Home Health Debates The Great Caffeine Debate: How Much is Too Much?

The Great Caffeine Debate: How Much is Too Much?

written by Guest Blogger April 5, 2011

Mmm… I love coffee. Maybe a little too much. Or maybe it isn’t too much… Let’s find out in today’s guest post by Maxine!

Caffeine is an essential item on almost everyone’s food list. Most people, present company included, are useless without their morning cup (or cups) of coffee. There are many who absolutely need a kitchen fully stocked with their energy drink of choice, and others who consume soda like it is water.

In fact, almost 80% of the world’s population will name a caffeine-laden drink when asked their favorite drink. Its immediate availability from gourmet coffee shops to the gas station on the corner does not help in curing people of their dependence on caffeine.

But exactly how healthy is this wonder of a pick-me-up? Also, how does it affect our diet? As an admitted caffeine addict, I’ve sought the answer to these questions to discover if I’m drinking too much, or if I should add another cup to my morning ritual. Here’s what I found out:

Benefits of Caffeine

  • Raises your energy and metabolism. But we already knew this. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be consuming so much of it! Caffeine is a stimulant, increasing your energy and metabolism as soon as 20 minutes after consumption! It has even been proven to improve your mood.
  • Helps with some weight loss. Because it is such an energy booster, with the proper exercise and diet, caffeine helps with weight loss. However, most of the initial weight loss will be water weight as it is a mild diuretic, and because of this, it is essential that you keep hydrated while consuming coffee. In addition to that, drinking coffee to lose weight must be done carefully. For all its wonders as a weight-loss supplement, it can pile the pounds back on if you overdo it.
  • Keeps your brain sharp. Moderate consumption of coffee boosts the sharpness of brain function. In fact, many studies have found that habitual drinkers are at less risk for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other memory-related diseases than those who don’t make a habit of consuming caffeine.
  • It aids in fending off life-threatening diseases. Other studies have linked caffeine consumption with the prevention of life-threatening diseases including Type 2 diabetes, liver diseases and even cancer.
  • Recommended as a preventive measure for other illnesses. Caffeine has been found to be a preventive measure and even a cure for a number of other illnesses. It’s effective in lessening the pain of a headache (many aspirin contain up to 120mg of caffeine), a remedy to ease asthma, and is even recommended by some specialists to children with ADD to act as a stimulant to facilitate learning. Because of the antioxidants it contains, caffeine also helps reduce inflammation and a throng of other illnesses.

Drawbacks of Caffeine

  • Caffeine raises cortisol levels in the body. Cortisol is the hormone that aids our body in fat storage. Anyone who is trying to lose weight knows that fat storage is the reverse of what we want.
  • Fluctuates blood sugar levels. The consumption of caffeine initially raises blood sugar to provide you with that energy boost you need. But after a while, the effects wear off and you’re left with a strong craving for sugary, fatty and carb-filled foods.
  • Fat burning retardant. As much as it increases metabolism, because caffeine is a mild diuretic, not staying hydrated while consuming it can actually stop the fat burning process. Since the body needs water to burn fat, a dehydrated body will retain the fat instead of burning it.
  • It’s addictive. Caffeine makes you feel good. It also makes you dependent on these good effects so that you keep coming back. Each time you drink caffeine, you’ll find you need more and more of it to achieve the same results. And so begins the addiction.
  • Caffeine has adverse effects on the heart and on bone density. Caffeine keeps your blood pressure up and also retards the absorption of essential minerals and vitamins. As such, you’re put at risk for various cardio-vascular diseases and even massive bone density loss.

Because of variability in body mass, consumption habits, genetics and medical history, the effects of caffeine differ from person to person. As such, only you can determine if your level of caffeine consumption is good for you, your diet, and your health in general.

If you can honestly say that it’s a true godsend in your life, then by all means, have at that cup of joe. But if you feel the unpleasant effects kicking in, then it might be time to cut caffeine out entirely and detoxify.

About the Author

Maxine is a mother and wife who is dedicated to going green. The more she has learned, the more important she has seen it is for her family’s health and well-being as well as that of the earth. When not with her family, she works for Treetopia, a seller of artificial Christmas trees. They sell a variety of unique and inspired Christmas trees for every style.

What do you think, Readers? Will you be increasing or decreasing your caffeine intake?

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