Does Coffee Hurt More Than It Helps?

Entering college, I promised myself I would not get addicted to coffee. A few of my friends in high school were already hooked on caffeine, and they said that it was inevitable to happen to me too. I didn’t want to believe them, yet a year later here I am sipping Dunkin Donuts every single day on my way to class. I absolutely love coffee now, but I can’t help but wonder if it hurts us more than it is supposed to help us. I’ve heard horror stories of people having awful withdrawal symptoms, and others having a messed up sleep schedule— all because of coffee. So, is coffee really the best thing for us? Or is it damaging us more than it should?


According to Mayo Clinic, an article published by Donald Hensrud, M.D. states that while many people associate coffee with causing many health problems, Dr. Hensrud may have a counter to that. The article points out that in a recently conducted study, there was no correlation between coffee and cancer/heart disease. The article further notes that coffee may actually be beneficial to us, decreasing mortality rates and even helping those suffering from depression. The article frequently mentions a study was conducted to point to these results, however the specifics of the study was not mentioned at all. We get no sense of data, or what type of experiment was conducted. I would say this article suffers from the File Drawer Problem because it fails to publish any evidence of results of the experiment. It just states that this experiment proved something, but provided no evidence to support that statement.

An article published by medicalnewstoday also discusses similar theories with numerical data, but again gives no specific examples of studies. This article does mention something that is vital to this hypothesis: that coffee affects each person differently. There are many third variables to recognize, that may point to why coffee has health effects on a person. For example, maybe that person’s family has a history of heart disease. Or what if you’re drinking decaf coffee? Would it still have the same effect even though there is no actual caffeine in it? The article says that caffeine can have different effects for all types of people, therefore making it difficult for us to come to a conclusion regarding the correlation that coffee causes heart disease.

Both articles fail to mention the specifics of the studies they claimed to get the results from, so I would probably conduct my own experiment to see the results for myself. At this point, there is not enough evidence to convince me one way or another, due to the lack of details concerning the experiments conducted. At this point I would probably undergo my own experiment and look at the results.

If I were to conduct an experiment, it would be a randomized control experiment. I would have two groups, with one group drinking coffee and another group drinking nothing. I would also have to be concrete with what I’m trying to figure out, meaning that I would need to develop a solidified hypothesis. So, I would pinpoint it down to one disease instead. Since the article from mayoclinic said the study tested if coffee increased the chances of heart disease, we will use that to determine the hypothesis.

So, does coffee intake correlate with an increased chance of getting heart disease? The experiment would be difficult to point to an answer, because the results aren’t something you can measure in a few weeks. Similar to the experiment we discussed in class with smoking correlating to cancer, it would be difficult to get accurate data on something like that because the effects would take too long to measure.

So would this point to a false negative? Do we believe coffee does nothing, and science proves that it in fact does nothing? It’s hard to say. more research would have to go into this hypothesis; but from what I researched already, the chances of coffee having negative effects on the human body, like heart disease for example, are slim to none.

The worst that could happen is you suffer from a little insomnia. But nothing life-threatening like cancer or heart disease. So drink all the coffee you want!

9 thoughts on “Does Coffee Hurt More Than It Helps?

  1. Xueyao Cao

    I do agree with the idea that the studies mentioned in the articles are suffered from file drawer problems. It would really became a big thing if something was discovered to certain the negative affects caused by coffee, so it might be possible that a lot of the times, studies failed to discover something, or didn’t published. I’m really impressed that you come up with your own designed experiment. The experiment you mentioned in the blog would certainly take a lot of time and effort, but once the findings are conformed, it would really be a powerful case. I think longitudinal experiments normally much convincing than other types of experiments.

  2. Darby Marie Showers

    I am pleased to know that there has been no uncovered, negative long-term effects from coffee use. I am an avid coffee drinker, and almost feel like I need it to start my day. There have been times when I have not drank coffee and noticed that I did not feel myself. People always warn me about limiting my intake, and urge me to drop the habit. I feel a lot better now knowing I am not doing much harm. Here is an article that talks about the benefits of drinking coffee!

  3. Connor Edward Opalisky

    I completely agree that coffee can have negative effects on a persons body. Like any drug, caffeine can be dangerous if consumed in excess amounts. According to AFPA Health and Fitness, drinking 250mg-750mg of caffeine can result in a caffeine over dose. This can lead to nausea, headaches, irregular heart beats and even anxiety attacks. The caffeine can also lead to ulcers, heartburn and and breast disease. While drinking coffee in moderation is usually not bad for a persons health, I believe it is worth noting that it can have harmful effects if consumed in excess.

