Welcome to a special airing of The Well Man's Podcast with my brother Keoni and our good friend Brian Brozy. Keoni is a natural and functional medicine doctor, similar to myself, and Brian is a student physical therapist and certified personal trainer. The three of us share not only our anecdotal experiences with coffee but what the leading studies and science have proven to provide in terms of general health benefits, effective dose responses, and so much more.
Connect with Keoni @keoniteta
Connect with Brian @bbrozy
Connect with me @jadeteta
Jade: [01:17] Alright, what’s going on everybody? Dr. Jade Teta here, and welcome to the Next Level Human podcast. This episode is actually going to be a replay from a podcast I did with my brother, Dr. Keoni Teta, and a good friend of ours, Brian Brozy, who – both of them run another podcast called The Well Man’s podcast. If you haven’t checked out that podcast, it’s one of my favorite podcasts for natural medicine. They cover a lot of things that other podcasts never touch on. It is a really useful podcasts, one of the ones I listen to on a regular basis, besides just thinking my brother’s sort of a genius. Him and Brian just do a tremendous job at exposing different areas that are, I believe, a gap in the current podcast genres in terms of what you get from the health and fitness podcasts. They really, really do a great job covering conditions and topics that you really won’t find anywhere else. So, what I did is I reached out to Brian and basically said, hey man, I’m getting a lot of questions about coffee lately. It’s just funny how it goes, like certain questions come up certain times of the month. I don’t know, maybe we’re all sittin’ at home drinking a lot of coffee right now, and I remember the 3 of us – me, Keoni, and Brian – did an episode on coffee for The Well Man’s podcast. I said, do you mind if I share that particular podcast rather than me doing it over again? It’s just, I think, a better discussion with the 3 of us. Of course, Brian was like yeah, absolutely, so that’s what you’re going to get today. You’re going to get a replay podcast. This is an episode from The Well Man podcast with my brother Keoni and Brian, and I hope you enjoy it, and I hope you’ll go check out The Well Man podcast. I will see you at the next episode. Please enjoy.
Keoni: [03:09] We’re talking about coffee today. So, anyway, Jade is the one who has influenced me with getting me into drinking coffee. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. We’ll find out.
Jade: [03:20] For you, it might be a bad thing!
Keoni: [03:22] Right, right. Yeah, when I first got introduced to it, I almost killed myself with it, but we’ll talk about that in a second. Anyway, welcome Jade. Brian and I are thrilled to have you on again. We always have a big – people are clicking away on our podcast when we have you on, so thanks again for being on.
Jade: [03:40] I love you boys.
Keoni: [03:41] Alright, well, thank you! I guess my first question is alright, so I’m not really sure yet, is coffee good for you or bad for you?
Jade: [03:52] You know, it’s a good question. I’m not entirely sure yet either, although the research is probably leaning pretty heavily that way, in particular with certain areas like cognitive issues. Definitely, it’s starting to look like coffee is really useful for things like Alzheimer’s. Certainly, with diabetes it looks like coffee is very useful for that as well. I would say, I don’t know, 60/40, 70/30 yes for coffee at this point. And the reason why probably all of us hem and haw on this is because as Keoni and Brian know, research is tricky and you kind of have to look at it – it’s an emerging process – so we can’t always say for sure what is what. As we get into this, we’ll also see why coffee can be a little bit confusing, because think about it, there’s different bean types, there’s different roasting approaches, there’s different brewing methods, and there’s different things we add into our coffee. And then there’s different things we do along with drinking coffee, like coffee and smoking go hand in hand. So, all of these things are difficult to tease out when it comes to coffee, and research has to parse this together. I think one of the reasons why it’s a little bit confusing maybe is because almost all the research on coffee that says it is good for you or bad for you comes from population studies that just try to go, alright, these people are smokers and drink coffee, or coffee is associated with low liver cancer rates, but maybe those same people are eating better, or those kinds of things. So, there’s other confounding factors when you look at population studies like that. Then, there’s not a whole lot of stuff that says let’s take Keoni, Brian, and Jade, let’s give Keoni 2 cups of coffee a day, Jade 4 cups of coffee a day, and Brian no cups of coffee, and let’s follow them over a period of time and see how their blood labs change or how they get healthy or unhealthy. Those are the kind of studies that we really need and there’s not a lot of those with coffee.
Keoni: [06:04] Right. Obviously, looking at some of the studies, and it does definitely seem to be very good for diabetes. The other thing is is coffee also is the main source of antioxidants, it seems to be, in the American diet; it’s packed full of antioxidants. But when I read some of the research, it’s saying, well, to get there, to have a decrease in diabetes, dementia stuff, I mean, we’re talking about 6-12 cups a day! I mean, now, if I did that, I’d be dead! That’s a lot. That’s a lot, and I don’t know if that’s necessarily a good thing.
Jade: [06:48] Technically those numbers come from standard drip coffee, but you can increase the amount of chlorogenic acid in coffee by the way you prep it. So, you’ll see different things where they’re just like, for example, in Europe, they drink a lot of espresso, so for them, you know, 6 shots of espresso for an American is like we – some Americans put that in their first morning cup of coffee or Americano at Starbucks. So, there’s a lot of – that’s why it’s tricky with coffee. But to your point, it’s not one cup of coffee typically. It’s typically – the lowest number I’ve seen is like 3 cups per day starting to show benefits. So, that’s interesting. But again, that’s based on population studies. And of course, we can’t negate the fact that for some of us, like me, I just wake up and love coffee, and it’s part of my morning routine, and it makes me happy, and it makes me feel like I function better. So, as an individual, doing away with coffee, even if someone probably told me, like, it’s going to shorten your life by 5 years, I don’t know that I would because I love it so much. So, there’s many different ways to think about this, but we can get into the different stuff in terms of what’s in coffee and why, the different prep methods, and things like that that might explain some of this confusion; because it is somewhat confusing when it comes to coffee, and amounts and things like that.
