Bar Man, january 23, 2015

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We are far enough into the new year to have given up on some of our resolutions, but what about drink? Normally I take the health scares with a pinch of salt, but the charge sheet put forward by the Daily Mail seems pretty serious.

It’s bad for your skin, being a diuretic it flushes water from your system leaving your skin as dry as an old boot, and the artificial stimulation it causes directs oxygen rich blood to the heart and lungs, away from the skin reducing its nourishment. This can lead to the skin becoming dense and congested, in other words cellulite.

The mouth will also become dehydrated reducing the amount of saliva which kills bacteria which can cause bad breath. The dehydration can also lead to bladder problems with up to 70 per cent of people who have three or more drinks a day reporting problems.

With as many as 300 calories in each drink, watch out that your habit does not lead to you piling on the pounds.

Your sleep may be affected, as it can take up to 12 hours for the active ingredients to be flushed from the body. After an initial energy rush you are likely to feel tired and even if you sleep, your normal sleep patterns may be disturbed leaving you tired.

Minerals essential to healthy hair may be flushed form the body and leaving hair thin and lifeless, perhaps even grey. It increases the risk of premature baldness.

Effects on the female physiology can lead to a 27 per cent reduction in the chance of pregnancy, increase the risks of miscarriages and put unborn babies at risk.

It all sounds pretty unpleasant. Two or three little drinks a day and I may end up with bad skin, bad breath, grey hair, and cellulite and be unable to conceive a baby. I will go bald when the last grey hair drops out, become overweight, have a bladder infection and be unable to get a proper night’s sleep. It makes you think that this stuff ought to be banned, but as there is little chance of that I guess I will just have to give up coffee and stick to beer.

However, before you take drastic action, I feel that I ought to put the case for the defence. The Mail also reports that coffee cuts the risk of developing type two diabetes by 50 per cent (or in a separate article increase the risk by 50 per cent).

It may reduce the chance of dementia by up to 20 per cent, protect against gout and liver damage, improve the effectiveness of painkillers and improve memory and reaction times.

Other ‘authorities’ suggest the coffee will make you smarter, live longer, burn fat, improve gym performance, reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease by up to 60 per cent, fight depression, reduce the risk of strokes and make you happier.

Which goes to show that you can always find support to reinforce your prejudices if you look hard enough!

It seems to me that two rules apply. First, look who is paying for the research, and don’t be surprised if the findings are favourable to them. Second, drink coffee, beer or whatever else in moderation.