Once again, science thinks our morning coffee is killing us, proving that our daily intake impacts our ability to remember stuff.
One morning in the year 2050, when the world’s coffee supply runs out, we’ll decry our short-sighted mass production of a limited resource. Rightly, we’ll weep, knowing that its all our fault. However, there’s another subset of consumers who will feel the pinch when the time comes. I’m talking, of course, about the scientific minds who have spent great time and energy proving adding minute definition to our most ubiquitous liquid pal.
Indeed, another study has made itself known, suggesting that our daily intake of the beverage is literally changing our brains. For posterity, the study, published in Cerebral Cortex noting that drinking the ooze alters our brain’s grey matter. Incidentally, the same study suggests that coffee has no effect on our sleeping patterns.
Per the study, “Grey matter generally comprises the brain’s outermost layer and consists of neuronal cell bodies, otherwise known as soma. White matter, meanwhile, is made up of the connecting branches that link neurons together, along which electrical signals are transmitted.”
The study roped in 20 regular coffee drinkers, feeding them caffeine tablets, followed by an equal period on a placebo. At the end of each period, the participants were scanned, and the researchers discovered that the volume of grey matter in their brains decreased after the coffee period, but were restored after the time on the placebo.
As the researchers put it, “The effects were particularly noticeable in the right medial temporal lobe, which contains key structures such as the hippocampus, parahippocampus, and fusiform gyrus, and is associated with memory function.”
However, it’s not a bad thing, apparently, as the “results do not necessarily mean that caffeine consumption has a negative impact on the brain,” explained study author Dr Carolin Reichert. “But daily caffeine consumption evidently affects our cognitive hardware, which in itself should give rise to further studies,” the doctor noted.
Which, yay! More studies on coffee. Speaking of which, back in October, the world of science argued about the exact point where one should take their morning cup, and like all studies, articulates all the things we’re doing wrong. According to the University of Bath, the optimal time to imbibe our responsibly-sourced texas tea is after breakfast, not before.
According to ScienceDaily, “Research from the Centre for Nutrition, Exercise & Metabolism at the University of Bath (UK) looked at the effect of broken sleep and morning coffee across a range of different metabolic markers. Writing in the British Journal of Nutrition the scientists show that whilst one night of poor sleep has limited impact on our metabolism, drinking coffee as a way to perk you up from a slumber can have a negative effect on blood glucose (sugar) control.”
Also on The Big Smoke
- Can’t decide if you need a coffee or a nap? Have both at the same time!
- How much coffee can you drink before it kills you? The internet doesn’t know
The study suggests that “strong black coffee consumed before breakfast substantially increased the blood glucose response to breakfast by around 50%. Although population-level surveys indicate that coffee may be linked to good health, past research has previously demonstrated that caffeine has the potential to cause insulin resistance. This new study, therefore, reveals that the common remedy of drinking coffee after a bad night’s sleep may solve the problem of feeling sleepy but could create another by limiting your body’s ability to tolerate the sugar in your breakfast.”
The leader of the study, Professor James Betts, noted: “We know that nearly half of us will wake in the morning and, before doing anything else, drink coffee — intuitively the more tired we feel, the stronger the coffee. This study is important and has far-reaching health implications as up until now we have had limited knowledge about what this is doing to our bodies, in particular for our metabolic and blood sugar control. Put simply, our blood sugar control is impaired when the first thing our bodies come into contact with is coffee especially after a night of disrupted sleep. We might improve this by eating first and then drinking coffee later if we feel we still feel the need for it. Knowing this can have important health benefits for us all.”
Just leave us alone, damn it.