Brian: [08:16] Right.
Keoni: [08:17] Well, it’s just interesting to me. If I had to define coffee just based on how my experience with it as a food or as a medicine, I think I would tend to define it more as a medicine based on what it does. Like, I now enjoy a cup of coffee, and I really can’t do more than one cup – helps wake me up, helps energize me; I may have a cup of coffee before I work out. But the one thing that kind of scares me or worries me about coffee is – and I guess you could clarify this – is, is there a big difference between organic and nonorganic coffee, and does it make a difference if you drink organic vs. nonorganic as far as health benefits?
Jade: [09:05] Yeah. Well, I have, as you know – along with you guys – I have a strong bias toward anything organic, of course. That’s kind of the world that we live in, and I would say that coffee is one of the most heavily sprayed crops on the planet, so there’s an awful lot that goes into that. I tried to tease this out in looking at the research on this, and it’s really interesting because a lot of these compounds, a lot of the pesticides and things like that are kind of volatile, meaning that they, with heat, they kind of dissipate, so a lot of them are dissipated in the roasting process. They also are usually fat soluble, so filtered coffee has a lot less of these things. So, I would say absolutely we should try to avoid these chemicals of industry as much as possible, and to do that with coffee, step 1 would be get organic coffee if possible; absolutely, I would say that’s part of it. Number 2, you know, a good quality roast that’s probably in the medium roast range to dissipate some of these things. And then, using filtered coffee vs. boiled coffee or French press and things like that will all decrease the pesticide levels in your coffee. I don’t know of any studies and I’m wondering if you do, and I’ve looked for them. I don’t know of any studies that have compared directly organic coffee with inorganic coffee and looked at the health benefits. I do know this though: all the studies showing benefits of coffee, they’re not controlling for [inaudible], so most of it is inorganic coffee and it’s still showing a pretty big benefit. So, I think even with coffee and having some pesticides in it, even if you’re getting Dunkin’ Donuts or McDonalds coffee, I don’t know if they’re organic or not, you’re still having a lot of the benefits. It’s kind of like if you eat broccoli, which is very, very healthy, and it’s sprayed with pesticides. That’s still a lot better than going and getting an organic cookie, right? So, from that perspective coffee is, I would say, absolutely we want to avoid these things, but what we probably know is that you’re getting benefit from coffee regardless, if that makes sense. But I’d be interest to hear your opinion on that, but that seems to be the consensus; and again, it comes back to the research not really being done in placebo controlled studies comparing one to the other and just trying to tease it out through population studies. But that would be my take on it.
Keoni: [11:35] Well, a lot of… we see some negative health consequences, not so much at the population – or from what I understand – not so much with the coffee drinking population. I think the barometer’s moving toward the beneficial effects of coffee from what I understand, but as an agricultural worker, working in coffee fields, and working where they do a whole lot of spraying, we definitely, definitely see negative health consequences of the spraying of these crops in that population. Then, some people take that information and then transfer it well, we shouldn’t be drinking coffee because of that and that. But like you said, there is processing that goes into it, and some of that stuff is dissipated, and then some of that stuff our body I think can handle. The other thing is, I mean, how many people all over the world drink coffee? If coffee was a big, big issue, wouldn’t we start seeing problems like we do with cigarette smoking with coffee? That’s my thing. I think we have still a lot more studying to do, but I just – as many people that drink it all over the world, and as many people that drink nonorganic coffee, are we blowing it out of proportion by saying that it’s a really big source of herbicides, pesticides, and that type of thing?
Jade: [12:58] Yeah, I think we might be, and I think that you’re still, like you said, you’re still getting the benefits, and I think it’s also just knowing, if my understanding is correct, organochlorines, organophosphates, these are the ones that they are essentially spraying on these crops, the big ones. These are the ones that are relatively volatile and will basically bleed off essentially when you heat them up. Then, also just knowing the symptoms of those. For example, I know for a while there, before I diagnosed myself with thyroid issues, I was having twitches and cramping all the time and all this kind of stuff, and I was going around looking at different things that could be the cause of this, and organophosphate pesticides were one of the big things that I saw was an issue; and I was like I’m wondering if it’s from the coffee that I’m drinking at that time. So, yeah, it’s very simple, I think, for us to figure this out, because those listening to this will probably just like, ok, I hate when we get into discussions about maybe-maybe not, this and that, and that’s when I think it comes to really being a detective with your coffee use. Like, obviously, if you’re drinking a lot of coffee and then a couple hours later you’re getting eye twitches and increased cramps and digestive upsets and things like that, try cutting the coffee out and seeing if you don’t get those symptoms, and that may tell you something better and different than just saying oh, all coffee’s bad if it has pesticides in it. This is, I think, the approach that we want to use with anything, including coffee. We say, well, what’s the research? That’s when you talk to people like us 3. Then, you have to say what is the research on myself as an individual. One funny story I’ll tell is between Keoni and me. One of the things with coffee is we’ve always known when we were young and I started drinking a lot of coffee, Keoni would have coffee and have anxiety attacks. He would be like what is going on, I’m feeling jacked up. I can have a cup of coffee and go right to sleep. So, we all have detoxify caffeine and different compounds in coffee differently. Keoni happens to be a slow oxidizer of caffeine; I’m a fast oxidizer of caffeine. The same holds true for how we process some other compounds including pesticides and things like that in our body. So, we have to kind of become metabolic detectives around everything, including coffee. But I agree with you, and I think you’re saying is, Keoni, to me, I’m like anything you can do to stop exposure to these compounds, do it, and it’s pretty simple with coffee. Organic coffee is very easy. Coffee’s one of these things that doesn’t necessarily need to be sprayed. They do that a lot because it increases yield, but it’s also pretty easy to grow coffee organically and it’s been done throughout human history. So, why not choose organic? Then, also understand, a light roasted coffee may have a little bit more pesticides than a dark roast and filtering your coffee can make a difference as well. I think when it comes to that, that’s important. One other thing I’ll say here is coffee also is a detoxifier in itself. We know, and I think the numbers are huge when it comes to liver toxicity, so the rates of liver cancer are something like 200 per every 100,000 individuals in coffee drinkers. Those rates go up to something like 550,000, or 550 per 100,000 in non-coffee drinkers. Again, to Keoni’s point, we probably wouldn’t see that statistically if coffee, regardless of – and they’re not controlling for organic or inorganic. That’s just coffee’s effect – all coffees – on liver health, and we know the liver’s the number 1 place where we detoxify these things. We also know coffee increases phase 1 detoxification, the compounds in coffee. I think with all that said, there’s very little to be worried about with pesticides in your coffee. But it’s better safe than sorry, and it’s pretty easy to do if you have the resources to get organic coffee.
