Is caffeine good or bad for you? Some would say to avoid it, others love it. Up to 80-90% of adults drink coffee or another drink with caffeine every day. Should you?
Let’s talk about what caffeine is, how it affects the body, and whether or not it’s good or bad for you.
WHAT IS CAFFEINE AND HOW IT AFFECTS THE BODY
Caffeine is a stimulant that is naturally found in many foods and drinks. It can be found in…
● A cup of coffee (100-200 mg caffeine)
● A cup of black tea (40-120 mg)
● A cup of decaf coffee (3-12 mg)
● An ounce of dark chocolate (5-35 mg)
Caffeine is also available as a supplement, and is added to some sodas (20-40 mg) and energy drinks (50-160 mg). It can also be found in some medications.
Caffeine’s main effect is on the brain. It boosts alertness and focus. Caffeine can also improve moods, increase metabolism and improve exercise performance. It does these by blocking the “adenosine receptors” in our brain. After being absorbed, caffeine is broken down by the liver. Adenosine is a relaxation compound, and caffeine blocks its effects. These stimulant effects of caffeine can be felt within 20-60 minutes after ingestion.
Your body can build up tolerance to it, also. Usually, within a few days of regular consumption, you need more to get the same effect. This is true for its stimulating and dehydrating effects. These effects reduce over time of continued caffeine intake.
Caffeine is also addictive. Some withdrawal symptoms include headaches, shakiness/jitters, and nausea.
IS CAFFEINE GOOD OR BAD?
It really depends on the person.
There are certain groups of people who should avoid large amounts of caffeine. They are:
● Pregnant women
● People with irregular heart beats
● People who have difficulty sleeping
● Children and adolescents
In terms of metabolism, people metabolize caffeine at different rates. Some people are fast metabolizers, while others are slow. There can be up to 40 x difference between how fast/slow different people metabolize caffeine. Fast metabolizers can feel the energy boost, and all of the effects are finished in a few hours. Slow metabolizers can get jittery, anxious feelings, and have trouble sleeping many hours after ingesting the caffeine.
Be aware of the effects caffeine has on your body. Some common ones are:
● Restlessness and anxious feelings
● Irregular heartbeat
● Increased blood pressure
● Difficulty sleeping
● Increase in anxious feelings
● Headaches or migraines
If none of these bother you, then up to 400 mg/day may be fine.
Also, there are caffeinated drinks that contain a lot of sugar and sometimes other ingredients you may want to avoid. Another aspect to consider when deciding if/how much caffeine is right for you.
Caffeine is the most popular natural stimulant. It is found in various foods and drinks, most commonly in coffee, tea and chocolate. It is also added to soft drinks, energy drinks, and some supplements and medications.
Some people should avoid large amounts of caffeine, while up to 400 mg/day may be fine for others. Caffeine affects different people in a variety of ways. If you have any of the common effects after having caffeine, you may want to consider reducing your intake.
What do you think? Is caffeine good or bad for you?