Tag Archives: Coffee

Coffee and Gluten: My Current Take

Greetings everyone, it’s been a few days since I’ve posted anything.  On the twitterverse the last few days there has been a great deal of talk about coffee and it’s apparent “danger” particularly with respects to possible gluten related sensitivity.  I love coffee, and I hate to see it get a bad name.  So, lets look at this a little more carefully.

First lets look at the source of this information.  Well, the problem is, there is no real source!  A chiropractor published information form “internal lab research” that 10% of coffee is a protein that cross reacts with gluten antibodies.  That is all the information we have.  I see no research study, no detailed information such as what type of coffee was tested, how it was tested, or how they connect this information to clinical implications.  How many coffees were tested etc?  I did a quick search on for “coffee and gluten” and I got zero hits.  So basically we have an “expert” stating his findings, and no actual data backing up his claims.  I would be vary wary of accepting this kind of statement as fact until we see more information.  Hopefully more detailed information will come soon, until then I will keep drinking my java.

I would like to note that after a quick we search on google, I was able to find the following organizations who have declared coffee gluten free:

-The Celiac Sprue Association

-The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness

-The University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center

-The Mayo Clinic

Please check the labels of your coffee as not all are gluten free due to processing conditions.  That said, most are clearly labeled if they contain no gluten or gluten byproducts.

Now, is coffee bad for you?  Let’s look at some research with coffee that tells us that the stuff is actually good for us!

-Drinking one to five cups of coffee per day reduces your risk of having a stroke by as much as 25 percent. (Susanna C. Larsson, et al. “Coffee Consumption and Risk of Stroke in Women.” Stroke: American Heart Association Journals, 119, 1116-1123.)

-Women who drink four cups of coffee per day are 20 percent less likely to be clinically depressed than women who drink only one cup of coffee per week. (Michael Lucas, et al. “Coffee, Caffeine, and Risk of Depression Among Women.”  Archives of Internal Medicine, 171 (17), 1571-1578.)

-People who drink more than six cups of coffee per day are 35 percent less likely to have type 2 diabetes than people who drink fewer than two cups of coffee per day. (Rob van Dam and Hu, Frank. “Coffee Consumption and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes.”  Journal of the American Medical Association, 294 (1), 97-104.)

-A Harvard School of Public Health study shows that men who drink six cups of coffee a day have a 60 percent decreased chance of developing a dangerous form of prostate cancer, as well as a 20 percent decreased chance of developing any other kinds of prostate cancer. (Journal of National Cancer Institute)

-Drinking a few cups of coffee a day could lower the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease by as much as 25 percent, according to a study published last year in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. (Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease)

-Coffee moderately reduces the incidence of dying from cardiovascular disease (Lopez-Garcia et al. The Relationship of Coffee Consumption with Mortality” Annals of Internal Medicine 2008

-Coffee consumption found to be inversely associated with total and cause-specific mortality.  Freedman et al. Association of Coffee Drinking with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality. New England Journal of Medicine 2012

JAMA, Archives of Internal Medicine, Stroke, New England Journal of Medicine…we are talking heavy hitters here.  It is very, very hard to get research published in these peer-reviewed journals.  You can never believe everything you read, but starting with a well respected source is always comforting.

Now please understand, I am not discounting the above claims of cross-reactivity of 1/10 of coffee to gluten, I just cannot be convinced without any further evidence.  As in all things, you need to weight the good with the bad when making food choices.  As long as we have a wealth of solid clinical data showing the multiple health benefits of coffee I would be slow to stop drinking based on one article presented without evidence.

Think of it this way; If a drug company released “internal lab data” claiming it’s drug superior to another, and left it at that, would you believe it?  They could of course be right, but why not provide more information to help people make more informed decisions.  Without this information it leaves too many questions unanswered to change your behavior.  Including information about the specialty lab which can test you for this condition also should concern us for an underlying connection between the source and the proprietary reference lab.

The world of medical information changes daily, and the internet makes this information spread like wild fire in only a few days time.  When presented with information, particularly information pertaining to your health, always take a step back and examine the source, the credibility of the source, and any information contrary to that which is being presented.

My mind will always remain open, and it may change concerning coffee and gluten if more definitive clinical data is presented strong enough to change my mind.  For now though I see no scientifically based reason to stop drinking coffee.  In fact, I see a great deal of scientific evidence that I should probably drink more!

Yes you are right, a nice hot cup sounds pretty good right about now!



Posted by on June 19, 2012 in General Paleo Discussion


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