The Caffeine Coffee Myth for Fitness in Weight Loss and More | Healthy Eating
Fast facts about caffeine - 90% of us drink 3 cups of coffee per day here in the United States and caffeine is one of the world's most popular drugs and yet personally we know very little about this drug and its effect upon our body. Research has exposed 5 myths that are not true and 7 facts about caffeine that are true. The one question everyone wants to know is if caffeine can assist with weight loss. Let's set the fact straight about this common stimulant once and for all.
Main Side Effects of Caffeine
FDA Caffeine Moderate and Safe Consumption - 300 mg Per Day
What is considered safe for our body for daily intake of caffeine? Coffee is pretty straight forward as the chart above showcases, tea on the other hand varies widely. According to the Food and Drug Administration the estimate id 300 mg of caffeine per day which equates to:
- Cups of Coffee 2.5-3 cups per day
- Cups of Tea - Black Tea - 8-9 cups per day
- Green Tea - up to 15 cups per day
Be your own health advocate - every one is different, listen to your body - your body is the only real expert on YOU!
Caffeine Guidance by Mayo Clinic
"Try limiting the amount of caffeine you drink to 200 milligrams a day — about the same amount as in two 12-ounce cups of brewed coffee. Keep in mind that the amount of caffeine in coffee and soft drinks varies by brand.
Also, avoid caffeine right before activities that naturally increase your blood pressure, such as exercise, weightlifting or hard physical labor."
How Caffeine Works
Caffeine - Powerful Drug with Funny Muffet
Test How Caffeine is Affecting Your Blood Pressure
Each of us is human with 640 muscles but how our body handles different drugs is always unique. To check how caffeine is affecting your blood pressure, here are three simple steps from Mayo Clinic
1. Check your blood pressure before consuming your favorite caffeinated drink.
2. Indulge in your favorite caffeinated drink.
3. Retake your blood pressure within 30 minutes of consumption.
"If your blood pressure increases by five to 10 points, you may be sensitive to the blood pressure raising effects of caffeine. If you plan to reduce your intake of caffeine, do so gradually over several days to a week to avoid withdrawal headaches."
Side Effect of Caffeine
The side effects of caffeine are numerous as the diagram provided by wikpedia clearly details. Outlined succinctly below are the many side effects this safe drug imposes upon our body:
- Lower iron absorption - important for women, critical knowledge for pregnant women.
- Possible contributor to high blood pressure (take the test to see if you are a candidate).
- Not recommended for heart patients.
- Not recommended for fibromyalgia patients.
Side Effect - Addictive
Caffeine is undoubtedly addicting and mind altering. Caffeine has been categorized as a psychoactive drug. "Psychoactive drugs are chemical substances that affect the brain functioning causing changes in behavior, mood and consciousness.," according to psychology.about.com . Yet caffeine doesn't cause us social problems like other addictive drugs.
Hydration Options - Water, Tea, Coffee and Sodas
Caffeine in coffee is often slammed, yet the other choice for drinking sodas is even worst. The very best choice is of course, pure water. Second is tea. And long after all three of these water, tea and coffee is the drink that is the most addicting and perhaps the most harmful - soda. The side effects of sodas is much worse than our first three hydration options. So the good news for coffee lovers, is coffee is better than soda but as we all knew nothing is better than water for hydration.
Why are sodas worst than coffee? Because the side effects of sodas is worse:
- We know sugar in sodas have a direct link to both obesity and diabetes.
- We know phosphoric acid in soda may cause bone loss.
- We know some sodas have had traces of MSG, a neurotoxin.
- All sodas have carbonated water that often contains fluoride and other contaminants.
5 Myths of Caffeine Exposed and 7 Truths Revealed
Given this is the drug of choice for millions around the world, it is only fair that we expose both the myths and the truths about this commonplace drug.
#1 Myth - Decaffeinated Coffee Has No Caffeine
The standard in the United States for "decaffeinated is removal of 97% of caffeine".
Sidenote:"A typical 28-gram serving of a milk chocolate bar has about as much caffeine as a cup of decaffeinated coffee, although some dark chocolate currently in production contains as much as 160 mg per 100g." source: wikipedia.com
#2 Myth - Caffeine is An Appetite Suppressant
Research from Mayo Clinic has shown that caffeine may suppress your appetite for a very short period of time. However, there's not enough evidence to show the amount of appetite suppressant actually aids in weight loss over time.
As an appetite suppressant, caffeine is not a recommended choice. Caffeine is a stimulant and may hinder your sleep and hamper your efforts to weight loss.
