I love my coffee. I like it with cream so it is about the color of peanut butter. I have a couple of cups in the morning and then on occasion a cup in the afternoon. After looking at the research published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry regarding the safety of drinking coffee, I had to think if this is a safe amount or not.

Coffee consumption has been linked to decreasing incidence of gallbladder disease and gallstones, as well as Parkinson’s disease. Coffee reduces risk of gout, helps fight depression and helps the liver regulate itself. Coffee is a bowel stimulant and it increases your cognitive ability. Coffee is a legal athletic performance booster. Coffee may lower your risk of Type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.

According to a study released from the University of Scranton coffee is America’s No. 1 dietary source of antioxidants. (We really need to be eating more blueberries!)

Recent studies have shown that coffee may help with weight loss, but now this information is being contradicted. Coffee overload — which is described as drinking as much as six cups of coffee daily, may lead to pre-diabetes and cause weight gain. Three or four cups of coffee daily may reduce cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes risks.

Researchers from the Western Australian Institute for Medical Research and the University of Western Australia’s School of Medicine and Pharmacology found that excess consumption of certain polyphenols, called chlorogenic acid, that is found in coffee may have health implications ranging from preventing fat loss to developing insulin resistance.

Research was conducted on mice. The mice were given doses of coffee equivalent to five or six cups per day. The mice started to retain fat within cells. The obese mice became glucose intolerant, which is considered a pre-diabetic condition, and had increased resistance to the regulation of insulin.

Vance Matthews, one of the researchers, believes that it is still safe to drink coffee, but that it is dose dependent. A moderate intake of coffee, up to three or four cups daily seems to reduce the risk of developing diseases such as Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

The researchers also found that the chlorogenic acid, which is also found in tea and fruits, didn’t prevent the obese mice from gaining weight. This brings into question the effectiveness of weight loss supplements, such as green coffee bean extract, that contain chlorogenic acid. Coffee bean supplements are the latest craze in weight loss fad diets. People may very well be wasting their money if they are buying such expensive products. Nothing works as well as moderate calorie reduction and increased physical activity to promote weight loss.

I’ll continue to have my three or four cups of Island Coconut daily.

Georgia Clark-Albert is a registered dietitian nutritionist and certified diabetes educator at Penobscot Community Health Care in Bangor. She provides nutrition consultant services through Mainely Nutrition in Athens. Read her columns and post questions at bangordailynews.com or email her at GeorgiaMaineMSRDCDE@gmail.com.