Keoni: [16:57] Yeah, I agree. Choose organic if you can. You’re probably going to spend a little bit more for your organic cup of coffee, but I think that is a more sustainable thing to do for your body and also for the planet and that type of thing, so choosing organic coffee’s better.
Jade: [17:13] That’s, you know, it’s one thing that you say a lot – sorry to interrupt you – but I think it’s just important. One of the things Keoni says a lot that I’ve gotten from him, and I just think this is a huge point that we don’t say enough, is Keoni will always say, well, it doesn’t matter – like let’s say there’s no real benefit for our physical health with removing pesticides and stuff like that, but we know it’s impacting the environment negatively, so even if it’s not a big issue for our own health - and Keoni studied environmental engineering, has his Master’s degree in that, and one of the things that he’ll say, which I really have started saying this as well, is look, it’s not just about our health choosing organic, it’s about the health of the planet as well. For example, I think you told me that frogs and amphibians, which are a very important part of a lot of ecosystems, are very negatively impacted by these compounds. So, I just think it’s useful to point out when you’re choosing coffee, choose it from the perspective of your own personal health, but also, if we’re going to be “next level humans” and look after not just ourselves, but our community as whole, then we also want to make that secondary choice about is this good for the environment or not. I just think that’s an important point.
Keoni: [18:26] Yeah, I agree. It’s like what we were going to before. I mean, think about the impact of those agricultural workers who are actually picking the coffee too, or people that are out in the fields picking these heavily sprayed crops. You choose organic, it’s going to be less likely that they’re going to have that much exposure, because the market is going to move towards more sustainable ways of farming.
Jade: [18:48] Yeah, [inaudible] as well, right? [inaudible]
Keoni: [18:53] Right. Right. So Jade, you mentioned different roasting methods. What does that mean in terms of the coffee, as far as compounds – you mentioned a little bit about any of this – the pesticides or fungicides. What are the different roast methods mean?
Jade: [19:08] Well, typically it’s just about how high the heat goes and how long the bean is sitting in the roaster. The big ones for the lay person are, you know, typically if you go to Starbucks, there’s a light roast, there’s medium roast, and there’s a dark roast. What is really interesting about this – and this I found the most fascinating area and I’m still getting very deep into this – is that this dramatically impacts what happens with the coffee. So, chlorogenic acid, which is the big – other than caffeine – it’s the number 1 compound in coffee that we think is having all these benefits, especially for the liver and diabetes. This compound, for example, under roasting, light roast, short roasting periods, is in higher concentration. As you roast more, something like 90% of that chlorogenic acid is degraded. So, light roasts have a lot of chlorogenic acid in them, more the green coffee bean. Dark roasts have much less chlorogenic in them. However - this I found fascinating, and this may be something you can educate us on, Keoni, because I don’t really understand necessarily how this happens – chlorogenic acid is one of thousands and thousands of compounds in coffee, antioxidants in coffee; what appears to happen is as the roasting process goes on, either longer roasts and higher temperatures, more antioxidants are formed in the process. Some antioxidants are increased, some are decreased. So, chlorogenic acid may be decreased, but others are actually increased in the roasting process, and there seems to be this bell-shaped curve that happens with compounds. So, yeah, you’re getting less chlorogenic acid, but you’re getting less of… you’re getting more of other compounds that are potentially beneficial in coffee. And with coffee, we’re finding out all the time, oh, look at this new compound in coffee that’s probably having beneficial effects. That’s happening all the time. So, there’s this bell-shaped curve – antioxidant levels in coffee, total antioxidant levels in coffee, seem to be greater the more you roast up to a point. So, not necessarily dark roast, but sort of in that medium range. It also is really interesting because we can maintain a lot of chlorogenic acid if get go very high roast for very short periods of time; so, it seems like maybe the timing, that how these beans are sitting in oven essentially, has a lot to do with chlorogenic acid. So, you want to be aware of this. What I’ve come away with so far, which may or may not be correct – I mean, I’m looking at this and trying to see – but what it looks like is happening is that you want a wide diversity of antioxidants, you definitely want as much chlorogenic acid as you can get in this coffee. Caffeine seems to be pretty stable. As a matter of fact, the longer you roast, the more caffeine goes up; so, chlorogenic acid goes down by 90% in a dark roast, but caffeine goes up by 30% in a dark roast.
