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Is Your Coffee Toxic?

Is your coffee an antioxidant-rich superfood or is it overloaded with toxins?

I was thrilled to add coffee to my new QuickStart program for its fat-burning weight loss effects. Powerful antioxidants like chlorogenic acid are especially good for women over 40, with its cholesterol lowering, insulin stabilizing, and heart protective effects (read more here). But as the feedback has poured in from thousands who were as excited as I’ve been to add this beloved beverage to my program, I’ve become convinced that the quality of the coffee you drink is vitally important to your weight loss success.

If you’ve read any of my books or used my best-selling Fat Flush family of weight loss plans, you know no diet is successful without detox. You are being bombarded by thousands of toxins in your environment on a daily basis, and while detox used to be a seasonal ritual, it now needs to be a daily event. In a nutshell, your fat cells store toxins your liver is unable to process, and these fat cells swell with “water weight” in order to dilute the toxins so you don’t feel ill effects. This is the core issue of weight gain for many people and one of the many reasons avoiding toxins in coffee is paramount to your health and weight loss success.

The Jive on Java – Is Coffee Really Bad for You?

There’s no doubt coffee is a moneymaker. As the second most highly traded commodity in the world (after oil), this cash crop is a multi-billion dollar industry. When we follow the money trail, it leads to mass production and agri-business conglomerates serious about protecting their investment. As a result, we see corners cut and toxic chemicals used to maximize production, often at a risk to your health. Mycotoxins from mold, strong chemicals and pesticides are the main culprits lurking in your latte.

Is Mold in Your Coffee?

Cutting corners in coffee production by agri-business starts with how coffee is grown and stored. Higher temperatures and moisture in the environment combined with lack of airflow leads to mold growth. Once coffee is picked, it’s fermented to remove the stringy, starchy coating surrounding the beans. If left too long or not ventilated properly, this process also leads to mold formation.

As a result, mycotoxins like Ochratoxin A (OTA) are present in coffee beans, both before and after roasting. This mycotoxin depletes the neurotransmitter dopamine, causing brain cells to die. It also suppresses the immune system and is associated with cancer, hypertension and kidney disease. Animal studies on these mycotoxins are flawed, because rats use their liver to breakdown OTA, while humans use our kidneys, which take more than 10 times longer to process out these toxins.

Studies have shown up to half of all coffees tested contain Ochratoxin A and other neurotoxic mold chemicals, including Aflatoxin, Fumonisin, and Macrocyclic Trichothecenes. One study showed almost 100 percent of human blood samples contained enough Ochratoxin A to cause immunosuppression.

Although studies show that roasting the green coffee beans kills the mold responsible, these mycotoxins remain. And if you prefer decaffeinated coffee, then be aware these toxins are concentrated during the processing and you are getting more mycotoxins than your caffeinated counterparts. In countries where standards exist for safe levels of mycotoxins, they will “dump” their coffee beans by selling to other countries who don’t have these standards for coffee – including the US – and these mycotoxic beans end up in your cuppa joe.

Toxic Chemicals Abound

Strong chemicals are often used on coffee to ward off common pests and diseases. Dangerous chemicals like Methyl Parathion, Endosulfan, and Chlorpyrifos are still in use despite being banned in many countries. These chemicals affect the central nervous system, kidneys, liver, and reproductive organs and are known to cause birth defects and even death. Fortunately roasting does dilute these chemicals to much lower levels, though enough is still present to be measurable.

There is another chemical I’m concerned about, however, and that is Triadimefon. This is a copper-based fungicide commonly used against coffee rust. Only slight toxicity has been reported, but there is growing concern because of the amount of copper that is accumulating in the soils as a result. Copper toxicity has been found in the food crops growing in this soil, especially in Costa Rica and Kenya.

Produce from Costa Rica does make its way to the US, and as you know from my book Why Am I Always So Tired? and my recent presentation during the Heavy Metals Summit, I believe copper toxicity is a hidden threat to our health. If you have difficulty getting out of bed, midday slumps, mood swings, insomnia, and anxiety, you may have too much copper already affecting your copper/zinc balance.

Avoiding Toxins in Your Coffee

1. The first step to cleaner coffee comes in the processing, and wet is better. The chemistry of the beans changes with the type of processing used, resulting in differing amounts of sugars and amino acids. Mechanical and wet-processed coffee contains fewer mycotoxins and are the beans of choice. Dry-processing methods cause a “stress response” that changes the chemical makeup unfavorably and these beans contain more toxins, as mold is often seen on their surface while drying in the sun.

