The Science of Your First Cup Of Coffee

Does having your coffee too early in the morning set you up for an afternoon crash? Here's what the science says.

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Today’s Health Upgrade

  • When to pour your first cup of coffee

  • Autoimmune protection?

  • The unbreakable diet

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When To Pour Your First Cup of Coffee

Recently, there’s been debate whether it’s best to push back the timing of morning caffeine. But if you’re like Arnold and enjoy your coffee first thing, here’s some good news:

New research suggests that you’re not causing problems if you have coffee immediately after you get up in the morning. 

Some experts have speculated that early morning coffee creates a physiological domino effect that can reduce your energy and cause the dreaded afternoon crash. As an alternative, it’s been suggested that your body could make better use of caffeine if you wait one to two hours after waking. 

A team of researchers analyzed more than 200 studies to answer the question. They didn’t just focus on energy levels and crashing — they examined 14 common questions, including whether caffeine dehydrates (the water in coffee offset the diuretic effect until you have more than 5 cups) or causes bone-mineral loss (it could occur in women drinking more than 4 cups per day). 

So when should you have your first cup? According to the current research, it appears you can choose when to take your first sip. 

If you feel better waiting for coffee, do what works best for you. However, despite the concerns, little evidence suggests that delaying your coffee prevents an afternoon crash or disrupts cognitive function, energy, or sleep. 

On Our Radar: Autoimmune Protection

Autoimmune disorders are the perfect example of a good thing gone bad. They occur when your immune system works a little too well and attacks your body. In many cases, autoimmune issues are hard to predict or prevent. But if you want some insurance, a diet change could help your body function the way you want. 

New research suggests that fish oil might help prevent autoimmune disorders. 

We don’t believe in overreacting to one study, but this one is worth watching. Researchers examined more than 21,000 participants over a 7-year period. People took fish oil, Vitamin D, or a placebo for five years. Then, for two years, everyone stopped using supplements. 

During the five years of supplement use, participants taking fish oil had a 22 percent lower risk of autoimmune disease.

Then, during the two years they went off the supplement, the protective benefits disappeared. Compared to the placebo group, even after the two-year period, the fish oil group still had a 17 percent lower risk of disease. 

Again, it’s just one study, and no one behavior can guarantee prevention. But this is a low-risk option, and fish oil has many other health benefits.

As we’ve shared previously, you’re likely better off getting the fish oil from fatty fish options such as salmon, mackerel, herring, or sardines. If you want to take a fish oil supplement, the participants used 460 milligrams of EPA and 380 milligrams of DHA per day. Remember, only use third-party supplements tested by NSF for Sport or Informed Sport to guarantee quality and safety. Here’s our fish oil of choice. 

The Unbreakable Diet

In last Friday’s newsletter, we shared that following a flexible diet could be the secret to sticking to a plan longer, seeing better results, and not burning out.

But there’s something bigger that gets lost in the conversation. 

When you think about building an unbreakable diet, you usually make dramatic changes, like avoiding all restaurants and take-out foods or removing foods completely, such as carbs, sugar, and desserts. But this doesn’t work the way you want.

A study published in the journal Appetite examined this exact scenario. Researchers looked at what happens when you tell people to go cold turkey on their favorite foods and found that people ate 133 percent more calories than those given no restrictions or guidelines whatsoever.

You’re taught there are good foods and bad foods. And that adding flexibility means sacrificing results. In reality, diets built around extreme restrictions increase stress, anxiety, and cravings. And that can cause so many good intentions to fail.

That’s what the latest research on diet breaks suggests — you can enjoy and still achieve better health. If you’re trying to start eating better, build a plan where it’s hard to fail.

And that means adding in foods and flexibility that offer freedom so the entire process isn’t miserable. 

Everyone wants to say that “it’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle,” but rarely does anyone ask what you want your life to look like. 

And for most people, a good life means prioritizing and protecting your health without stressing everything you eat.

It won’t look like all the other diets, and that’s usually what you need to make the plan work for you.

Publisher: Arnold Schwarzenegger

Editors-in-chief: Adam Bornstein and Daniel Ketchell