If you were to heed the advice of every tabloid news story you read in a single week, you’d starve to death by the end of the month. One week it’s fruit that’s the biggest danger in the world, then it’s red meat, the fibre, then red wine, then tea, then coffee and so on and so forth. Scientists tell us one thing, nutritionists tell us something else and then a thousand and one people with nothing but personal opinions mount their soapboxes and spark their own rumours.

So really, it’s hardly surprising that coffee is somewhat blanketed in myths and fables that are completely and utterly fabricated.
Here’s a quick overview of 12 of our favourite coffee myths and the truths behind them:

1 – Coffee Doesn’t Contain Any Fat - Myth

As it’s the oils in the coffee beans that contain all the lovely flavour you’re looking for, it’s inevitable that coffee will indeed contain a small amount of fat. When drinking espresso for example you’re looking at a fat content of about 2.5%, while this drops to less than 0.5% for filter coffee. That is, until you go loading it with cream.

2 – Coffee Encourages Physical Activity - Fact

It’s a scientific fact that the caffeine in coffee is a stimulant and as such has an effect on the central nervous system. Coffee has long been used as something of an essential tool of choice for those required to stay up for long hours and for a quick jolt of additional energy when needed. There’s still much debate as to coffee’s real potential for increasing energy levels, but in terms of motivating activity it’s pretty conclusive.

3 – Coffee is Only Good For a Quick Energy Rush – Myth

It’s often said that coffee is only good for a quick perk of energy and then you’re left feeling even more fatigued afterwards. This isn’t necessarily true however as while the peak of the caffeine’s effect kicks in after about fifteen minutes, it has the potential to last for hours. It’s all about how fast the drinker’s body processes the caffeine and there’s really no hard and fast rule for everyone.
4- Quitting Coffee is Worse than Quitting Smoking – Myth

Studies have shown that the chances of suffering any real withdrawal symptoms by giving up or cutting down on coffee are extremely low.

5 – Coffee Can Help You Lose Weight – Fact

It’s not as if you can begin gorging on nothing but coffee and expect to lose weight, but at the same time caffeine is a known weight loss assistor. There’s evidence to prove that caffeine speeds up the body’s metabolism and can therefore assist with the burning of excess fat – precisely why the primary active ingredient in many diet aids is caffeine.

6 - Coffee Prevents Restful Sleep – Myth

This is another one of those where it all comes down to the individual and not the coffee itself. For those that find themselves bouncing off the walls after a single cup of coffee, it’s hard to believe that some folk can down an espresso shot and then go straight to sleep…but it’s true. It’s all about the way your own unique body processes the caffeine coffee contains.

7 – Coffee is Good For Alertness – Fact

When it comes to alertness and reaction times, studies have shown that caffeine can increase both by approximately 10%. This is precisely why coffee is recommended for long-distance drivers who begin to feel drowsy and for any workers experiencing the famed mid-afternoon mental lull.

8 – Dark Coffee is Always Stronger – Myth

It’s the kind of thing you only learn after trying a fair few coffees, but rest assured that darkness has nothing to do with strength. The color of the coffee is mostly down to the length of time the beans were roasted for – it’s usually the roasts with the lighter colours that come out with the stronger tastes. The acidity of the coffee will generally be increased with a lighter roast and bitterness will increase with a darker roast, so it’s a good idea to sample a few and find your own ideal balance.

9 – Coffee Is a Cancer Trigger -Myth

Perhaps the most dangerous and persistently perpetuated myths of all, there are still those scaremongers out there that insist coffee causes cancer. In truth however, hundreds of studies have been commissioned, carried out and analyzed by the world’s leading medical authorities and no evidence whatsoever has been found to suggest that coffee increases a person’s risk of any cancer. Even the World Health Organisation released a statement to quell the needless panic, which said in simple black and white terms that drinking coffee on a regular basis has no effect on a person’s cancer risk.

In fact, there’s actually evidence to suggest that the antioxidants found in most coffees could reduce a person’s risk of developing cancer.

10 – Coffee is Linked with Parkinson’s Disease – Myth

Another less common though equally worrying myth is that of the link between coffee and Parkinson’s Disease…as link that quite simply doesn’t exist. Like the above example, all evidence to date suggests that regular coffee consumption will in fact lower an individual’s likelihood of developing the disease.

11- Coffee Can Raise the Blood Pressure – Myth and Fact

Are those coffee drinkers that consume tons of the stuff day in and day out more likely to suffer high blood pressure? Not at all – regular coffee drinkers generally have the same blood pressure as everyone else. However, if you aren’t a regular coffee drinker and then suddenly decided to binge on strong coffee, chances are it will temporarily cause a raise in your blood pressure. But then again, this raise wouldn’t be any greater than that attributed to laughing or chatting.

12 – Cholesterol Levels Can be Affected by Coffee – Mostly Myth

There’s only one method of brewing coffee known to many that’s been in any way adversely linked with harmful cholesterol…and that’s the Scandinavian method. So if the coffee you drink is brewed in the conventional way…as in the way it’s brewed largely everywhere else in the world…this is again nothing to worry about.