So coffee’s good for you, again.
In moderation, of course.
Or with butter.
Because it’s another week, another ‘coffee and your health’ report. This time the advice is that five cups a day will, it’s reckoned, free up your clogged arteries.
Combine this with daily glass of red wine we’re told is good for us, the steak that we didn’t eat for 30 years but now can, and the eggs that were once going to kill us but now provide excellent daily protein, and we’re on the pig’s back again (as they say) – even pork is good for us, maybe.
I’m sceptical. As a journalist barely a week goes my encountering another food advice being debunked or reinforced, or the reinforcement debunked. If I was a cynic I’d suggest all this is geared to keep university science departments and news organisations busy.
Of course put-upon doctors regard the whole ‘eat/don’t eat/eat less/eat without butter/eat with your fingers crossed’ advice cycle to be pointless, sensibly arguing that the best policy is moderation.
Which is also the dullest possible approach for the sort of person who drinks five cups of coffee at day. Almost as dull as that more extreme concept – abstention.
When it comes to coffee I’ve grappled with both, which has led up some blind alleys – usually involving the dubious dark arts of decaffeination.
But well into my fourth decade I’ve hit on the cure, and it’s got nothing to do with willpower, or advice from Heart, or my proximity to a decent cappuccino.
It’s age. Twenty years ago student me fuelled up on half a dozen cups of treacly Buttery coffee daily. Now I’m on two hits, an espresso before breakfast and a latte at lunchtime. On weekends I may stretch to a cappuccino.
That’s all the coffee I need. No more desperate sipping of my ‘fix’ from crumbly polystyrene mugs at service stations, or dipping into gallon jars of freeze-dried, taste-bypassed, caffeine granules in communal kitchens.
I got old. I didn’t adopt moderation, it adopted me.
I’m liberated, free of the worry, the shakes, the stains, the burned lips and the acid reflux, the queuing and the spilling.
But most of all I’m liberated from the next breathless, heart-racing report on how and why coffee is going to kill me. Or not.