Revisiting Coffee…..

It was not that long ago that I had an email exchange with Rae of Forays In The Kitchen regarding coffee and its effects on endurance athletes.  In the exchange I learned that drinking caffeinated coffee 1 hour prior to a workout of 1 hour or longer is a good thing as it takes this long for the caffeine jolt to kick.  It is with this thought process that I get up at 3am and drink 4 oz of coffee along with 4 – 8 oz of water and a 100-150 calorie breakfast (usually a slice of whole wheat toast with 1/2 tablespoon almond butter and 1/2 small banana sliced on top.)  I then fall asleep for 4o to 45 minutes and hit my workout by 5am feeling energized.

After my workout I come home and have decaf at this point and for the rest of the day.  In our discussion I learned that decaf is fine to have when not working out because of it’s lack of fat deposits.  I happen to love the taste of coffee and so drinking decaf is easy for me and I know I don’t need any jolt that the caffeine provides.  I also learned that coffee is not a dehydrator (as is common belief) so drinking it through out the day is fine.  I typically have that 4 oz early, then 8 oz after my workout and another 8 oz of decaf around 2pm.  This afternoon cup is part of a habit that I formed prior to becoming an endurance athlete and drinking caffeinated coffee throughout the day.

In the Cook Train Eat Race Gazette that I started recently, came across an article titled:  Coffee Pros and Cons.  The article is written by JP on Healthy Fellow and helped to shed some light in a different direction on coffee and its ‘pros and cons.’

Here is an excerpt from the article:

One of the most the positive aspects of coffee consumption is its apparent effect on those at risk for diabetes or already dealing with the disease. Diabetes is one the leading causes of health care complications and spending. Figures from the 2007 Diabetes Fact Sheet indicate that over 23.6 million adults and children have diabetes in the United States alone. An additional 57 million are regarded as “pre-diabetic”. The cost of treating diagnosed cases of diabetes is in the neighborhood of $174,000,000,000 a year. Therefore, the potential impact that the humble coffee bean can have on diabetes incidence and progression needs to be carefully considered. (1)

There are more facts and figures in the article and if you are truly interested in this topic I suggest that you read JPs post.  It is enlightening and informative. As a matter of fact JP is planning on doing a series on coffee and it is one that I will be following closely.

If that weren’t enough about coffee for you, just under JPs article in the Cook Train Eat Race Gazette was an article titled: Got a craving for fast food? Skip the coffee, study suggests.  The first paragraph of the article grabbed me and forced me to read the rest even though I do not eat fast food at all.  The first paragraph states:

Researcher Marie-Soleil Beaudoin has discovered not only that a healthy person’s blood sugar levels spike after eating a high-fat meal, but that the spike doubles after having both a fatty meal and caffeinated coffee — jumping to levels similar to those of people at risk for diabetes.

That says a lot and the article goes on to clarify the study.  Now the study and its findings are above my head but just reading that a fatty meal and caffeinated coffee could spike your blood sugar levels is enough for me to tell family and friends that the Egg McMuffin and Coffee is a bad idea.

If you are are dietitian and would be willing to shed some light on this second article it would be greatly appreciated.


How Much Coffee Do You Drink?  If you read my first post on coffee have you changed your habits?  Will these other articles force you t0 take a second look at how you consume coffee?

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  1. Jeff Irvin says:

    I drink A LOT of coffee. Every day. It is my only vice and I have no desire to give it up. I race and train better with coffee! And, like you, I love the taste!
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  2. I drink 2 cups a day in the morning and after my workout. I’m not getting up an hour earlier than I need to just to drink coffee, breakfast unless I’m racing a half marathon or full. Does it help you performance? Perhaps, but really, I’m not running for money so does it really matter?
    Detroit Runner recently posted..Sub 2 hour for a marathonMy Profile

    • Jason says:

      Jeff –

      I would say it matters to me. No, I am not racing for money but I am racing for pride which to me is worth more. I want to ensure that I am doing everything I can to help my performance.

      I treat my training like race day so I don’t run into any GI issues on race day or am tired b/c I have not trained a certain way and race day is totally different.

