Here I was all set to blog about my current moratorium on caffeine when I noticed this article in the New York Time’s, Sorting Out Coffee’s Contradictions. The article highlights a report by the Center for Science in the Public Interest which reviews the general findings of scientific research on caffeine. Inspired by the general public’s misguided information, the report aims to dispel some of the myths surrounding caffeine.
For instance, many folks believe that caffeine can aid weight loss, but so far there isn’t any research to back this up…
Although caffeine speeds up metabolism, with 100 milligrams burning an extra 75 to 100 calories a day, no long-term benefit to weight control has been demonstrated. In fact, in a study of more than 58,000 health professionals followed for 12 years, both men and women who increased their caffeine consumption gained more weight than those who didn’t.
The news isn’t all bad though…
For the active, caffeine enhances endurance in aerobic activities and performance in anaerobic ones, perhaps because it blunts the perception of pain and aids the ability to burn fat for fuel instead of its carbohydrates.
Recent disease-related findings can only add to coffee’s popularity. A review of 13 studies found that people who drank caffeinated coffee, but not decaf, had a 30 percent lower risk of Parkinson’s disease.
Another review found that compared with noncoffee drinkers, people who drank four to six cups of coffee a day, with or without caffeine, had a 28 percent lower risk of Type 2 diabetes. This benefit probably comes from coffee’s antioxidants and chlorogenic acid.
So caffeine might have some benefits, but I’m still not convinced that it’s an addiction worth keeping. I’ve been caffeine free for THREE MISERABLE DAYS (ok it hasn’t been that bad) and while I’m not exactly trembling for coffee, I have definitely suffered headaches and a tightness in the head that I can only assume is withdrawal. Do I really want to be dependent on a substance that makes me feel like poop without it? I’m excited to find out how I feel once this weird withdrawal period wears off. Sound sleep here I come!