Brian: [22:20] Oh, wow.
Jade: [22:21] If you’re someone that wants more caffeine, and you’re getting ready to go the workout and you want a big pump, then you want to go dark roast. If you’re someone who’s wanting diabetes health and you’re doing it for the diabetic blood sugar regulation properties of coffee, you probably want a lighter roast. But if you want the best of all worlds, we’re probably talking about a medium roast. That’s where, right now, I am. Not only that, the grind also determines a lot – how, you know, people who love coffee, they’ll do a fine grind or a coarse grind – that also affects it, and it looks like a medium grind, medium roast is probably the best, and that’s sort of a nice rule of thumb. It’s always nice when we can get rules of thumb like that. A medium grind, medium roast seems to give you to best of all worlds – enough caffeine, not too much, enough chlorogenic acid, not too much, and a wide diversity of all these antioxidants. Next time you go to Starbucks, you might want to just say I’ll go with the medium roast rather than my normal blonde or my normal dark roast. I think that’s a good rule of thumb to understand. A couple other things with roasting is molds are normally killed in roasting. The other thing is, if you’re someone who’s worried about – and here’s the interesting thing about that that I found interesting, because a lot of people will say with bulletproof coffee is very popular, so a lot of people will say, you know what, you can taste the mold in coffee, it has this stringent sort of taste in coffee. And the molds will change the coffee compounds a little bit, so you will still taste some of the effects of mold being there, but the mold is dead because of the heating process. By the way, mold in coffee – I found this interesting – look at all these different foods, and they were like, mold in coffee is a very small amount of mold in coffee. As a matter of fact, chili has more mold in it than coffee. Breads have more molds in them typically when we’re eating them than coffee does. So, this kind of not really a concern, but you can see how the roasting method sort of impacts this. One other thing on roasting is when you decaf beans, you use methane, a methyl compound – a methanol compound, rather – and that compound scares people because you definitely don’t want to be putting that in your body. Now, what’s interesting about that is that in the roasting process, that is completely gone basically after they looked at it, because it’s a very volatile compound. It essentially goes away almost completely. Now, whether that’s changing certain structures of the bean or creating certain compounds in the process, we don’t necessarily know. That’s why I would say go switch water, water decaf, or CO2 is even better decaf, but this also impacts things. So, roasting is probably one of the most important aspects of what you want to be thinking about when you’re choosing the right coffees. We can get into, actually, a couple of rules of thumb - and you just tell me to shut up if I start going off - but I think this will be useful for people who want to know is my coffee good or not. Like, chlorogenic acid you can taste in coffee, and it tends to be pretty astringent and pretty acidic. Astringency means it dries your mouth almost like a lemon peel. That means it has a lot of chlorogenic acid. And sour means it has a lot of chlorogenic acid. If you taste a very sour, very drying coffee, which is typically the lighter roasts – like Keoni and I have a coffee shop in our hometown, Winston-Salem; I cannot stand the coffee, but a lot of people love the coffee, and now I understand that that’s because it’s one of these very astringent, citrusy coffees. It probably has a lot of chlorogenic acid in that particular coffee bean. You can taste these things, whereas when you roast a little bit longer, the acidity and the astringency go down a little bit. Then, it starts tasting a little bit more full-bodied, so it might be the difference between a wine that has a very strong bite like a chianti vs. a wine that has a very full body like a cabernet. The ones that have the bite are the ones that probably have more chlorogenic acid. The ones that are more like a cabernet and more smooth probably have more caffeine. And caffeine’s kind of bitter too, so the more bitter and smooth it gets, the more caffeine, the less chlorogenic acid, the more of the bite and astringency drying, the more chlorogenic acid, if that’s helpful.
Keoni: [27:01] Yeah, that’s great. You talked about going to Starbucks and how are you drinking your coffee? Are you drinking it black, are you adding milk, are you adding sugar, are you getting benefit if you add all that other stuff in there? Some of those coffees at Starbucks are like 1,000 calories per cup too. Does that affect anything?
Jade: [27:20] Yeah, that’s – I love that research, and I think you and I were just talking about this recently. One of the things that we knew a while back with tea was that if you put milk in tea – you know, tea has a lot of antioxidants in it. Coffee comes first, then cocoa, then green tea, then black tea, then herbal tea; but still, tea has a lot of antioxidants in it and has health benefits as a result. And they were basically like what happens to health benefits when you drink tea English style and put the milk into the tea? It’s almost completely negated. Well, the same thing begins to happen, especially with chlorogenic acid and adding milk to coffee. Something about adding proteins to coffee causes this effect. It’s interesting, I remember when Keoni and I were in – we weren’t in biochemistry together, but you’ll remember this, Keoni. Remember when they were teaching us about proteins in biochemistry? That was one of my favorite things. They basically showed that these proteins line up in sort of like lines of different amino acids, and then based on the charges of these amino acids, these proteins fold and create almost like a catcher’s mitt in some cases that basically are perfectly fit for certain proteins. Well, it turns out that casein, one of the proteins in milk, is a catcher’s mitt for chlorogenic acid and other antioxidants, and when it grabs hold of those antioxidants, they essentially pass through and they’re not really available for you to absorb in the way that you would normally. So, if you really want benefit from coffee, you’re probably going to want to do it black. But, then I went and looked, and looked and say, well, is this happening with other proteins? Like, what if you put soy milk in it? What if you put coconut milk in it? What if you put those kinds of things in it? What if you do more half and half instead of casein and have less of these proteins? And soy milk and coconut milk don’t have this effect at all, so it seems to be 100% dairy proteins that are doing this. So, yes, switch to almond milk, switch to coconut milk. I personally wouldn’t suggest going soy just because I have personal bias against going soy, but for some it can be really good. But I think that’s an important component to look at for sure. Adding sugar, obviously, is going to negate some of the beneficial effects on blood sugar, that’s for sure, and certainly, these 500 calorie desserts, which really they are, at Starbucks, I wouldn’t even call those coffee. Those are coffee – even though they have brewed coffee in them – those are coffee flavored drinks. It’s kind of like saying, well yeah, chocolate has health benefits, but how much of a health benefit are you getting from a couple sprinkles of chocolate chips in a cookie? I don’t know what you are.