Mayo also details that we must be aware that caffeine acts as a diuretic. Increasing the amount of urine we excrete may temporarily decrease our body weight along with expelling much needed vitamins and minerals.
The big myth is the specialty coffees, we think we are suppressing our appetite when in reality we are consuming a large amount of calories. Read the labels, know what you and your family are actually consuming. Be your own health advocate. Counting calories and keeping a journal is just two great mechanisms to aid in your weight loss program.
#3 Myth Caffeine Makes Me Smarter and More Alert
Part one is definitely not true - it is a myth. Being more alert is a partial myth - if you feel more alert - it is a temporary feeling and research is showing that it actually is a placebo effect - only think you are feeling more alert.
The additional alertness is only temporary. Remember, your ability to process information is not changed. Even our temporary alertness has been refuted by scientists. A recent UK-led study of over 300 participants found our alertness is a placebo effect. In other words, caffeine makes us more alert is more imagined. source: Journal Neuropsychopharmacology June 2, 2010 Bristol University.
"Co-lead author Dr Peter Rogers, of the Department of Experimental Psychology at Bristol told the media that:
"Our study shows that we don't gain an advantage from consuming caffeine - although we feel alerted by it, this is caffeine just bringing us back to normal."
"On the other hand, while caffeine can increase anxiety, tolerance means that for most caffeine consumers this effect is negligible," he added.
For the study, the researchers recruited 379 people of whom about half were classed as non or low coffee consumers, while the other half were classed as medium to high coffee consumers (a few large cups of filter coffee a day).
But they found little variance among their levels of alertness when they consumed either caffeine or a placebo after not consuming it for 16 hours."
#4 Myth Caffeine is Found in Only Tea and Coffee
Although, tea and coffee make up the majority of our digestion of caffeine, caffeine as we is also present in chocolate and also in energy drinks.
Additionally, you will note that many headache medicines have caffeine. Personally, I grab a cup of coffee before an aspirin - now I know why! The big surprise in the list for me is the fact that the cosmetic industry uses caffeine to give our skin a lift! The debate on the cosmetic use is dependent upon if the caffeine is able to penetrate the skin cells.
The range of cosmetic products that contains caffeine is surprising too - from body scrubs to eye creams to cellulite creams and gels and but we have learned that even gum on occasion has caffeine!
Myth #5 Caffeine and Your Metabolism for Weight Loss
Just as Armstrong's research from 2001 found no real correlation between caffeine and metabolism, so too, other researchers have very same results. In essence, the consumption of caffeine does not alter carbohydrate or fat metabolism in human skeletal muscle during exercise. sources: http://coffeefaq.com/site/node/6, http://jp.physoc.org/content/529/3/837.full
When reviewing your exercise and weight loss needs, keep in mind, the crucial item is your Body Mass Index - the BMI index not just your weight.
Where Do We Consume Caffeine?
The Amount of Caffeine in What We Drink
Energy Drinks and Caffeine
Myth and Truths Continued
Myth AND Truth - Great for All Athletes - Partially True - Partially False
Caffeine - a legal drug for athletes? But is caffeine good for all athletes? In some closely controlled cases, caffeine was found helpful for athletics. The results from the research differ and are provided in detail below:
"My review of the current research and literature yielded conflicting data on just about all aspects of caffeine as an ergogenic aid. The majority opinion is that caffeine will enhance the performance of endurance athletes, such as distance runners or cyclists. The best results came from those studies that used doses that exceeded the International Olympic Committee limits (urinary levels greater than 12 mcg/ml). In anaerobic sports, such as weightlifting or football, proponents state that caffeine's ability to decrease reaction time and sharpen perception make it a valuable aid. However, unlike endurance studies where a clear majority of the tests resulted in athletic benefit, less than one half of the human and animal anaerobic studies displayed ergogenic enhancements." source: http://www.dynamicchiropractic.com/mpacms/dc/article.php?id=44134
"There was a general agreement in the literature that when regular, heavy consumers (over three cups of coffee a day) wanted to use caffeine as an ergogenic aid, they should abstain from using caffeine for 48 hours prior to event loading. When the abstinence period was not observed, lipolysis and reaction times did not change due to the fact that in heavy, regular users the body builds up a tolerance."
