Q: I’ve heard that coffee makes your body lose calcium. Is that true?
A: While, yes, it is true that the caffeine in coffee can slightly decrease calcium absorption, research has shown that the effect is minimal. In fact, the amount of calcium lost is so small that it can be completely offset, if you choose, by simply adding 1 to 2 tablespoons of milk to each cup of Joe (for overall health, choose skim or 1% low-fat milk or soy milk). Even if you drink your coffee black, experts have concluded that moderate amounts of caffeine from coffee or tea do not negatively impact bone health or increase risk of osteoporosis, as long as you consume adequate calcium in your diet (that’s 1,000 mg a day for adults under 50 and 1200 mg a day for adults over 50). So, provided that you eat a calcium-rich diet — and take in at least 800 IU of vitamin D, which is just as critical to bone health as calcium — you can continue to enjoy moderate amounts of coffee (up to 3 cups per day) without concern.
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