Outside the box

Cold Brew as a pre-workout?

As a former personal trainer, I find it particularly frustrating when modern food and drink companies endlessly push the vague nutritional benefits of their products, so naturally we’re less inclined to do so with ours. And with our product, the health benefits should be self explanatory. But recently, a new study was just been published and I’ve had to U-turn slightly — the findings are too good to not share.

The nutrition world is a funny one: new revelations often become dogmas overnight despite a distinct lack of few long term studies. This is likely because the only way to show new findings is with lots of money, and this is made possible through companies that will financially benefit from showing these findings. Ultimately the next big nutrition trend is always in the hands of a large food and drink brand’s marketing team. Even if the studies are non-conclusive, it won’t stop many big brand’s marketing teams employing scare-mongering, propaganda, and fat shaming to increase revenue. An example of this is the nineties fat-free fad. In the 90s, fat became the enemy simply because macro nutrient fat is the same word as fat that stores on the body. Unfortunately, (as we’ve since learned), it’s not quite as simple as the less fat you eat, the less fat you become. But that didn’t stop all the multinational FMCG companies carelessly promoting fat free diets with their fat free products. We’ve now realised that a fat free diet can actually be massively damaging, and the Nestles of this world have reintroduced the fat in their products and started to take out the sugar.

In being so anti-fad, at Solo we’ve chosen to not list all the nutritional benefits in our marketing (of which there are many: sugar free, salt free, gluten free, dairy free, less acidity than hot coffee, no preservatives, low calorie etc), partly because advice in the nutrition world is forever changing and we have no plans on changing our product. But also ‘benefits’ only benefit some people, for example, your salt intake should be in accordance with your blood pressure, so if we only ate salt free food, we would literally die. Or an easier example, low calorie food is probably not advised if you haven’t eaten all day.

We want people to be curious about every aspect of our coffee, predominantly its flavour, functionality, and convenience. And by talking about it being ‘free from’ makes it seem like an alternative product, and alternative products are usually second best to the original. But sometimes when I do explain a health benefit, for example that our cold brew is less acidic than a hot coffee, people’s eyes light up. So when I read this study on cold brew and its benefits within exercise, I thought I had to share it. Especially as we get ready for gyms across the country to open back up.

As a disclaimer, the results below should be treated as exactly that, results. So when it says coffee can improve mental well being, it doesn’t mean come off your anti-depressants. These are observations. Often results from a small study are spotted (or even funded) by a food and drink brand and then the press get involved and before you know it, the Daily Mail is claiming “AVOCADOS CAUSE CANCER”. So take these with a pinch of salt (if your blood pressure isn’t too high).

Review article from Hoseyn Fatolahi et al (2020)

“Results showed that consumption of 3 to 4 cups of coffee (300-400 mg/day) was associated with decreased risk factors of cancers, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and Alzheimer disease. It is noteworthy that caffeine intake in specific groups, particularly in women, needs special consideration. However, health benefits of the cold-brew coffee seem to be greater due to the drink low acidity and high antioxidant activity. In this study, the most important factor included decreases in chlorogenic acid. Moreover, consumption of cold-brew coffee in warm weather prevented hyperthermia. In fact, 3-9 mg/kg of caffeine improved physical performance in resistance and endurance exercises. Caffeine consumption could increase lipid oxidation in aerobic exercises as well as stimulate sympathetic nerves in anaerobic exercises.”

“includes positive effects on human well-being and can partially prevent mental and physical disorders. However, benefits of cold-brew coffee seem greater because of its low acidity and high antioxidant activity with no digestive problems.”

“Results have shown that caffeine intake improves physical performance in trainings and exercises such as strength protocols, jumps, endurance tests and specific exercise movements.”

In short, we’re pretty happy to be a cold brew coffee brand right now. Cold brew coffee is now scientifically proven to be an extremely effective pre-workout and has huge mental and physical health benefits. I’ve always found it easy to get passionate about cold brew, as it truly benefits my life, but it’s nice to know that my improved mood and new one-rep max could easily be a result of that fourth glass of Solo I had earlier.

Fatolahi, Hoseyn & Farahmand, Alireza & Rezakhani, Shabnam. (2020). The Effect of Caffeine on Health and Exercise Performance with a Cold Brew Coffee Approach: A Scoping Review. Nutrition and Food Sciences Research. 7. 1-12. 10.29252/nfsr.7.2.1.