Body of research supports the role of coffee consumption in mental performance

Is coffee good for you?
Is coffee good for you?
New Research supports the positive effect of caffeinated coffee on mental performance. This suggests that a relationship has been established between a 75mg serving of caffeine (the amount in approximately one regular cup of coffee) and both increased attention and alertness, mainly in situations of lethargy 1.

Recent studies have also shown that drinking caffeinated coffee can help improve alertness. For example , drinking coffee can improve alertness and concentration during long distance driving 2.

Furthermore, brain mapping technology indicates that caffeine is not linked to dependence. This is supported by the fact that individuals do not develop a tolerance to the stimulant effects of caffeine 4. In fact, American Psychological Association also does not recognize caffeine as being an addictive substance 5.

Most people will consume a level of caffeine they are comfortable with, however, for some people a high level of caffeine may lead to hyperactivity or anxiety. These effects are usually short lived once the individual returns to his/her regular pattern of consumption.

Researcher Dr. Sophie Killer commented: “We found that consumption of a moderate intake of coffee – four cups per day, in regular coffee drinking males, caused no significant differences across a wide range of hydration indicators compared to the consumption of equal amounts of water. We conclude that advice provided in the public health domain, regarding coffee and dehydration, should be updated to reflect these findings.”

Current scientific evidence indicates that moderate coffee consumption (typically 3-5 cups per day) fits well with a healthy balanced diet and active lifestyle and may possibly be linked to a range of beneficial effects on health.

1. EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA). (2011) Scientific Opinion on the substantiation of health claims related to caffeine and increased fat oxidation leading to a reduction in body fat mass (ID 735, 1484), increased energy expenditure leading to a reduction in body weight (ID 1487), increased alertness (ID 736, 1101, 1187, 1485, 1491, 2063, 2013) and increased attention (ID 736, 1485, 1491, 2375) pursuant to Article 13(1) of Regulation (EC) No 1924/20061. EFSA Journal,9(4):2054.
2. Sharwood L.N. et al. (2013) Use of caffeinated substances and risk of crashes in long distance drivers of commercial vehicles: case control study. BMJ, 346:f1140.
3. Smith A.P. (2005) Caffeine at work. Hum Psychopharmacol, 20:441-5.
4. Nehlig A. et al. (2010) SPECT assessment of brain activation induced by caffeine: no effect on areas involved in dependence. Dialogues Clin Neurosci, 12:255-6363.
5. American Psychiatric Association (2013) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM V) ISBN 978-0-89042-554-1DSMV.

Moovember – Cows Milk Protein Allergy Awareness Month #CMPAaware #MOOvemeber

Moovember – Cows Milk Protein Allergy Awareness Month
Moovember – Cows Milk Protein Allergy Awareness Month

Okay I get to see lots of different ways of raising health and medical awareness especially for allergies and diet. They vary from the ernest and valuable to the right down boring and pointless. But only rarely do we get to see some humour. (Medical education people – humour works trust me!). So I’m delighted to let you know about Moovember the Cows Milk Protein Allergy Awareness Month run by The Children’s Allergy Foundation. Check them out here.

I should mention that this is of great interest to be as my wife has cows dairy intolerance which while different has a number of symptoms in common but as they explain is different.. “Cow’s Milk Protein Allergy (or CMPA) is the most common infant food allergy affecting 3% – 7% of infants worldwide. Cow’s Milk Protein Allergy is an immune system response to one or both of the proteins, Casein & Whey. It is not to be confused with Lactose Intolerance which is the inability to digest the carbohydrate (milk sugar) found in all mammals’ milk, including human breast milk.” says the The Children’s Allergy Foundation site.

They mention a number of ways of supporting Moovember.

“You can also attach a “Twibbon” digital ribbon to your profile photo on Facebook and Twitter by following this link, and please don’t forget to donate by Texting “MOOV80 £1 to 70070″.”

“We are encouraging you to take up the challenge of eating dairy free for 2 weeks from 10.11.14 to 23.11.14 (or longer if you wish) .”

World Vegan Month – Is veganism healthy? Have your say at our poll?

World Vegan Month
World Vegan Month
I remember being told that the reason that Mahatma Gandhi was not a vegan was because of health reasons. Indeed he was a proponent of drinking goat’s milk. It was suggested that a vegan diet had made him ill over time so he returned to a vegetarian diet.

That being said I’ve not come across any hard information on the subject so I would be glad if you could use the comments section below to add any information or link you may possess!

Because this is World Vegan Month we thought it would be useful to feature a discussion about the diet on our blog.

However there do seem to be a lot of conflicting claims made about the health value of a vegan diet. So to find out more we at PatientTalk.Org thought we would ask our readers. Given that there are many different diets for different medical conditions and general health such as the paleo diet.

So first off we thought we would run a short poll which you can see below.

Secondly it would be great if you could use the comments section below to share your views on the health value of veganism.

Thanks very much in advance.

Organic Food, Health and Diet – what would you recommend?

Organic food - more antioxidants?
Organic food – more antioxidants?
Organic food? Here to stay of a hippie-dippie fad?

Certainly diet is important for a range of medical conditions including rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and, of course, diabetes!

I have to say that I’ve been following the debate over organic foods for around 20 years and have not yet really made up my mind on the subject.


Well the information seems to change all the time. That being said I read this article in last months Guardian by Damian Carrington and George Arnett which argues that organic produce is higher in antioxidants. You can read upon the benefits of antioxidants in a previous blog post.

That being said it does seem if sales in organic foods have been dropping over the last few years. Certainly the costs for both producers and consumers are higher than conventional foodstuffs. But this may be more a byproduct of the recession of the last few years.

So what do you think? Are organic foods better for us or do they make no difference.

To gauge the few of our readers we have set up a new poll to find out your thoughts. Please do take part below.

Also it would be great if you could share any more thoughts you may have on diet and health in the comments section below.

Ramadan – Fasting, Diabetes and Health.

Ramadan and Diabetes
Ramadan and Diabetes
Firstly can I send my best wishes to all our readers who will take part in the Ramadan fast which begins on Sunday.

I’d never really considered Ramadan from any but a straight forward religious perspective until a few years back. At the time I was working as a healthcare market researcher. A client gave me a call explaining that she would like to conduct 50 interviews with Muslims who were also diabetic.

“Ah” I said. “I thought that people with medical conditions like diabetes were excused from fasting during Ramadan”

“Not according to my client ” she said.

So I checked and it is possible. Indeed devout diabetics will do so if supported by healthcare professionals. You can read up a bit more about the requirements for diabetics fasting during Ramadan here.

What interests me (and I hope other readers) is how Muslim diabetics deal in a practical way with dealing with fasting during Ramadan. So I’m turning it over to you. What is it like for a diabetic to fast like that? Especially if you lice in, say, the UK with its long summer days. What tips have you got to share with your fellow diabetic Muslims?

Feel free to use the comments box below to share any part of your story which you many think will be of interest to our readers.

Thanks in advance and I hope your fast goes well this Ramadan.