Keoni: [30:07] Yeah. Yeah, absolutely.
Brian: [30:08] So, similar to all that, what about adding a fat to your coffee, like the butter, what you talked about, bulletproof coffee, or MCT oil, or any of those things?
Jade: [30:18] Yeah. Well, here’s an interesting thing – so, if we’re concerned about pesticides, for sure, most of these pesticides are fat soluble – so, most of them, you’re going to get more of them and absorb more of them because they’ll hitch a ride on the fat in a very similar that… something like chlorogenic acid will be bound up by casein, it’s very similar to also say, hey, fat, and pesticides, and things like that will hitch a ride on fat. If that’s a big concern, you’re someone mostly concerned about detoxing, bulletproof coffee may not necessarily be the thing that you would want to do in the case. Now, if you have organic coffee, maybe it doesn’t matter. Fats seems to not necessarily be an issue, but it will increase the absorptions of certain compounds, and I don’t necessarily know the benefit or risk of that yet, and I can’t really tell you whether that’s interrupting chlorogenic acid or not. But based on the fact that soy milk and coconut milk and almond milk don’t really have anything to do with this or interfere with chlorogenic acid, fat is probably fine. Here’s one thing we do know as well: most of these compounds that are in coffee, almost all of them, actually, are water soluble. We know that because we percolate water through coffee to get these compounds out, but there are things in coffee like tocopherol, Vitamin E, and other fat soluble compounds that are going to be enhanced in their absorption with adding fat into it. Also, we do know this: adding fat to coffee will slow the absorption of pretty much a lot of the compounds in coffee, especially caffeine. Here’s an example – if you want to, like Keoni does now a cup of coffee before his workout; I’ve been doing that for a very long time. It’s great, but you would not – you want very quick absorption of caffeine – so you would not want to put fat in that, or protein really. You want it in your system quickly, so black coffee before a workout. However, if all 3 of us are sitting down, we’re going to write a research paper, do research on coffee, and want our brains to be working, maybe having fat in that coffee really smooths out the caffeine rush. Instead of getting this big spike, we get more of this flatline. From that perspective, you can kind of make a decision whether you want to add fat to your coffee or not. From my perspective, if you’re after weight loss, it depends, because if you’re just adding a tablespoon of butter, that’s a small amount of food, but it’s got a lot of calories, and that’s 100 kcal in that little pad of butter. That can add up really quick, but if it satisfies you, if that’s all you do for breakfast and it keeps your hunger and your energy and your cravings stable for a long period of time, and allows you to make it through a 6 hour fast, then it might have benefits. So, those are some thoughts. Then also, you’re going to have to play metabolic detective.
Brian: [33:27] Yeah. Now, you mentioned something there about the fast, and Keoni, we did a podcast with – I don’t know, a week or two ago – about fasting. Is having the coffee and the butter breaking the fast, or is that not considered breaking the fast?
Jade: [33:42] Well, I would be interest in Keoni’s take on this, so I’ll go first and then let Keoni go. From my perspective, if you look at the research, what they usually show is that if you can keep your calories like probably under 300 calories, you know, 300 calories or so for breakfast, you’re probably getting a lot of the benefits of fasting. One of the benefits of fasting is not overloading the mitochondria with a bunch of carbon sources, like a bunch of acetyl-CoA coming from sugar and a bunch of acetyl-CoA coming from fat. The mitochondria like to run one of these pathways only, and it likes to do it in, you know, with small amounts. For example, one study I looked at basically showed that the mitochondria function much better with small frequent meals rather than big, huge 3 meals. Like, doing 6 smaller meals at 300 calories vs. doing 3 bigger meals at 600 calories, the mitochondria do better. This is a guess on my part, but a lot of the benefits of fasting can be had by potentially adding fat in if it keeps you binging later, because when most people fast, if they go completely cold turkey with no calories, yeah, they might make it until 3 o’clock and have zero calories, but we now live in a world where you can consume 4-5,000 calories in one sitting and many people do. I think it’s yes, it’s best to have zero calories, but having enough, but not too many calories in something like some branched-chain amino acids, like whey protein which would be a protein source, or a fat source, can help people-
Keoni: [35:26] Sorry about that break. Anyway, we were just talking about fat in coffee, and Jade just asked me a question about what my thoughts were about that, and extending a fast and how it would be satiating. So, a couple things – coffee by itself can be an appetite suppressant, so some people will have for breakfast just a cup of coffee. It wakes them up and then don’t feel hungry after that. Like Jade was saying, if you add some fat into that coffee, you’re also adding calories, but that may be able to satiate you longer, so at the end of the day or the week, you may be able to extend your fast. Also, we also know that if you’re already coming to the end of fast that you are probably, relative to burning sugar, you’re burning a higher percentage of fat, producing ketones, and that type of thing; so, adding fat may extend that a little bit longer. To break a fast, I will recommend people to break a fast and get more of the benefit out of the fast. Brian and I were talking about last time to have like a ketogenic type meal. For some people, that may look like fat in their coffee to help extend it a little bit. But really, I think coffee by itself can suppress the appetite.
