For the week of April 14, 1999 thru April 20, 1999
Coffee may not be all bad
The skinny on your skinny latte
By HANS IBOLD
On Friday at noon, Kate Duininck ordered "the usual" and began tapping her fingers blithely on the countertop as she waited inside Java on Fourth. Her eyes, though, locked on the espresso machine that was spewing black coffee into the cup that would soon be hers.
"If I dont have my latte, I feel like Ive missed something," Duininck said, reaching for her frothy cup and then clasping it as if it was a precious jewel. "Its part of my daily ritual."
Duininck takes her daily coffee seriously, and she is not alone.
Across the nation, approximately 50 percent of the U.S. population drinks coffee. Those coffee drinkers consume on average 3.3 cups of coffee per day.
Across the world, coffee is consumed hot or cold by more than a third of the population in an amount greater than any other beverage except for tea.
Nick Harmen, manager of Java on Fourth in Ketchum, said coffee drinkers start trooping in the shop ritually at 6:30 a.m. every day.
"They want to get through the day," Harmen said. "Some people come in three times a day."
Coffee drinkers have taken a lashing in the past from health professionals, who have linked even moderate amounts of coffee consumption to everything from cancer to infertility to heart attack.
The most recent research, though, brings good news to coffee lovers, especially to women, who have been warned by physicians to wean themselves from coffee because of risks associated with osteoporosis, breast disease, and reproductive health.
Most coffee lovers, according to this latest research, can drink as many as four cups of coffee a day without putting their health at risk.
"Coffee is not linked to any disease process," said Wood River Valley family practice physician Richard Paris. "The key is moderation."
Dr. Paris advises patients with pre-existing heart conditions not to drink coffee, since the mild stimulant effects could throw the heart into an irregular rhythm.
"It can be a problem if people use coffee as a crutch to go beyond what their bodies are capable of," Dr. Paris said. "That can be a hazard, because its important to let the body rest."
The average person who is in good health and who drinks moderate amounts of coffee has nothing to worry about, Dr. Paris said.
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