Wakes you up, keeps you going! But can coffee make you fat?

Findo's Cafe owner Tim Burstow prepares a pour over coffee.
Findo's Cafe owner Tim Burstow prepares a pour over coffee. Nev Madsen

IT WAKES you up and keeps you going - but scientists say too much coffee could be detrimental to your health.

Western Australian researchers conducted a test on mice which found that consuming five cups of coffee a day could be linked to chronic diseases like diabetes.

"I have at least three or four a day. The problem with these (studies) is that one month it's great for you, the next it's terrible

It's bad news for coffee lovers, but dietician Ruth Logan said drinking five cups of coffee a day would not be something she would recommend, even without the study's findings.

"I think five cups of coffee a day is probably quite high, depending on how people would be having their coffee," she said.

"Most people can tolerate 400mg of caffeine a day, but you can get that from two cups of strong coffee.

"Coffee these days is not just a teaspoon of instant coffee in a cup.

"I think there're lots of questions that this would raise ... until we can see the original study set up and protocols, it's hard to say what it would mean."

The researchers, from the Western Australian Institute for Medical Research and the University of Western Australia, said that a compound found in coffee - including decaffeinated coffee - affected the utilisation of fat in the liver and caused abnormal retention of fat within cells.

How many coffees do you have a day?

This poll ended on 28 June 2013.

Current Results

None

8%

1-3

63%

4-6

18%

7-10

6%

11-15

2%

As many as I can fit in!

1%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

However, they said a moderate consumption of coffee seemed to decrease the risk of developing diseases like cardiovascular disease.

Barista and Findo's Café owner Tim Burstow said most of his regular customers would have only one or two coffees a day.

"The people who might have three a day do it for seasons, they never stick with it," he said.

"People who have one a day tend to do it more as a money thing rather than for their health.

"I have at least three or four a day. The problem with these (studies) is that one month it's great for you, the next it's terrible."

Mr Burstow said while some people were keen to try something new, a medium flat white or cappuccino still seemed to be the most popular orders.

Coffee study findings

  • Mice given an equivalent dose of five cups of coffee affected the utilisation of fat in the liver and caused abnormal retention of fat within cells.
  • Obese mice also had a tendency for a higher degree of glucose intolerance and increased insulin resistance.
  • Effects remained with decaffeinated coffee.
  • A moderate intake of coffee, up to three to four cups a day still seems to decrease the risk of developing diseases such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.

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