Brian: [36:47] So, for the specific program you and Mary kind of designed is if I were to have coffee with butter during my fast, does that mean breaking my fast for that program?
Keoni: [36:58] I would consider that breaking the fast.
Brian: [37:01] Ok.
Keoni: [37:02] I mean, to me, I consider a fast anything that’s without calories, so that’s why I like unsweetened drinks. You know, lots of fluid, but unsweetened and without any calories. But I do think if you want a small meal or something to continue the ketogenic burn or more benefit from your fast, maybe adding fat to the coffee can help that, and as a small meal, a way to break the fast.
Brian: [37:29] Yeah. I like what Jade said about – basically, I’m one of those people when I fast, the smell of Five Guys starts to make me weasy and I’m ready to attack it. So, having a small, you know, whether it be 150, 300 calorie little bit of coffee, will help me prolong that much easier. So, when you asked me on the podcast with Mary have I fasted, and I could honestly tell you no with no calories, but I’ve certainly gone longer periods and haven’t had that moment where I come back and feast myself if I’m putting that butter in my coffee and I’m having that throughout the morning, and I’m making it easily ‘til 3 or 4.
Keoni: [38:10] Yeah.
Jade: [38:11] I know a lot of the research on fasting too, if you look at when you actually read it, you’ll find that it actually has calories in those meals. Most of the – well, not most – but a lot of the research on fasting shows 500 calories or less per day, so it’s not that they’re – with a lot of these studies on fasting – they are giving some calories, so we do know they still have benefits.
Brian: [38:30] That’s interesting.
Keoni: [38:31] Right. And the other thing I’d recommend, like if somebody’s doing a fast and they’re just having a miserable time getting through the fast, that may be a great way to help, like having some fat in the coffee or whatever, just to help you get through it. I know for me, if I have a small little thing, like a little shot of black coffee, that makes fasting very, very easy for me. Very easy. It’s suppresses my – definitely suppresses my appetite. The other thing that’s related to coffee, kind of, is cocoa powder. Cocoa powder actually will suppress your appetite too without the sugar in there, and correct me if I’m wrong, Jade – when we talk about caffeine content, when we compare a cup of coffee to cocoa to tea, coffee definitely has – pretty sure has – the most caffeine in it. Probably what, about 200mg per cup?
Jade: [39:20] Yeah, 200, 300mg per like – that’s another thing, drip coffee, depending how long the water’s in contact with the beans determines the caffeine concentration; so, boiling coffee has more caffeine than a mocha pot. I don’t know if you guys know the mocha pots, you know, those things where they percolate – they put water in the bottom, put the coffee on top, heat it up and it percolates through. That means the water’s in connection with the bean longer. French press, long time with the bean in the water vs. something like espresso, which is fast moving water pushed through the beans has a little less caffeine. But typically between 200-300mg of caffeine in your standard drip cup of coffee, and filters don’t seem to mess with that at all; but if you want a higher kick, then you’re going to do a big pot of boiled coffee, or French press will have, you know, will be on the upper range of that. Lower range will be espresso and things like that.
Keoni: [40:26] Right, and then tea, like black tea, green tea, I think has at least half that amount of caffeine; and then cocoa has like half of that, so I think cocoa has less caffeine than tea, and then coffee has the most. But, with – now, I’ve been drinking coffee on a regular basis now for about 2-3 years. Now, when I first started drinking coffee, one cup – we’re talking about 200mg of coffee – that gave me heart palpitations. It also narrowed my vision some, and frankly, it scared the heck out of me because I felt like I was having a panic attack from it. Now, I can do 1 cup a day and I’m fine, so it seems like your body can acclimate to that, and especially when I eat it with food. But I bring that up because there are people out there, and this has happened in the bodybuilding world, where getting too much caffeine can be very, very problematic, especially if you’re using it with other substances. Caffeine toxicity is a real issue, and in… you can just Google it and see that people have died from caffeine toxicity. At the time, I wasn’t sure what was going on, and now I know, and I’ve had a few patients who also had that problem and are slow metabolizers of caffeine. In a society where coffee is like, you know, you can drink it, get as much as you want, tends to be very cheap, I think for some people it can, you know, again, it’s like a drug. It can be very, very dangerous if you’re not careful with it. But overall, I think a great health benefit overall. Anything else we should talk about coffee? We hit everything? You know what, Jade? Actually, I wonder if you have any – and Brian – about this. So, as far as the coffee, I mean, there’s such thing as a coffee cherry. There’s a fruit around the actual bean and whatever. What happens to that? Is that just trash? Can you consume that? Do you know anything about that? Is that food?
Jade: [42:40] I have no idea, man. That’s something we definitely should – I should look into. But you’re right, it is, it’s essentially the beans. If I don’t know, you could-
Keoni: [42:49] It’s called a coffee cherry, so a lot of that pulp is like, it’s just taken off to get to the bean. I guess the seed in the middle there, you remove that pulp. I’m just curious what happens with that. If I’m not mistaken, I think it can be used as a food, and if I’m not mistaken, I don’t think there’s a whole lot of caffeine in that fruit.
