We usually forget about the good habits while trying to cope with all kinds of deadlines and responsibilities, and we’re gradually getting into a vicious circle of lack of exercise, poor diet, and overeating with snacks and sweetened beverages. And all these bad habits go hand in hand with drinks that contain caffeine, usually in much larger quantities than it is recommended…
In order to stay awake most of us reach for a well-known, mean coffee. That is why, when we talk about caffeine intake, we most often think of a cup of coffee. A coffee is not the only way in which this stimulant is ingested.
Coffee: harmful or helpful?
The health effects of coffee are quite controversial topic and depending on whom you asked, you can hear both that is super healthy drink and that is incredibly harmful. No matter what you’ve heard so far, the coffee is both – it all depends on the way in which you use it.
For example, it is a powerful antioxidant and it is considered that coffee drinking is somehow linked to reducing the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease as with Parkinson’s and diabetes type 2. Its benefits are not negligible even when it is discussed in the context of the most consummated psychoactive beverage in the world. It really makes us more on guard and improves our brain functions. In the short term, it speeds up metabolism, which means that caffeine stimulates the burning of fat.
Before reaching for more coffee in order to lose weight, you should know that the effects of coffee on metabolism are short-term: the body becomes tolerant to caffeine intake, so it is considered that burning fat because of coffee has a short-term effect.
However, there are different temperaments among people. Someone’s sensitivity to caffeine varies as the amounts that can cause a variety of adverse reactions, to children even small doses can be very radical. Those who definitely need to limit their caffeine intake are people who have a rapid heartbeat, anxiety or depression.
Too much caffeine can cause reactions such as nervousness, upset stomach, and difficulty in falling asleep or concentrating, with increased pressure or pulse.
Everyone has a different tolerance level, and the threshold of tolerance is usually going up so we are getting used to increased doses. So later, after we have missed some cups of coffee, that can cause symptoms such as headaches, irritability, dizziness, fatigue and blurred mind. It is clear that if we are talking about tolerance and “cold turkey” symptoms, we are sure to talk about the physical addiction as it exists whenever we need a substance to function properly. It is true that caffeine is addictive, and the nature of any addiction is to ask for more, not less. Because of this, some experts are sworn enemies of coffee – while others believe that caffeine is “addictive but not toxic,” and that the symptoms from the excessive doses of caffeine last for a few days and can easily be “removed”, so this is the thing that can be handled without any problems.
How to calculate your caffeine intake?
Find out about the amount of caffeine in most commonly consumed beverages and think about how much caffeine is in coffee, food and energy drinks and how much you drink during the day. Here are some approximate figures for that amount of caffeine (given in mg):
Filter coffee – 115
Drip / Filtered coffee – 80
Instant coffee – 65
Tea (average) – 60 to 40
Energy drinks – 80
Sodas – 25 to 46
Instant tea (average) – 30
30g dark chocolate – 20
30g milk chocolate – 6
Decaffeinated coffee – 3
The most common recommendations related to caffeine intake are:
Most adults 300-400 mg of caffeine
Pregnant women should limit it to 200 mg
Adolescents 100 mg
Kids not even a bit!
Olympic Committee allows up to 600mg of caffeine during the day because coffee is too stimulating. So 5 cups is already a “doping”
Now, test how much you drink on average during the day and if you realize you’ve gone too far, try to reduce your intake: skip a cup of coffee during the day or simply reduce the size of the cups. Instead of coffee, drink tea that contains caffeine and later strive to replace them with teas without caffeine, such as chamomile, hibiscus, lavender, mint and fruit teas.
Everything you do has meaning and value to your health – so do not put sugar in your coffee!
Caffeine and sweetened beverages
I know that most people would rather jump out of the window than stop drinking sodas. However, I was always less worried about sodas than, let’s say, margarine. Not one doctor in their right mind will tell you to drink soft drinks, especially not fizzy ones – while with the margarine we have a completely different case and some doctors recommend it unconscionable. We all know that juices have sugar and that we should not drink the dissolved sugar, but those who do drink it already knows that well.
What we still don’t know is that some soft drinks contain caffeine!
Most of it is in colored sodas and energy drinks, but it can be even found in ice teas. Definitely, if you drink sodas and have your “carbonated” favorite – you must look to see if there is caffeine and in what quantity.
How do I helped my friend to stop drinking soda?
It is somehow symptomatic that people who drink too much of certain soda tend to not drink coffee. Pay attention to this because I often came across such cases. Maybe it is just me, it is possible…
Switching to non-carbonated fruit juices situation can be very stressful, because of the caffeine. A friend, who is addicted to the popular dark soda, have been told to begin with real “cocktail juice”: 1/3 juice and 2/3 water. And I told him that he should try to eat regularly, so he wouldn’t need sugar to boost his energy. At the end I have added: “You have to drink coffee.”
He said he doesn’t like to drink coffee. I told him that he needs to find another way to intake caffeine because it has made him addicted to this large amounts of soda. He became addicted to caffeine as he has been drinking approximately 4 cups of coffee a day. He was surprised because he never thought about it…
We agreed that he should drink black tea, whether he liked it or not – and that over time he should begin reducing the daily number of tea cups and replace them with herbal tea without caffeine. Does this method work? Yes, if there is a motivation 🙂 I gave this advice so many times, that now I can safely say – it does the job!
Our Morning Coffee
I am very modest with caffeine intake and I haven’t try to live completely without it. I will always have a cup of home-made coffee in the morning. I always find satisfaction in drinking first morning coffee and the whole ritual of preparation for the new day. It sometimes happen that I drink one more cup during the rest of the day. Eating chocolate occasionally is also very moderate in my case, I do not consume snacks and sodas (carbonated, non-carbonated, squeezed). I know exactly that when the day ends I finish with about 115, and occasionally with 250 mg of caffeine in my body. I am satisfied with that digit and there is nothing I would change.
If you are one of those who intake excessive caffeine from coffee, tea, juice and food – we now know how to manage this problem. There is no need to forget about coffee, only manage its intake.
Creating new habits cannot happen overnight, so most people don’t succeed at first. It takes time to develop new routines and they always come with innumerable mistakes and failed attempts. Do not give up if some day you just give in and drink up to 5 cups of coffee instead of the usual two, the amount you have agreed with yourself. Don’t take this as a failure but as a new challenge which you will overcome at some point. It is better to be persistent than to completely give up on coffee 🙂