University of Berkeley has found that: "Caffeine speeds up reaction time and improves automatic processing skills. However, it can worsen performance on more complicated tasks." source: http://caldining.berkeley.edu/online_resources_archive.html
Another study from 1995 from Vanderbilt Unversity showed an increase in endurance:
"Various studies have been conducted in attempts to connect the use of caffeine with increased endurance levels.� Graham and Spriet (1995) conducted a double-blind test involving eight endurance runners.� Each participated in a control test previous to the study in which they ran a prescribed distance, to the point of exhaustion.� All ate similar meals and abstained for caffeinated substances previous to the trials.� Over a four-week period, each runner returned to the laboratory to run the prescribed distance while intravenously being given varying doses of caffeine.� A blood and oxygen sample was collected every fifteen minutes during the run in order to record the time span until physical exhaustion was reached.� The results confirmed that low doses of caffeine caused a drastic increase in endurance levels, while not altering the epinephrine (or adrenaline) levels.� Also, large doses of caffeine caused great increases in plasma epinephrine levels while only slightly altering the endurance levels.� This test, therefore, supposes that small doses of caffeine, when compared to placebo trials, are very beneficial in raising endurance capabilities." source: http://www.vanderbilt.edu/AnS/psychology/health_psychology/3Caffeine.htm
This is the best conversation about athletic performance and the use of caffeine from Roble's report on "Caffeine and the Cyclist":
"Although touted as an almost miracle performance enhancer make no mistake about it, caffeine is not for everybody. Caffeine is a powerful central nervous system stimulant whose effects diminish with increased usage; Larger and larger doses can become necessary to avoid withdrawal symptoms and sustain stimulation until you need a cup just to function normally. To avoid this habituation drink caffeine only during or before races and training. Many road cyclists limit their caffeine consumption to a bottle of coke diluted with water during training rides and the last half of longer races or a cup of drip coffee half an hour before shorter races.
Caffeine affects different people in different ways. For some it only causes uncomfortable 'nervousness', high blood pressure and stomach acid. A strong cup of coffee to someone who does not drink caffeine regularly can last all day and well into the night, leaving a groggy feeling the next day which can be remedied only with another cup. If you do drink more than a cup of coffee every day some cutting back would probably go far towards improving your riding quality. When a cup of coffee is no longer an option but a prerequisite for alertness and energy it is probably doing more harm than good. This is the negative side of drinking the stuff, moderation can be difficult." source: http://www.roble.net/marquis/caffeine
Truths of Caffeine
The myths of caffeine as for athletic training have some basis in reality. The truths below are proven with medical research and doctor recommendations. As in all cases, you are your own fitness and health advocate. I share these myths and truths for you to ask the questions with your own personal physician. The real truth is we must always ask the question and listen to our body.
#1 Truth Caffeine Decreases Calcium Intake
Men and women alike must be concerned with our vitamin intake and absorption. Adding supplements is not a certainty if you are over consuming and over urinating and thus excreting your vitamins. Research has found that "caffeine increases the amount of urine you excrete--which also increases loss of calcium" source:http://lesann.tripod.com/calcium.htm
#2 Truth Caffeine Can Block Iron Absorption
Likewise for iron absorption, caffeine has been found to inhibit the absorption. The details of the research are interesting, because we can stage or time the consumption of caffeine and thus lessen the absorption block of the iron and possibly other minerals.
"When caffeine is consumed one hour before eating, iron absorption is not affected. So, if you must have tea or coffee, avoid having them with or just after your meals containing non-heme iron sources, such as iron-fortified cereals. This means waiting about 30 minutes after you finish your bowl of raisin bran before the morning coffee. However, combining plant sources of iron with foods high in vitamin C will help to increase your absorption of plant iron, so replace that coffee with orange juice or other citrus food and you are ready to roll.
Clearly, the interactions and interrelationships between nutrients are complex and varied. It is nearly impossible to know everything a food item may interfere with for optimal metabolism and absorption of other nutrients. Just keep in mind that by eating a variety of foods and not overloading on one nutrient, you should be able to keep things in balance."
#3 Truth Caffeine Can Affect Our Blood Pressure
For many people this is a truth. Like all things medical, it is best to listen to your body. There isn't sufficient research to tell us what causes a spike in blood pressure. One theory is caffeine could block a hormone that helps us keep our arteries widened. Also what is true many people develop an immunity to this spike in blood pressure. Many heart doctors as mentioned above also do not recommend caffeine because it may create arrhythmia.
#4 Truth Caffeine is Addictive
While caffeine is addictive, as I stated in the beginning, caffeine is much less likely to produce the same degree of physical or psychological dependence as other drugs of abuse. Few coffee or tea drinkers report loss of control over caffeine intake, or significant difficulty in reducing or stopping consumption of beverages and food items containing caffeine. (Although you don't want to speak with me before my cup of kava in the morning. Personal anecdote only.)
