Who doesn’t love their coffee?
How many early mornings have you found yourself clutching the can of Folgers, joyful over Jamaican Blue Mountain, or impatient to indulge in the chickory-infused option picked up at Publix? Perhaps you’re perked up by any variant in a shot or a mug, as long as it is strong, dark, and caffeinated.
Once again, those of us who adore our coffee can smile at the happy health impacts of our beloved bean.
Coffee in Health News
Isn’t it grand to be encouraged in our enjoyment of that first cuppa Joe, the mid-morning refill, the post-lunch pick-me-up, and maybe a venti latte for the long commute home?
I am always pleased to click on briefs like this one, “4 New Benefits of Coffee,” in which we are told that caffeine boosts blood flow, and consequently it may be advantageous for young adults to imbibe.
Who am I to argue with that? Then again, I’m not sure I want my 21-year-old kid on a caffeine habit in place of sleep, despite his crazy college schedule. Will there be a “moderation in all things” rule, perhaps at the end of the list – in fine print?
Next on the high octane hit parade: Apparently a reduced risk of suicide is associated with drinking two to four cups of coffee per day. Here, however, I am more than a tad torqued, most particularly this week for obvious reasons.
While caffeine may have a mild anti-depressant effect, not only is this not news – the findings are from the Harvard School of Public Health, released in Summer 2013 – but as serotonin and dopamine are referenced, couldn’t we just as easily say that exercise or great sex act on the brain in similar fashion? Shall we correlate those to reduced risk of suicide and provide available studies for additional context?
Salt With Our Studies
I am not a researcher nor a statistician, but this, to my mind, is precisely why we need to take everything we read with a grain of salt. There is no causation discussed here, for what we know is an extremely complicated and tragic aspect of the human condition.
The next benefit described? As yet unexplained (and requiring more research), your basic brew may cut the risk of throat and mouth cancer. Considering the number of people I know who once upon a time woke to a cigarette with their morning coffee, I’m wondering about this item, not to mention the study or studies (not referenced) that may have been used.
Now, we do know that a few years back there were reports of research linking coffee drinking to reduced risk of dementia. (We liked that bit of optimism, didn’t we? I celebrated with Italian Roast, and again with a frothy cappuccino.) Of course, these most recent reckonings include no utterance of the assertion that black coffee prevents dark hair from graying prematurely through parental pandemonium, in particular when raising teens.
Oh right. That’s just a rumor I once started with a straight face, as whomever I was speaking to raised an eyebrow, but seemed to believe me.
Going Native: When Ads and Content Combine
Last on this list?
My oh my, but as I read – then re-read – this isn’t a benefit of coffee per se. Instead, I have the vague notion I’ve just entered infomercial territory, or more nuanced handling, also known as an ad blurring the boundaries of promotion and news. Apparently, there are now “biodegradable single-cup coffees” offered by some of our favorite producers that I will not name – though the article (or make that slide show) most definitely has.
My confusion leads me to irritation as any, ahem, “blending” of so-called news with advertising generally leaves me miffed. Touting the health benefits of the bean and including the names of coffee companies feels like a cheap shot. And I don’t mean Ethiopian Harrar with a twist of lemon.
Okay. So maybe the slide show is sponsored and maybe it’s not. Is it a big deal? As NativeMobile.com reminds us, “readers distrust sponsored stories.” But I saw nothing that clarified, and convinced I was reading “news” until the final paragraphs (on products), I ask: Have I or haven’t I been duped by native advertising? Or am I paranoid and this isn’t promotional at all, but coffee good-citizenry being favorably featured?
Branded Stories – Good or Bad?
NativeMobile may shed light on the subject, or at least my momentary annoyance. They cite Ad Age and note the challenges of “branded stories”
… that look like real journalism — which… blurs the line between advertising and editorial…
Expanding on the dilemma (certainly for yours truly):
… A bit more than half of consumers don’t trust sponsored content, now often called native advertising, and 59 percent believe a news site loses credibility if it runs articles paid for by a brand, according to a recently released study by content marketing startup Contently.
Of course, we may also consume real content and wonder if it’s branded, which may be the case for me, in this instance. Either way, we merrily click, scan, and absorb whatever pops up in front of us.
As a marketer, I understand the advantages of branded stories, especially when they’re cleverly executed. I also recognize the need for traditional news media to generate revenue. But as a consumer (and reader), I’m pissed off with branded content masquerading as news.
Or maybe I’ve simply been drinking too much coffee. That isn’t my blood boiling after all, just small vessels, comfortably caffeinated, going with the flow.
Visit here for more on coffee and age-related decline and you will see there are many factors, studies, and details left out of summary reports. Scan the list of research references for additional information.
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