Book Review: 'Coffee Is Good For You'

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By: , SparkPeople Blogger
3/23/2012 6:00 AM   :  14 comments   :  10,286 Views

I'm an avid reader of health, fitness and nutrition books, both for work and for pleasure. When author Robert J. Davis, PhD, asked me to review his book "Coffee Is Good For You" (Perigee, 2012), I was more than excited. You see, Davis is the founder and editor-in-chief of the website Everwell.com, a long-time partner of SparkPeople's. We have several of their informative videos on our website, and I've always been impressed with how well their messages align with our own. Davis is an award-winning health journalist, author and professor of public health. His videos, articles and books are always well researched, clearly explained, and entertaining to boot. The man knows his stuff.
 
This book in particular gives an overview of the science behind a lot of common diet, nutrition and health "facts" to decide whether there is any truth to these ideas or not. It covers a wide range of long-standing dietary questions (What's better: butter or margarine? Do low-carb diets aid weight loss? Are artificial sweeteners safe?) as well as recent hot topics such as the healthfulness of organic and local produce, whether grass-fed beef is better, the real facts behind the "caveman" (paleo) diet, whether microwaving food in plastic is safe, so much more. Davis' style is to examine all the research available behind such claims to help consumers find the real truth. In some cases, he debunks the myths. In other cases, the research may surprise you and change your mind on a certain issue. And in a few cases, there's a little truth on both sides.
 
I devoured this book cover to cover in just a couple of nights. Not only is it interesting for a person who cares about nutrition and health, but it's also very helpful for anyone who feels confused or tired of it all. One day you hear a food is good for you. The next day you hear that too much of it causes cancer. How do you make sense of it all? Start with this book. No matter what level of education or experience you bring to it, you're going to learn a lot that will better help you become a smarter consumer. Probably what I loved best about the book was not just how it covered these varied and interesting beliefs or questions on nutrition—but how easy they were to understand, and how well Davis teaches the reader to apply these skills when interpreting everything from health news headlines to the health claims on cereal boxes.
 
I enjoyed reading the book so much that we received permission from the publisher to include a few excerpts (which I handpicked) on SparkPeople.com. So if you'd like to see just a few snippets of what the book has to offer, check out these three collections of excerpts:
 
Here's another testament to the popularity and intrigue factor of this book: Every person who comes into my office and sees it picks it up, asks me about it, and then asks to borrow it. It actually went missing from my office not once but twice because someone grabbed it from a table to start reading it!
 
"Coffee Is Good For You" is available in paperback ($10.20) and Kindle ($9.99) at amazon.com.

Which nutrition myth, claim or question do you wonder about the most?





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Comments

  • 14
    I'd really like to *know* the real deal on microwaves. Is it really destroying all the nutrients in the food as it cooks? Is it safe or what? - 3/27/2012   8:28:58 PM
  • 13
    I've just read the comments here and had one of the best laughs all month.

    Those who had already made up their mind that caffeine was bad wouldn't even deign to read it - not even check it out from the library.

    People, we were designed with a head for a reason other than somewhere to put a hat!

    Remember, the know-it-alls were convinced the earth was flat, that certain diet sweeteners turned to formaldehyde when stored in tropical or desert heat and other ridiculous claims that make for a viral Internet barrage.

    As members of Spark, you should have already been convinced that all those things you "knew" about dieting often didn't make a footprint in reality.

    I'll order the book from my library and read it, but because too much caffeine causes me to have an erratic heartbeat, I probably will still stay away from coffee. I only drank it when I was in the military when I couldn't hijack a Coke or Pepsi, or sometimes, a Dr. Pepper. - 3/24/2012   10:32:36 PM
  • VANANDEL
    12
    I just recently got this through Amazon, and I can't wait to read it. I've enjoyed the blogs from the book so much that I had to get the whole deal. I also enjoy the Everwell site - especially the investigations. They make so much sense and can calm fears. - 3/24/2012   10:10:39 AM
  • 11
    I have trouble with books written by experts in western medicine - while this one (and others) may be full of good information, the relationship between western medicine and big pharma is just too troubling for me. I firmly believe that healthful food can be medicine, and we can change our lives by eating a SOLE food diet. But I try to never buy foods that make any health claims. Everything in moderation is the way to go, in my opinion. - 3/24/2012   9:39:50 AM
  • 10
    Not available on the NOOK tablet? - 3/24/2012   7:31:40 AM
  • 9
    Your not going to get me to believe that coffee Is good for you.
    it has caffein in it which is a habit forming DRUG. and besides the other catichens. I mean really sounds like another consiring man wanting us to believe
    something that really isn't good for us let alone healthy for us, is really good for us. No It just isn't happening. I know there is decaf coffee but still it does not get the catichens out of it. no thank you.
    that is like saying, here drink arsnic, it's good for you. - 3/24/2012   12:10:13 AM
  • 8
    I've always believed that if you only drink 1-2 cups per day, then coffee is perfectly safe. However, my concern with it is that I quickly become addicted. If I start drinking it every day, then I find that I "need" it to function or get going in the morning. I have a serious problem with "needing" anything like that, it honestly just freaks me out. Having said that of course, I had to go & get a cup this morning because after 2 days of not having any, I had a raging headache. It's now gone, but I have to start all over again in trying to give it up. - 3/23/2012   3:44:26 PM
  • 7
    I just checked the book out from my library. I visited his website after reading one of the other blog entries and was quite impressed. - 3/23/2012   2:18:40 PM
  • 6
    I hope the "evidence" in the book has more research references than what is found in the linked items - really just sounds like another "expert" drawing conclusions from selected research. - 3/23/2012   12:11:52 PM
  • SP_COACH_NANCY
    5
    Loved, loved, loved this book! - 3/23/2012   11:07:34 AM
  • SKANESSA
    4
    Sounds like it's worth a read, I just ordered a copy. - 3/23/2012   11:03:10 AM
  • 3
    I worked for a cardiologist at the medical school who wouldn't think of drinking coffee as he said the oil in the bean was worst than lard, but he said since coffee was such a money-maker, so one would ever go up against it. I don't even like the smell of coffee, so it was no loss to me. - 3/23/2012   10:35:29 AM
  • 2
    Great story, good info. I KNEW there was a reason I loved coffee!!!

    Thanks - 3/23/2012   9:11:23 AM
  • 1
    This sounds like a pretty good book. I just read the link above on sweeteners. I like the style of writing and I like that the author presents all sides of the story. He's not blatantly for or against the product discussed; he just gives us the straight information and pretty much leaves it up to the reader to decide. I think I may get this book! - 3/23/2012   8:28:09 AM

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