#5 Truth Caffeine Can Increase the Intensity of Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia patients take special note, caffeine is not recommended. One item that is particularly harmful to fibromyalgia patients is sleep disruption. Some studies attempted to correlate a link between dehydration and the intensity of fibromyalgia. The research doesn't appear clear cut but to err on the side of caution, closely review the possibility for your health. Here is a quick reference for those struggling with this painful disease:
"By avoiding things such as caffeine, alcohol and candy, you will help to improve your sleep and lessen the severity of some of your symptoms. Eating healthy and maintaining a balanced diet can go a long way to symptom control. Also, try discussing the possibility of taking vitamins with your health care provider. Smoking is also something that magnifies the symptoms of fibromyalgia patients. By quitting you will be taking the first steps to living pain free. It is also very important to drink lots of water to help flush out the toxins from your body."
#5 Truth Caffeine Can be Toxic
Like all drugs, when taken in the wrong doses, the drug no longer is beneficial but a toxic substance affecting your bodily functions. The general rule is toxicity symptoms include In doses beyond 300 mg per day, However, every one is affected differently. The main item is to listen to your body.
"How Much Caffeine is Too Much?
Caffeine intoxication usually occurs with consumption above 250mg (equivalent to about 2 1/2 cups of coffee). Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant and may be taken to help restore mental alertness when unusual tiredness, weakness or drowsiness occurs. Caffeine's use as an alertness aid should be only occasional. It is not intended to replace sleep and should not be used regularly for this purpose.
The amount of caffeine in some common foods and beverages is as follows:
- Coffee, brewed - 40 to 180mg per cup
- Coffee, instant - 30 to 120mg per cup
- Coffee, decaffeinated - 3 to 5mg per cup
- Tea, brewed American - 20 to 90mg per cup
- Tea, brewed imported - 25 to 110mg per cup
- Tea, instant - 28mg per cup
- Tea, canned iced - 22 to 36mg per 12 ounces
- Cola and other soft drinks, caffeine-containing - 36 to 90mg per 12 ounces
- Cola and other soft drinks, decaffeinated - 0mg per 12 ounces
- Cocoa - 4mg per cup
- Chocolate, milk - 3 to 6mg per ounce
- Chocolate, bittersweet - 25mg per ounce
How to Diagnose Caffeine Intoxication?
Very similar to mental disorders of Generalize Anxiety Disorders and Panic Attacks.
Diagnosis critiera - if at least 5 of the symptoms:
. At least five of the following signs:1. restlessness
5. flushed face
7. gastrointestinal disturbance
8. muscle twitching
9. rambling flow of thought and speech
10. tachycardia or cardiac arrhythmia
11. periods of inexhaustibility
12. psychomotor agitation
Caffeine Intoxication can cause peptic ulcers and hematemesis. In addition to arrhythmia with extremely high doses, the substance can cause marked hypotension and circulatory failure."
#6 Truth Caffeine Can Significantly Raise Chance of Miscarriage
More than 1/2 cup consumption of coffee a day, for a pregnant woman is enough to raise the risk of miscarriage.
"There's general agreement that pregnant women and those trying to conceive should avoid consuming large quantities of caffeine. But after decades of controversy and conflicting evidence, there's still no real consensus on how much caffeine is safe during pregnancy.
The March of Dimes advises women to limit their caffeine intake to less than 200 mg per day (that's about one 12-ounce cup of coffee). This recommendation was prompted by the results of a study published in the March 2008 issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology that showed that moms-to-be who consumed 200 mg or more of caffeine a day had double the risk of miscarriage compared with those who had no caffeine." source: babycenter.org
Truth #7 Caffeine Affects Calcium Loss
The Journal of AMA in 1994 noted the relationship between caffeine and osteoporosis (calcium loss).
"There was a significant association between (drinking more) caffeinated coffee and decreasing bone mineral density at both the hip and the spine, independent of age, obesity, years since menopause, and the use of tobacco, estrogen, alcohol, thiazides, and calcium supplements [in women]."
"Bone density did not vary [...] in women who reported drinking at least one glass of milk per day during most of their adult lives."
That is, if you drink a glass of milk a day, there is no need to worry about the caffeine related loss of calcium." source: Journal of AMA: (JAMA, 26 Jan. 1994, p. 280-3.)
Where Are We Consuming Caffeine? What Are Our Options?
Before we get to truth number 7, let's examine our options. All too often when we speak of caffeine, we instantly think of only coffee and tea. Those are two of the most popular options, but caffeine is throughout our food supply.
Labeling from the FDA for Caffeine Provided Limited Knowledge
Sadly, the United States FDA does not mandate labeling so sometimes we are consuming caffeine and we may be completely unaware. To help us out, we have compiled a number of graphics which detail many of our favorites. Check our your favorites for the amount of caffeine you are consuming daily. You might be surprised to learn caffeine exists beyond a cup of tea, coffee or soda.
