking your morning (or afternoon and evening!) cup of Joe!

Benefits of Coffee:

  • Antioxidants- coffee is the number 1 source of antioxidants in the US.  These substances protect your body from free radicals that are produced when you break down food or environment toxins such as tobacco, smog and radiation.  They also help prevent heart disease and cancer. 
  • Lowers risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes, Parkinson’s Disease and dementia
  • Recent studies show that coffee drinkers who averaged 2-3 cups a day have a decreased risk of developing depression
  • Probiotics- “good” bacteria in the gut that can help decrease gas, diarrhea and constipation and aid the immune system
  • Helps relieve stress and gives an energy boost

But how much is too much? 

According to the Mayo Clinic, 200-300 milligrams (mg) of caffeine a day, or 2-4 cups of coffee are not harmful.  Be careful, though, as not all cups are created equal!  Starbucks coffee for example includes more caffeine than your average cup (12 oz tall= 260 mg, 16 oz grande= 330 mg and a 24 oz venti = 415 mg).

Signs and symptoms that you may be drinking too many cups include the following: difficulty sleeping, nervousness, anxiety, upset stomach, fast heart beat or irritability.  Additionally, coffee acts as a diuretic increasing urine output and can cause dehydration.

Although, coffee appears as though it is a good beverage of choice, there are some choices that include more calories and added sugars.  Be aware of extra hidden sources in the following seasonal 16 oz servings (and these are without the whip!)

  • Café mocha- 300 calories
  • Caramel apple cider – 90 calories
  • Caramel macchiato- 310 calories
  • Pumpkin Spice Latté- 360 calories

What to do instead of chugging coffee for that extra energy boost?  Take a walk, stretch, drink water (you may be dehydrated) or have a small snack of fruit for carbohydrates. 

See below for some good places in NYC to enjoy a warm cup of coffee:

- Leslie Goldstein, RD

Leslie Goldstein is a Registered Dietitian (RD) practicing in North Bergen and Hoboken, New Jersey. Leslie is an avid exerciser who combines her nutrition knowledge and passion with motivational support in counseling to help her clients make lifestyle changes. Leslie specializes in weight management, general wellness, Diabetes, bariatric surgery, hypertension and cardiovascular disease. Leslie accepts most major insurances. Telephone and/or online consults available.


8100 Kennedy Blvd. North Bergen, NJ 07047 Ph: 201-378-3287

Email: LeslieGoldsteinRD@gmail.com

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