2. Choose single-origin coffee over blends. Blends use a variety of beans to achieve their flavor and may involve beans from different regions and countries, resulting in higher levels of toxins from countries who don’t regulate mycotoxin levels or pesticide use. There is more care put into a single-origin coffee to ensure a richer flavor, which results in a higher quality and lower toxin level. The cleanest coffee I’ve found is Purity Coffee, organic and tested for contaminants. (Save 30% off your first order with code ALGcoffee)

3. Ditch the decaf. Water processed decaffeinated coffee is often touted as the healthier choice for consumption because chemicals aren’t used to process the caffeine out. Unfortunately, regardless of whether your decaf was chemically processed or water processed, the mycotoxin levels are much higher than those of your caffeinated counterparts. I recommend roasted dandelion root tea instead of decaf coffee for its health benefits and rich flavor.

Coffee is a superfood, which is why I created the Energy Blaster in my new QuickStart weight loss program and Citrus Blaster in my upcoming Radical Metabolism. A good quality coffee helps you maintain your lean muscle mass while revving up your fat-burning metabolism to lose weight. As America’s most beloved beneficial beverage, this is indeed good news that you can have your coffee and lose weight too!

Comments (18)

  • Alicia S. April 3, 2018 - 9:56 am Reply

    Very interesting about the mycotoxins in coffee. I have been drinking coffee for years and didn’t know about this issue.

  • Bob Bryant April 3, 2018 - 4:40 pm Reply

    Does buying coffe beans present a benefit as opposed to buying a ground coffee.

    • Team ALG April 4, 2018 - 10:46 am Reply

      Bob, the benefit to buying whole beans and grind them yourself gives you more flavor than buying ground coffee. Also the quality of the whole beans may be better than the beans used in ground coffee where lesser quality beans can be mixed into the batch.

  • Ione April 3, 2018 - 8:01 pm Reply

    Coffee sets the body into an acidic state which
    pulls calcium from the bones . Making coffee
    the toddy coffee method is less acidic yet still
    sets the bodies PH acidic . Do the benefits out
    weigh the negative?

    • Laura P April 4, 2018 - 9:04 am Reply

      Ione: More magnesium and salt would offset the acidity, IMHO.

  • Kathleen April 3, 2018 - 8:05 pm Reply

    Thank you so much Ann Louise for this information–I have not even thought of this! I will be sure to buy the cleanest coffee!

  • Rosemary April 4, 2018 - 2:39 am Reply

    Thank you for all of your wonderful information. I would like to see your response to Ione regarding coffee making the body acidic and pulling calcium from the bones. Thank you!

    • Laura P April 4, 2018 - 9:04 am Reply

      See above — more alkalizing elements would bring down acidity 🙂

  • Anna Davis April 4, 2018 - 4:33 am Reply

    Thank you for this information, but are these toxins the ones rhe same ones referred to in the latest major news stories about California mandating that Star Bucks puts warning labels on its coffee? Please specify!

    • Team ALG April 4, 2018 - 9:06 am Reply

      Thank you for your post, Anna. The focus of the latest coffee news is the chemical acrylamide which results from the roasting process. This is yet another issue beyond mycotoxins and neuro-toxic agents in coffee.

  • Suzanne April 4, 2018 - 6:32 am Reply

    Thank you for the information but is it possible to apply this knowledge? Is it possible to find coffee labelled with the information you recommend to avoid these toxins? I can only find labels stating their coffee is organically grown as my option. How does this avoid the Mold issue? Secondly we all make our coffee using water. Our water sources are also a key ingredient and a whole other discussion.

    • Team ALG April 4, 2018 - 9:07 am Reply

      Suanne: We like Life Extension or Purity brands to avoid mold buildup. Pure water for coffee making is yet another issue, you are right!!

  • Debra April 4, 2018 - 6:40 am Reply

    I drink only Purity coffee – cleanest on the planet. I add 1/4 tsp baking soda to it to balance PH. Coffee always bothered me – made me jittery and headachy. No more – I can drink 2 cups a day (although I prefer just one) and not one problem.

  • Penny April 6, 2018 - 10:06 am Reply

    On Purity website for first time and received this error message when using 30% off code mentioned above: “Coupon “coffeealg” does not exist!”. Please advise.

    • Team ALG April 8, 2018 - 6:54 am Reply

      Dear Penny: We are “on” this and will call Purity on Monday morning, April 9th. Thanks for your patience 🙂

    • Team ALG April 8, 2018 - 10:45 am Reply

      Debra: Code is ALGcoffee not Coffeealg… Do try again.

  • Jay Howard April 11, 2018 - 1:33 pm Reply

    What is a good coffee bean that has less or no toxins?

    • Team ALG April 11, 2018 - 3:23 pm Reply

      Jay, Purity and Life Extension coffee have been found to have the least toxins.

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