A few weeks ago, I wrote about the body’s stress response, or “fight-or-flight” response. The article described what happens inside the body in a situation of immediate danger – the alarm phase. The changes I described are mainly due to the stress hormone adrenaline. It triggers a cascade of mechanisms designed to save our life. The effects of adrenaline are very short lived.
For more than 60 years now, we have been told to limit our fat intake or – better still – to avoid it altogether, because not only does fat make you fat, it also causes heart disease.
It turns out though, that obesity rates have gone up ever since. Is that because still nobody is listening to nutrition advice? Not at all! People did listen: We now eat a lot less fat than we used to, especially of the saturated kind. The shops are full of low-fat products, we’re buying lean meat – preferably poultry –, skimmed milk and skinny lattes. And yet, heart disease is still one of the two leading causes of death in the UK alongside cancer.
Do you love your coffee? And if you do, do you feel guilty about it? After all, coffee seems to be bad for you and many health experts discourage its consumption. But as with most things concerning health and nutrition: It’s not black and white.
We all know people who can guzzle a “venti” (20 fl oz = 600 ml) and still have a nap afterwards, when others only so much as sniff an espresso and are wired all day long. That’s because how you respond to caffeine – coffee’s most predominant active compound – is governed by your genes, some of which affect the way your liver processes caffeine, others influence how the brain reacts.