  4. Yixiao Jiang

    I love drinking coffee. Actually, I am almost drinking coffee everyday until I got gastrosis and the doctor said it is not good if I continue drinking coffee. And also I have read an article about coffee which contains caffeine is one of the drug people took most frequent in the united states. However, I still believe there are some benefits of taking the coffee. Here is the video explain more about coffee.

  5. rvs5567

    I was also really addicted to coffee last year, and one thing I should point out is green tea. It saved me from a really bad coffee addiction. Tazo tea actually has just a bit less, and did great wonders. Yes I wasn’t super hyper, but it did the job for most of my day. I agree with you on the File Drawer problem, but also the Sharp Shooter problem. They are only focusing on a few aspects of what coffee could cause. My big issue with coffee is how dehydrating it is (without taking water in the day), and the amount of sugar and additives are put into one cup. My friend drank coffee all the time, then she went to the hospital because of dehydration. Yes, it might not cause heart disease, but if you are having it everyday (a sugary coffee), that is in no way healthy.

    My only one problem with your experiment is that you need to mention how much coffee they will have in a day, or given time period. A lot of people can go along the spectrum. You do have people who consume coffee maybe get in once in a bit, and you could also be dealing with people who drink 2 cups of a Starbucks iced mocha latte everyday. (That was me )

  6. Emma Gaetana Lepore

    I totally relate to this post on a personal level. I drink a ridiculous amount of coffee during the day and constantly wonder what the effects are on my body. Sometimes I get super jittery and dizzy and can feel my heart beating super fast, but for some reason I still count on my coffee to get me through the day! This post is very well written and incorporates so many different class topics. One thing that you could have mentioned, however, is the suggestion of a confounding variable. Some medications have a negative interaction with caffeine, which could potentially cause the heart disease in the long run. Although, yes, many college students are prescribed to certain pills, many that are not abuse them frequently. There could be a correlation that a student who takes pills to excel in school or get through the day is likely to also take pills to do the same thing, and those could clash. Check out this website that shows relationships and side effects between different drugs:

  7. Alexander Nicholas Cautela

    I would love if coffee has no adverse effects, but I’m really not sure that’s the case. Although I am a relatively stable person, I never realized how much stress, and even anxiety, coffee causes until I stopped using it for a week. Sometimes I get this feeling of surrender during class when I feel tired, yet stimulated. This feeling usually comes about because I am thinking about external factors (i.e. romance, family, musicianship). Consequently, I may sink into my stress because everything just “feels like a lot.” I know this sounds bad, but it is really a temporary, superficial feeling that goes away once I divert my attention away from schoolwork.
    We have been told our whole lives that we should avoid caffeine, but why? Symptoms like high blood pressure or heart disease seem to be genetic, and although they can be exacerbated by heavy caffeine consumption, it’s not quite fair to say that this habit itself CAUSES these symptoms. I’m about to write a blog on this, so stay tuned!

  8. Heather Grace McDermott

    This article was extremely interesting because I am an AVID coffee drinker. Since the beginning of high school I began to drink coffee not because I needed to wake up, but because I loved the taste of it. As weird as that is in itself, I automatically became addicted and need it every morning now. If I do not have time to get it I usually get a really bad headache. I was extremely happy that you showed how in those articles there is no evidence to support that coffee has extremely negative effects. Even if your post did include significant evidence, it probably still wouldn’t have stopped me from drinking it. Since you are also now addicted to coffee like me, I have been researching whether tea or coffee is better for you. Since both possess caffeine, what makes one better than the other? I came across a very interesting article that talks about which one is better for your health.

  9. Sarah Tarczewski

    Like most college student, I’m very busy. There just isn’t enough time in the day for me to get everything I need to done. (or… maybe I’m just terrible at time management) Because of this, I drink a fairly large amount of coffee. While this intake isn’t daily, it’s frequent enough that I HAVE worried about this question. Despite being on the quest for good grades, I wouldn’t want to do something that could cause severe problems for my body in the long run. I do experience many bouts with lack of sleep, but I’m glad to here there are no definitive long term effects for this coffee use!

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