Amount of Caffeine in High Sugar High Energy Drinks
Caffeine in Beverages
Caffeine in a Can
Caffeine is a Drug
Why isn't the amount of caffeine a product contains required on a food label?
"The Nutrition Facts Panel on food labels is required to include recommended dietary information for nutrients. Caffeine is not a nutrient. It is a natural chemical found in such items as tea leaves, coffee beans, and cacao (used to make chocolate). If caffeine is added to a food, it must be included in the listing of ingredients required on food product labels. Caffeine is generally recognized as safe when used in cola-type beverages up to a level of 0.02 percent or 200 parts per million.
The agency has notified nearly 30 manufacturers of certain alcoholic beverages containing added caffeine that it intends to look into the safety and legality of their products."
Caffeine and Energy Drinks Jolt NOS Rockstar Etc...
Energy drinks abound with caffeine. Likewise, energy bars are now including caffeine.
NOS with 343mg (about 2-3 cups of coffee) of caffeine per 22oz (entire bottle), is truly an energy boost. In essence, our entire daily recommended allowance is in one 22 oz bottle. There is a smaller bottle of 11 oz. also available. Again portion control especially here in the United States is especially critical when consuming energy drinks such as NOS or even energy bars. The moral of the story - read the labels.
In all fairness to NOS, the reviews all came up very favorable for both taste and energy. And look at the ingredients they added of B-Vitamins and Ginseng, etc... NOS does appear to be one of the highest horsepower energy drinks on the marketplace today.
"We took the performance of nitrous oxide and
funneled it into NOS Energy Drink. We’ve tuned our power ingredient
blend with Taurine, L-Carnitine, Inositol, Ginseng, and B-Vitamins to
maximize performance and you won’t find another energy drink with more
horsepower. All of this in great flavors that you can down, no problem." source: nos website
Energy Drinks and Labeling for Caffeine Content
The food industry is stepping up to the plate, above and beyond mandated labeling. However, it is still incumbent upon the consumer to read the labels. My advise, if the label on an energy drink doesn't disclose the amount of caffeine, don't buy it. Know what drugs you are putting into your body. Here is an important expert opinion on this same topic:
"senior author of a new report on the beverages Many of these drinks do not label the caffeine content he says and some energy drinks contain as much caffeine as found in 14 cans of soda The industry begs to differ with spokespeople pointing out that most mainstream energy drinks contain the same amount of caffeine or even less than you d get in a cup of brewed coffee" http://www.dailytrends.net/about-caffeine+content+of+beverages.html
Caffeine Lyrics by Eric Clapton
The song composer and famous singer who wrote in Tears in Heaven and Wonderful Tonight also wrote a song about caffeine. Here are the lyrics:
"If you're winking out, got to get on about, caffeine.
If you're nodding off, take a drink, don't you scoff, caffeine.
Look alive, look alive, look alive... caffeine.
Got to get right up, got to down you a cup, caffeine.
Get Colombian blend, so your waking won't end, caffeine.
Look alive, look alive, look alive... caffeine.
Be awake and wired, don't you get yourself fired, caffeine.
Be awake all night, drink tomorrow, all right, caffeine.
Look alive, look alive, look alive... caffeine.
Look alive, look alive, look alive... caffeine.
Look alive, look alive, look alive... caffeine."
Mayo Clinic suggests avoiding caffeine "right before activities that naturally increase your blood pressure, such as exercise, weightlifting or hard physical labor."
Caffeine Origins & More
Caffeine was discovered not made. Caffeine was discovered by a "German chemist, Friedrich Ferdinand Runge, in 1819. He coined the term kaffein, a chemical compound in coffee (the German word for which is Kaffee), which in English became caffeine." Wikipedia continues to report that caffeine is a "bitter, white crystalline xanthine alkaloid that is a psychoactive stimulant drug."
Caffeine can be found in beans, leaves and fruits of many plants. The research studies believe that caffeine is a "natural pesticide" that paralyzes and kills pests that pry on the plants. For coffee, caffeine resides in the bean. For tea, it is in the tea leaves from the tea bush. Other sources include guarana berries, Yaupon Holly, yerba mate and kola nut.
Caffeine affects the central nervous systems. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lists caffeine as a "multiple purpose generally recognized as safe food substance".
Caffeine Quiz - Test Your New Found Knowledge
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Caffeinated: How Our Daily Habit Helps, Hurts and Hooks Us
© 2010 Kelly A Burnett