Win the War on Coffee Addiction

Coffee, Java, Espresso, Mocha, Frappuccino, Cafe Latte.... These names of coffee no doubt produce a pleasing aroma to many. Coffee's ability to enhance mood, physical activity, and mental performance makes it a widely consumed beverage. Many popular coffee drinks boast over 500 mg of caffeine, yet caffeine's just one of the thousands of different substances contained in coffee.

Dr. John McDougall writes in his article, Quitting Is Better Than a Lifetime of Medications or Worse, that many of these substances "have powerful [adverse] pharmacological effects on the human body." Recent observational studies showing coffee having protective effects against certain types of cancer and diabetes however have also been seen. Dr. Joel Fuhrman addresses the outcomes of these studies by pointing out that most of the time, the participants in these studies are "eating the standard American diet and therefore starving for antioxidants and phytochemicals." He explains in further detail, saying, "The standard American diet so nutrient-poor that a significant portion of people's phytochemical intake comes from their morning coffee. It is doubtful that coffee would offer any additional protection on top of a nutrient dense diet - the responsible phytochemicals can be obtained from other plant foods and the diet would not be so lacking in antioxidants. The only reason coffee is beneficial is because of the severe deficiencies in the plant-derived phytochemicals in the diet of most Americans, and coffee at least supplies something." This would explain why coffee has been shown to offer some protection against disease, yet the protection is mostly for those who consume the typical American diet.

If you drink coffee, you may want to consider the following health consequences associated with this beverage:

Injurious Effects Associated With Coffee Consumption

Dr. McDougall Offers Some Ways on How to Quit

"Coffee consumption causes physical dependence – you are addicted – making quitting difficult and painful. Headaches, fatigue, depression, and sleepiness can be expected when use is suddenly stopped. Withdrawal symptoms begin within 12 to 16 hours and peak at 24 to 48 hours. This process may last as long as one week."

"There are two ways to quit; first and best is to simply stop the coffee and suffer the withdrawal. Some of the symptoms, such as the headache, can be effectively relieved with common analgesics, such as aspirin or Tylenol. There are also immediate rewards, such as almost overnight relief of the indigestion and urinary frequency, which should keep you motivated."

"A less painful way to quit coffee is by substitution with another source of caffeine, such as black or green tea. Teas have fewer side effects (and maybe a few health benefits from their antioxidants and other phytochemicals), but they still offer a lift in the morning. Then, over time, you can reduce the dosage of caffeine by making your beverage weaker – eventually switching to a non-caffeinated, herbal tea."

Fasting has also shown to be very beneficial for those who want to overcome food addictions, including additions to stimulants such as coffee. Resources available for fasting can be seen here and here. Facilities such as TrueNorth Health Center offers a supportive live-in environment with physicians that specializes in water-only fasting.


Coffee has powerful addictive qualities. As demonstrated above, health conditions associated and worsened by coffee are numerous. These include "insomnia, anxiety, gastroesophageal reflux (heartburn), high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, certain heartbeat rhythm irregularities, nervous tremor, endometriosis, headaches, insulin resistance, iron deficiency, aortic stiffening and blood vessel hardening, rheumatoid arthritis, fibrocystic breast disease, weight gain, teeth-grinding, jaw-clenching, frequent urination, elevated eye pressure (glaucoma), diarrhea, osteoporosis and periodontal diseases." Additionally, coffee has been positively associated with a higher all-cause mortality in men especially deaths from cancer.

Dr. McDougall summarizes by saying, "If not for the side effects, this might be the ideal legal, mind-altering, drug. But, as with all drugs, there are prices to be paid." Dr. Joel Fuhrman says that "coffee is most like a drug, not a food. Like most drugs it may have some minor benefits, but its toxic effects and resultant risks overwhelm those minor advantages. Caffeine is a stimulant and a long and healthy life is most consistently achieved when we avoid stimulants and drugs and meet our nutritional needs with as little exposure to toxicity as possible."

The stimulating effects from coffee are highly addictive. Weaning yourself off of coffee will take time, effort, and some discomfort, but living an addiction-free life will greatly improve your overall health and pocketbook as well!

Dr. McDougall encourages his viewers to kick the habit in this 2-minute video regarding coffee.

Please watch this video to see how little caffeine it takes to change blood flow to your brain and beware of the statement at the end stating a few cups a day is not dangerous "but keep in mind, a little caffeine can do, a LOT".