Caffeine’s Contradictions

Birthday CoffeeHere 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!

Sorting Out Coffee’s Contradictions

3 thoughts on “Caffeine’s Contradictions

  1. Evita

    Monica how can I motivate you to continue without the coffee. You are making the RIGHT decision from so many angles. Just put up with the nasty symptoms a bit more and you will be as good as new. You just need your body (brain specifically) to readjust to life without caffeine. Whenever we put a drug into the system the brain tries to fight it at first and then readjusts as if this was always part of it, so when a drug is stopped, you got it…the brain has to sort of re-train itself.

    Now as for the good studies, there are some items out there, coffee included that yes, may have 2 even 5 benefits and then has 10, 20 or more drawbacks. Ah, but the coffee companies who sponsor most of these studies will naturally not focus on these and even when some independents write about these, naturally they are saying what will in the end be good for the economy not one’s health.

    Bottom line if you want great health, coffee has no place there, never mind even that – it just does not feel good to be “addicted” or enslaved to anything.

    So keep up the great work, you will see it will only get easier and then you will feel better than ever!

  2. monica

    Thank you for your encouragement, Evita. I will definitely stick with it for now. You make a good point about the drawbacks to caffeine. I need to post about the POSITIVE aspects of life without caffeine. I’ll do that as soon as I know them for myself. =)

  3. Anonymous

    I am almost going on the second month without coffee. my recent intake was 1.25 dl of coffee in the morning. A year prior to that, for a period of two years, I consumed 5 dl per day, everyday. I suffered from hallucinations , severe insomnia, nightmares and night terrors, eratic weight loss and gain, The most disturbing events were anxiety and panic attacks. I eventually succumbed to depression. So, at this ponit in time, I feel very nice. I feel balanced. I don’t worry about anything. Actually I feel indifferent and that is normal for my personality. I sleep 7-10 hours on any given day. I don’t have nystygmus ( eyes moving laterally involutarily repeatedly) anymore. Heart palpitations stopped. Normal frequency of urination returned. Normal bowel movements, no constipation. In summation, I feel like a fool believing the positive hype about coffee. I don’t need coffee or caffinated products to be healty, feel healthy or to survive. Coffee/caffeine is detrimental to health as is sugar/refined simple sugar.


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