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Coffee makes you move more but sleep less, new study finds

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A rigorous new study looking at the health effects of coffee consumption has found good news and bad news for coffee lovers.

Studies have shown that coffee has a marked effect on physical activity levels. On average, I was able to walk an extra 1,000 steps per day. This is a significant increase in activity that may help explain why coffee consumption has long been associated with better health.

However, a study published in New England Journal of Medicinefound several shortcomings in the daily cup. The results showed that on days that drank coffee, sleep time decreased by about 36 minutes each night, and that the more coffee the person drank, the shorter the sleep time.

The study also looked at the effects of coffee on heart palpitations, a relatively common experience for healthy coffee drinkers. The study found that despite warnings by some health officials that drinking coffee could be a side effect of drinking coffee, in healthy men and women, coffee was associated with a common condition known as premature atrial contraction. I found that it didn’t cause palpitations of the typical type.

However, coffee consumption can lead to an increase in another type of heart palpitations known as premature ventricular contractions.These extra or irregular heartbeats are fairly common and benign. Most people experience them from time to time and can become anxious, but most experts say that normally healthy people don’t need to worry.

The findings suggest that the health effects of coffee are complex. While coffee can be beneficial to many people, lowering the risk of chronic disease and possibly even extending life, it can also interfere with sleep and cause heart palpitations.

“The reality is that coffee is neither good nor bad. increase. “Generally, this study suggests that coffee consumption is almost certainly generally safe. We need to recognize that there are some real, measurable physiological effects of these.”

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Sorting out the effects of coffee on overall health

Coffee is one of the most commonly consumed beverages in the world, and decades of research have suggested that coffee primarily has beneficial effects. Many observational studies have shown that coffee drinkers live longer and have lower rates of diabetes, cancer, liver disease, depression and other chronic diseases. and shows only correlations, not cause and effect. It also relies on self-reported data, which may not always be reliable.

At the same time, research on coffee and cardiovascular health is somewhat conflicting. early research It has been shown that coffee can be harmful to the heart as it spikes blood pressure, heart rate and adrenaline and raises cholesterol levels.

A recent study found that drinking a few cups of coffee each day, including decaffeinated coffee, may actually lower your risk of dying from heart disease and stroke. Some experts believe that the high amounts of antioxidants and other anti-inflammatory compounds found in coffee are to blame.

Despite the lack of solid evidence, health officials are concerned that people with heart disease, especially those with heart rhythm disorders such as atrial fibrillation, may experience palpitations, drinking coffee and other alcoholic beverages. I have been warned to avoid caffeinated beverages.

To get a clearer picture of coffee’s health effects, Marcus and his colleagues recruited 100 healthy men and women in San Francisco and gave them Fitbits, a continuous glucose monitor, and an electrocardiogram device that tracks their heart rhythm for 14 days. Equipped with

Each participant followed a strict coffee schedule. That is, he was instructed to drink as much caffeinated coffee as he wanted for two days, then abstain for two days, and repeat the cycle for two weeks. Participants were told to press a button on their heart monitor every time they drank coffee to record their intake in real time.

To make sure participants followed their instructions, the researchers sent daily reminders and even refunded them if they provided date-stamped coffee receipts. format was used to track coffee shop visits.

New data on coffee, sleep and exercise

On coffee drinking days, participants tended to drink about 1-3 cups of coffee.

Coffee had a clear effect on sleep. They closed their eyes for about 7.2 hours each night on non-coffee days and about 6.6 hours on coffee-drinking days.

Genetics appeared to play a role: People with genetic mutations known as “slow metabolizers” of caffeine performed better when they drank coffee compared to “fast metabolizers.” Sleep has decreased significantly. is longer. (Many consumer DNA testing companies, such as 23andMe, can tell you whether your genes metabolize caffeine faster or slower.)

The effects on physical activity were particularly pronounced. UCSF’s Marcus said it wasn’t clear why people took the extra 1,000 steps on the day they drank coffee. They could have had more energy and motivation.

In any case, adding 1,000 steps per day reduces mortality by 6-15%. “The effect size is very similar to the magnitude of mortality improvement observed in coffee drinkers,” the study notes.

“This is a clinically important difference in physical activity that may have positive long-term effects,” Marcus said.

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Researchers were particularly interested in the effects of coffee on the heart. A premature atrial beat is a type of irregular heartbeat that originates from the upper chambers of the heart called the atria, and a ventricular premature beat originates from the lower chambers called the ventricles. Almost everyone experiences these heart palpitations as normal, which can feel like your heart is pounding or pounding.

Researchers found that people experienced about 50% more premature ventricular contractions on days they drank one or more cups of coffee. These are not considered dangerous, but there is some evidence that they may be warning signs in many cases.

1 observational study Marcus, a co-author in 2015, found that people who routinely experience many of these palpitations are more likely to develop heart failure. “It doesn’t mean everyone,” Marcus said. “But we know that the higher the holdings, the higher the risk.”

Cardiologist Amit Khera, who was not involved in the study, said the study was unique and important. Most people shouldn’t be concerned about coffee’s ability to cause heart palpitations, he said. But he cautioned that the findings don’t necessarily apply to people with heart disease.

“For a healthy person with a normal heart, this is what I call a quality-of-life issue, not a life-threatening issue,” said the director of the preventive cardiology program at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. “If you’re worried about feeling like your heart is pounding, based on these studies, you may be able to reduce the symptoms by giving up coffee,” says Kella.

People experienced more premature ventricular contractions on days they drank coffee, said Peter Kistler, an expert in cardiac rhythm disorders who studies the health effects of coffee, but the incidence was lower. “People should be reassured that coffee is a safe and healthy part of their diet,” said a clinician at the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne. Kistler, director of electrophysiology research, said.

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Marcus said the discovery requires further investigation. In the meantime, however, people should tailor their coffee intake to their individual needs. If you need motivation to exercise, consider drinking coffee. However, if you suffer from insomnia or are concerned that you are at a higher risk of developing heart failure because of heart failure in your family, consider reducing the amount.

“There is no one-size-fits-all prescription or recommendation,” he added. “It really depends on the individual.”

Questions about healthy eating? Email EatingLab@washpost.com I may answer your question in a future column.

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