Paige M asks: “I’ve heard recent studies report that coffee is actually really healthy and almost like a superfood. If this is true, why can’t we have any while we are detoxing with The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet?”
It is true that coffee may prevent stroke, diabetes, cancer, depression, gallstones, dementia, and for some individuals recently studied in the latest research, it can even prolong life.
If coffee is so powerful and study after study proclaims its health benefits, then why do I consistently suggest people eliminate it from their daily routine when they seek my medical advice? Great question.
The obvious reasons for elimination are that coffee can become addictive and make some of you crave cream, sugar, cakes, and other sugary, refined carbohydrates. Coffee can also steal your appetite and replace real food in your diet, depriving you of nutrient-dense real, whole foods. But there are other important reasons to forego coffee.
If you are interested in getting healthy, I encourage you to start by taking this quiz to see if you need to detox! Then, I encourage you to sit with a cup of herbal tea and keep reading.
2 Essential Reasons to Eliminate Coffee
The following is a simple breakdown of the two essential reasons coffee becomes one of the first things I have you eliminate during The 10-Day Detox Diet.
Reason 1: Caffeine
Ask any coffee drinker what they love most about their daily cup and you are sure to hear that the caffeine perks them up. That caffeine also keeps them coming back for more, cup after cup. For some people, caffeine is energizing and lifts their mood. However, for many others, such as anyone with Adrenal Fatigue, that caffeine is actually draining.
Adrenal Fatigue – or more accurately, Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis Dysregulation (or HPA axis-dysregulation) – occurs when your circulating cortisol levels exceed your body’s capacity to function or handle stress.
If you feel tired but wired, like you can’t sleep even though you are exhausted, or you have trouble exercising or recovering from exercise, you may be suffering from HPA axis-dysregulation. Other signs include craving caffeine and sugar simply because your body craves energy. You might have sweaty palms, irregular heartbeats, and feel dizzy upon standing.
People with HPA axis-dysregulation are already pushed to their limits and essentially don’t have the ability to tolerate more stress, even if it is in the form of a chemical (caffeine) and not mental or emotional (like stress from work or family).
If you drink caffeine but what you really need is rest, recovery, and relaxation, you put yourself at risk for many health issues such as hypertension, metabolic syndrome, sleep deprivation, obesity, type 2 diabetes, poor digestion, mood, poor cognition, hormonal imbalance, and immune system impairment.
If you feel exhausted and run down or have turned to The 10-Day Detox Diet to press reset on your total mind-body experience, you will quickly learn firsthand how beneficial detoxing from caffeine is.
Just remember to take a few days to properly withdraw from the caffeine so you don’t experience the funky side effects that going cold turkey brings. After 10 days caffeine-free, you might decide to invite back a cup a day to see how you respond, or you may feel such relief without the caffeine hijacking your system that you continue to omit it from your routine and opt for water or herbal tea instead.
Reason 2: Gut Irritation
Coffee is acidic. Let’s face it: Most people love their coffee with a touch of cream and sugar to buffer the acidity that black coffee causes. Coffee increases gastric secretions, which can harm the sensitive lining of the gut, and it can also create major damage in sensitive individuals who react to the chemicals inherently found in coffee.
Coffee is a seed. Like most seeds, it contains a certain level of toxicity, naturally, to defend and protect the plant. But certain people react poorly to those toxins as well as the toxins present in the process of producing coffee or decaffeinating it. This irritation of the gut due to coffee can manifest as pain, poor digestion, or other less obvious systemic symptoms.
When I work with patients one-on-one, I always begin with an assessment to check gut function. A functioning gut is essential to optimizing health. During The 10-Day Detox Diet, I recommend people remove all potential triggers which create an over-reactive immune system and systemic inflammation and can cause damage to the gut.
My goal is to help restore gut health and examine the impact gut health has on the entire body. Often, finding the root cause of gut dysfunction is as simple as examining the food we eat and looking at how individuals tolerate specific foods. Often, people have sensitivities to common foods in our standard American diet (SAD) such as gluten, dairy, corn, eggs, and soy.
The number one food people are sensitive to is gluten. Interestingly enough, people who have celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity also tend to show sensitivity to coffee. This is due to the similar molecular structure that both gluten and coffee proteins share.
This effect is known as bio-mimicry. Functional medicine practitioners see this all the time clinically, when we test people using a special food sensitivity test called Cyrex Array 4 Gluten Cross Reactivity Panel.
If you feel this test would benefit you, please consider working with my team at The UltraWellness Center. But before you do that, just try the 10-day elimination of gluten and coffee and see if it is your gluten sensitivity that explains why you don’t tolerate coffee!
I invite you to go on a health adventure, using my book The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet Cookbook as a life-saving tool, opening up many possibilities of delicious recipes that are free of gluten, dairy, and caffeine. If you are interested in learning how your body responds without the taxing nature of caffeine or the irritating, pro-inflammatory qualities of coffee, jump on board today and see how you do with a simple 10-Day Detox Diet!
Wishing you health and happiness,
Mark Hyman, MD.