Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Coffee, Carcinogens, and Collaboration

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints don't drink coffee. We don't drink it because modern prophets have interpreted the scriptural prohibition on "hot drinks" in Doctrine and Covenants 89:9 as a ban on coffee and black tea; we don't need any other reasons. But if you're NOT a member of the Church, here are two good reasons to delete your daily stop at Starbucks from the itinerary: 

1) Coffee causes cancer. Okay, I'm exaggerating here. But while consumer safety advocates have warned for years that pesticide residue on fruits and vegetables could contain carcinogens, it turns out that "we ingest more carcinogens from a cup of coffee than from a year's worth of conventional produce." In fact of the 22 chemicals in a cup of coffee that have been subjected to animal cancer trials, 17 caused cancer, meaning that you ingest 10 milligrams of known carcinogens in every cup of coffee. "Uh, make mine a leukemia grande. I mean latte! Latte grande!"

2) Caffeine seems to make men dumber: a team of university researchers recently found that caffeine negatively affected male memory and problem solving in collaborative, stressful situations. Oddly enough, caffeine seemed to enhance women's performance in the same tasks, an outcome the researchers attributed to the typical woman's mutually supportive response to stress (tend and befriend) as compared to the typical male's response (fight or flight). I'm not sure that this study has a large enough sample size to be completely trustworthy, but if you're a man about to take the GRE, the LSAT, or make an important presentation--would you risk it?

The bottom line hasn't changed: we shouldn't drink coffee. But it's interesting--and, hopefully, faith-promoting--to think about the ways in which obedience to the Lord's law of health allows us to circumvent potential physical and mental difficulties.


Jenny said...

Now that we have an employee on the inside of one of the world's largest coffee retailers, I have to say that I don't like the smell as much as I used to. And he informs us that a shot of espresso smells like urine.

Jo Jo said...

I'm loving the diversity of your posts! And I don't like the smell. Never have.

Alana said...

A subject dear to my heart

Becky said...

What about in soda? How much caffeine compared to coffee? Just curious?