      So in short my answer to you is that it matters to me, but it doesn’t have to matter to everybody and I will never impose my training on anybody else.

  3. I don’t drink any coffee – never liked the taste. Can’t even tolerate coffee ice cream. One of the nutritionists that I’ve worked with believes the time lag for caffeine is 15-20 minutes, not an hour, and is much more effective if you get rid of your caffeine habit for 2-3 weeks before event day.
    The Rock Star recently posted..Why do I keep breaking myselfMy Profile

    • Jason says:

      Why does she believe you should kick the habit 2-3 week prior to event day? If you have been training and drinking it wouldn’t that cause your body to have to adjust to it for 2-3 weeks just prior to your event? I wouldn’t start taking a new energy bar 2-3 weeks prior to the event so I have a hard time understanding why she believes this is what you should do.

      • The deal is that the impact of caffeine, like many drugs, diminishes over time since the body gets “used” to that dose. In order to get the response expected either the dose (during the race) needs to be dramatically increased compared to normal consumption (very difficult especially for a coffee-aholic type) or the body needs to reset to a lower normal or no dose. He says that takes about 2-3 weeks Otherwise the benefits of caffeine are less physical than expected (but the mental benefits can remain)
        The Rock Star recently posted..Why do I keep breaking myselfMy Profile

        • Jason says:

          I have heard that from dietitan friends about caffeine and its diminishing affexts if you consume it constantly.

          I happen to only drink about 4 oz in the morning before a workout and at no other time. If it is an off day then I drink decaf and actually only drink decaf outside of that hour prior to working out.

          I am going to stick to the one hour b/c it works for me (even if only in mind.). I would be afraid of the impact for a bathroom trip mid-workout if I drank those 4 oz only 15 minutes prior to starting.

  4. Chuck says:

    I hate it straight, but I kind of like the flavor… So i added coffee to protein shakes. I love the HoneyMilk coffee flavor too.

    There’s actually benefits to having caffeine post workout as well! The caffeine stimulation helps the other post workout nutrients you are taking get to your muscles faster and helps them get more readily absorbed!

  5. I grew up being told by my horseback riding coach that coffee and soda dehydrate you and that we were only allowed to drink water or Gatorade before/during shows (looking back on it, whether it was true or not, she still probably did a good job of instilling healthy fueling habits in us kids:). Until the past couple of years, I was almost completely caffeine free (not so much on purpose, but because I did not like the taste of coffee and never drank soda). Because of this, I was scared of having caffeine before/during a workout, since I didn’t know how my body would react. I even made sure to avoid the gels that had caffeine in them for my marathon training!

    However, after a few more years of working in the “real world” and living with my husband, who drinks coffee every day, I have finally and officially become a coffee addict (once I started drinking it, it didn’t take long!:). In the past couple of years I have also seen a lot of articles (many of them in Runner’s World) about how coffee does not dehydrate you and how caffeine has actually been shown to improve endurance/sprint athlete’s performance. In the past year or so I’ve gone from avoiding caffeine at all costs to making sure I always get a small cup of coffee in on race morning and going straight for those gels with the caffeine in them!!:)
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  6. Michael says:

    1 pot a day… drink it between 0445 and 1000
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  7. lindsay says:

    i have 1 cup (travel mug) monday-friday *usually*. sometimes a mug (regular sized mug) on the weekend. it’s more of a habit/keep me from eating (if i’m sipping on it, i am less tempted to also eat all morning at my desk). i could probably easily switch to decaf for this — i really don’t think the caffeine is “waking me up” or that my 1/day has put any sort of addictiveness in me.
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  8. Jeannie says:

    I used to drink mostly regular coffee but not anymore. I drink half regular and half decaf in the mornings and then only decaf if I have any in the afternoon. I do drink regular about an hour before my long, hard workouts on the weekend and before races. It helps boost my energy and performance. It also helps with the elimination process before I head out the door for a long run or before I start a race. Like you, I just love the flavor of coffee at least once a day and I don’t mind decaf. I drink a lot more green tea now.

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