What is the chemistry of coffee? Caffeine is the most famous chemical compound in coffee, but roasted coffee beans contain more than 1,000 other compounds. Some of these chemicals are noxious but still are not unhealthy because they are present in such low amounts.
You never hear anybody wake up and say, “I need a big dose of putrescine and dimethyl disulfide in my morning cup.” As Business Insider reports, these chemicals are present in decaying flesh (putrescine) and human feces (dimethyl disulfide) and give them their distinct odor. If this grosses you out, don’t worry, these compounds are present in such tiny amounts that they won’t ruin your morning cuppa with noxious odors and flavors.
Of course caffeine is the most famous chemical in coffee and has been shown as beneficial in many ways. Research on coffee has shown that it:
Caffeine also can enhance memory and concentration, keep you alert, alleviate fatigue and sleep deprivation, and, according to CaffeineInformer, it reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes. It also may prevent erectile dysfunction and reduce the risk of suicide.
A Viter Life blog pointed out that caffeine can boost athletic stamina and speed so much that the International Olympic Committee once limited how much of it Olympic athletes could take. Caffeine was categorized as a performance-enhancing substance.
What are some of these other mysterious chemicals in coffee? Two compounds that may raise cholesterol, specifically bad LDL cholesterol, are present as oily droplets or in grounds, says a Harvard Health Letter article. They are cafestol and kawheol, oily chemicals of a type called diterpenes. Paper filters catch most of these chemicals, but certain types of coffee preparation that don’t use filters leave them in the beverage.
Harvard reports: “There is a twist to this aspect of the coffee story, because cafestol and kahweol may also have some health benefits that are lost when they’re filtered out. The research is in the preliminary stages, but cafestol and kahweol could have some anticancer effects and be good for the liver.”
There are so many chemical compounds in coffee that various websites report on different ones.
Other antioxidant chemicals, including chlorogenic acid, may help prevent heart disease and diabetes, and inhibit the body’s absorption of glucose in the digestive tract and even out the level of insulin, Harvard reports.
“Chlorogenic acid might be another coffee ingredient with a split personality. Along with caffeine, it seems to push up levels of homocysteine, an amino acid that has been associated with artery-clogging atherosclerosis,” Harvard says the article.
Business Insider introduces its article by writing:
This is what you just put in your mug: Cocaine-like brain chemicals and the juice of death.
The article is from a chapter in the book THIS IS WHAT YOU JUST PUT IN YOUR MOUTH? by Patrick Di Justo.
Sounds kind of grim, doesn’t it? But the chapter does point to some positive effects of coffee’s many chemicals.
The Harvard Medical Letter says coffee is good for us, but researchers on coffee’s benefits haven’t reached the conclusion that coffee should be a recommended health drink. The letter states that so many favorable studies and such healthy ingredients mean good news for those who drink coffee. Harvard advises people to enjoy their cups of coffee in moderation.
Of course if you’re turned off by the (undetectable) presence of the odor of feces and decay, you can try Viter Energy Mints, which contain none of those noxious chemicals and some very helpful ones, including caffeine, niacin, vitamin B6, folic acid, vitamin B12, magnesium stearate, silicon dioxide and sucralose.
Unless you work outdoors or indoors in a job where you are physically active all day, it can be difficult for some people who have desk jobs to stay awake at work without caffeine.
Maybe the most important thing you can do to make sure you don’t nod off at work is to get a good night of sleep, at least 7 to 8 hours, at a regular time every night. Boredom can also cause you to nod off. Other than getting a good night’s sleep and having a fascinating job, there are things you can do to stay awake.
How do investment bankers stay awake on their 18-hour shifts?
Investment bankers work such long hours that many resort to chemical stimuli. There have been rumors of methamphetamine and cocaine use among investment bankers to burn the midnight oil. Other investment bankers take Ritalin or Adderall, which are given to children with ADHD but which are stimulants for adults. But the mainstay is probably coffee, energy drinks, and other concoctions containing caffeine.
Some law students spend 60 hours a week studying. Those who’ve been through law school advise prospective students to leave the Xbox at home so they’re not tempted with potentially ruinous distraction. How do law students get energy to study so much?
One thing many law school students do not do is party and socialize a lot. This has a doubly salutary effect because the time spent not partying is time they can spend studying. And then they are not out of sorts, hung over or over-tired the next day from partying.