Jade: [43:10] At the very least, it probably doesn’t taste very good, because we’d probably all know exactly what it is if it did.
Keoni: [43:18] Absolutely. Then, the other question I guess I have is, is where is coffee native to? Is it mostly Central and South America, is that where it is? Or where does it come from, do you know?
Jade: [43:28] My understanding and looking at it, it’s all around the equator, so all around these-
Keoni: [43:34] Right. Where they grow it, but is it one of those things where it’s native to Central and South America? I don’t know for sure. I think it’s-
Jade: [43:44] Yeah, I don’t know the answer to that. I do know that different types of beans come from different areas, and certainly different types of coffee, the way they dry it and things like that. Certain places have way more rain, certain places are a little bit more dryer. Like, Ethiopian beans vs. some other beans are very different, and there is a difference between robusta beans and arabica beans, and those things are – robusta has the most chlorogenic acid in it. But again, chlorogenic acid doesn’t taste good to us for the most part, so they almost always add arabica beans in there as well. Again, if you’re looking at what’s the best way to get the health benefits, they have different compounds in them, and most people, from my understanding, combine these two just to make them taste better. But that’s also beneficial from the standpoint of – like you can do – a lot of people say just 100% arabica beans. That tastes decent for people. Most people don’t really like the robusta beans. But if you’re someone who’s like a fanatic and want nothing but chlorogenic acid, then robusta beans – and I think those come from different areas as well, to your point, but I’m not exactly sure.
Keoni: [44:58] Ok.
Jade: [44:59] But most coffee on the market is a combination of both because coffee sellers wouldn’t sell much coffee if it was just robusta beans, because most people don’t like those beans.
Keoni: [45:12] Oh, ok. So, there’s different types of beans that, and dependent on the area where they’re grown can determine their name and also the content of the antioxidants in them, the chlorogenic acid in it, and all that type of thing. Anything else we should talk about coffee? I mean, that was a lot.
Brian: [45:31] For both of you, how often are you consuming it? Are you both having a cup a day, or…?
Keoni: [45:36] I have 1 cup a day. Usually, I don’t go more than that. What about you, Jade?
Jade: [45:39] Yeah, I do 2-3 per day of pretty strong – and I like dark roast, but I have more medium roast now, and 2-3 cups per day.
Brian: [45:49] Black?
Jade: [45:51] Yeah, just black. I don’t put anything in it, and that took some time. When I first got introduced to coffee, I started drinking it because I have a sweet tooth; so, if someone gave me a mocha, which basically was a dessert, and I was just like this thing’s amazing!
Keoni: [46:05] And it’s healthy too!
Jade: [46:07] Yeah, it’s healthy too. You know, it’s funny, coffee’s sort of like wine and beer. I didn’t like those. I didn’t have an appreciation for those things at first, but now I drink so much coffee I can really get – I understand, oh, this is more light roast, this is more dark roast, etc. – but definitely black for me.
Keoni: [46:26] I guess it sparked another question for me, is… coffee seems to have some type of addictive tendency. The reason why I say that is, for some people, if they drink a lot of coffee then stop, they do seem to get some withdrawal headaches and stuff like that. I think if you’re… if you feel dependent on coffee, it may be a cue to you that maybe you’re drinking too much, or maybe you can go without, and that’s the other thing. With foods and anything, if you’re dependent on it and always need your cup of coffee to get through your day, maybe, maybe you’re getting too much in there. But anything about the addictive tendencies with coffee, anything like that you know of with the research in there? It is addictive, right? Would they define it as being an addiction?
Jade: [47:18] It’s called – it’s said it’s mildly addictive with mild, you know, they say mildly addictive with mild withdrawal symptoms. So, if you look in there, there’s very little people who are like getting hooked on coffee like they do [inaudible]. But here’s the interesting thing about this – this actually is a good thing to discuss because it’s asked to me quite frequently, and I’m sure to you too, Keoni, so I’m surprised we haven’t covered it yet – coffee is a performance enhancer. It’s a brain performance enhancer mostly. Part of the way it works is it makes the receptors for certain things, like adrenaline, more sensitive. So, you’re essentially – if your normal function is here and you start using a lot of caffeine, your function goes here in the brain. Then, you take that away and - it’s basically the way the body works - it kind of down regulates stuff, so then you go here. So, now your performance is worse than it was before you ever started using coffee. People then go, well, I don’t like the way that feels. Usually it takes someone getting sick, being in bed and not having to go to work to kind of get past that. The other question people ask me a lot is this whole term, which I don’t really like the term, but it’s a useful, descriptive term I guess, adrenal fatigue, or like, is coffee negatively impacting or causing adrenal issues and fatigue issues? I would say that no, it’s not doing that, but I want to see what Keoni’s take is on this. It’s more that what happens is when you get tired and need to rest, your body has natural biofeedback sensations that essentially say, alright guys, it’s time to take a breather, relax, go take a nap, you need to get more sleep. So, it’s more that we use it to push ourselves beyond what we need to do and to ignore our own biofeedback sensations that we start getting into trouble with fatigue, and chronic fatigue, and things like that with coffee. I think to Keoni’s point, like once you start seeing that, that you’re using it as a crutch to push yourself beyond what you normally would be able to do over a long point in time, that’s when you’re getting in trouble. I think one caveat there is adrenal fatigue is really brain fatigue, you know, the hypothalamus-pituitary- adrenal axis. It’s really coming from the hypothalamus, and coffee can basically override the hypothalamus communication to basically say relax, recover, and I think that’s just part of something that people want to be aware of. Coffee is best used as a performance enhancement aid when it’s not used every single day all the time. It’s kind of like using it sporadically, enough to have a tolerance so you don’t get into what Keoni said. You’re going to run a sprint and you’ve been using coffee a lot, it’s probably not going to have as great an impact that you want; but if you only use it then, you’re probably going to get digestive upset and a bunch of other stuff that happens. One of the things we used to do when I was in the bodybuilding world, we’d flip a coin – on one day we’d take caffeine, heads, on the next day, tails, we would take no caffeine. That would keep you sort of in a place where you’re sensitive to caffeine but also used to caffeine. But those are just some things to talk about with performance enhancement and fatigue.
Keoni: [50:29] Yeah, I think when you feel like you can’t get through your day without coffee, you should start questioning are you getting too much in there. I also think for the brain enhancing effects, taking a little break between it – it’s like that whole Epicurean philosophy – take a little break between it, and if you missed it for a couple days and then have it, man, a cup of coffee tastes absolutely delicious, and can set you on fire with your productivity, so to speak. At least, that’s what’s in my experience. I just had a patient the other day who does 12 cups of coffee a day. So, what do I say to this person? Ok, well you may – and it’s black – maybe you’re getting some benefit for reducing your risk of diabetes, but then they’re also chronically tired and not able to sleep. So, is coffee playing a role in that? You really have to individualize it to see. Like I said at the beginning, I see coffee not so much as a food, but I see it more as a medicine, and as with a medicine, sometimes too much it can be so-called toxic to you, and then you want to find that right amount for you.
Jade: [51:47] Yeah, and sleep is another issue that we should just touch on briefly before we close. I mean, obviously, if you’re a slow oxidizer of caffeine, a lot of people don’t realize you can have caffeine in the morning, and you burn through that caffeine so slowly it’s interrupting sleep at night. So, for someone like me who’s a fast oxidizer – and Keoni and I have done this testing. We are brothers, but genetically, we’re different. Keoni’s actually a slow oxidizer of caffeine and I’m a fast oxidizer of caffeine, so we’ve done this test. You can get this test online, by the way, if you want to know. So, Keoni having coffee in the morning could potentially interrupt his sleep at night, and he may be better off adding fat to his coffee to smooth that caffeine out a little bit so he doesn’t get this huge spike and then this slow fall-off, and makes it more balanced. For me, I can have coffee right before I go to bed and it doesn’t seem to bother me. And you don’t need to get the genetic test to understand this. Just know if you’re having sleep issues, and you’re a heavy coffee user, you may be a slow oxidizer and you’re going to have to find some other way to have health benefits. There’s a lot of other things that have lots of antioxidants in them that don’t have caffeine that you can potentially use, or have less caffeine. Like, cocoa is one Keoni taught me about that I used for a while by itself, and it has a lot of the beneficial effects coffee has in terms – I actually think better brain effects. Cocoa for me shuts down cravings. But anyway, that’s a whole other conversation.
Keoni: [53:17] Right, and last thing, I mean, I guess I keep getting my brain sparked here with other things. I want to touch on this – I find coffee a great, great… it’s one of those bitter compounds, especially if you drink it black. You hear many people, they have their cup of coffee in the morning, it gets their bowels moving, you know? And I think that’s great. Our [inaudible] tend to be constipated; sometimes those bitter compounds in coffee can really get the gut going. Maybe that in of by itself is why it kind of detoxifies and has that positive impact on the liver, because it definitely gets peristalsis going for some people. So, having a cup of coffee to get your bowels going is probably a really good thing. It’s bitter compounds that do it, right?
Jade: [54:04] Yeah, and I think, to that point on GI health, my understanding of coffee is the compound that it releases is GLP-1, and it also stimulates the gallbladder, so its bile salts. GLP-1 helps balance blood sugar. Those bile salts help to make a good healthy bacterial population in the gut, and to Keoni’s point, we also get increased motility and peristalsis to eliminate. So, yeah, it’s funny how as we keep talking, you’re like oh yeah, coffee does this too. It does a lot. I mean, it’s a great, great health – I think one of the healthiest aspects of coffee is the positive effects on GI and liver health for sure.
Keoni: [54:45] Right.
Jade: [54:46] If it’s black and it’s not loaded down with a ton of dairy food, you know, a ton of dairy compounds and sugar, which will have the opposite effects with the liver and the gut. And that’s why I call cappuccino, those frappucinos at Starbucks, I call them crappucinos. You put a bunch of those in, it’s not going to be a gentle effect.
Keoni: [55:17] Yeah, sweeten it with some maltitol too. You’ll be spending the rest of the day on the toilet. Anyway, I’m with you, Jade and Brian. I mean, coffee, we do know from studies that coffee is probably the greatest source of antioxidants in at least the American diet. In that respect alone, I consider it more of a health benefit, but it can be overdone.
Jade: [55:44] By the way, final thing – you know which country drinks the most coffee? Do you think it’s the United States, or do you have another country you would guess? Who drinks the most coffee?
Keoni: [55:55] I would say somewhere in Europe. It’d have to be somewhere in Europe. I mean, it seems like they drink coffee all day everyday. I’d say Italy. What is it?
Jade: [56:04] It’s Norway. One study I looked at – so the Norwegians drink lots of coffee. The United States is number 2.