To Caffeinate Or Not To Caffeinate
There are a few things you see on social media when it comes to coffee.
Some people are so in love with coffee, post photos of it every day, post memes about their coffee, and seem to love it more than life itself. You know, calling it the “elixir of life” and other various nicknames.
Then you get people who don't drink it at all, but also seem to post about the fact they don’t drink coffee... All. The. Time. They’ll also post all the teas and dandelions and matcha lattes, just to let you know, they’re “not a coffee drinker”.
Then you get people going on “coffee detoxes” or “no coffee challenges” where they abstain from the beloved brown liquid for a period of time at the promise of more energy, better mental clarity and freedom from the reliance on Brad the barista.
So what are you meant to do? Let’s go through some of the pros and cons of caffeine.
But before we do, remember, everyone has a different tolerance to caffeine! You can be a slow metaboliser, a fast metaboliser or in the middle. And what this means is that for different people, caffeine will be hanging around in your system for varying amounts of time.
Caffeine can give you a better work-out.
Perhaps not surprising, but caffeine has been shown to benefit a workout in more ways than just more energy. Caffeine may lead to more sustained endurance as well as boosting fat burning, by making it easier for your muscles to use body fat as a source of energy.
Caffeine can act as an appetite suppressant.
While we never suggest starving yourself if you are hungry, caffeine may reduce feelings of hunger, leading to a lower total daily calorie intake. Whether this is a positive or negative depends on your goals, however it’s interesting nonetheless.
A high caffeine intake may worsen symptoms of anxiety.
There’s always a downside to everything. And for people that suffer with anxiety, some find that caffeine worsens the symptoms. If this sounds like you, it’s a good idea to re-evaluate your relationship with caffeine (yes, it’s a relationship), and really examine whether caffeine is inflating your anxiety.
Caffeine can cause blood sugar levels to rise.
Something most people don’t often think about is blood sugar, because what difference does it actually make? Turns out a lot! Blood sugar imbalance is unfortunately common in today’s world, since for many years we have been over-consuming sugar, even if it is natural sugar. The problem is that when our bodies aren’t dealing with sugar correctly, which is impossible when it is consumed in excess, we often experience symptoms like low energy, low moods and sugar cravings.
But that’s not to say caffeine will necessarily always cause these issues! It’s merely a learning that despite not containing sugar, caffeine can still have an effect on blood glucose.
Caffeine can trigger…. Uh…. Release.
Let’s just put it out there. For some, caffeine can have a laxative effect. It’s a known phenomenon that a morning cup of coffee can stimulate the digestive system however researchers have not yet pinpointed the exact mechanism. The funny thing is that it doesn’t have this effect on everyone, and for those that it does, it may be either a negative or a positive. For now, we’ll take it!
Caffeine can affect sleep quality.
You knew this one was coming. It’s true that caffeine stays in your system long after you’ve enjoyed it. The exact time depends on how quickly you metabolise caffeine, which is different for everyone. According to sleep expert Matthew Walker, caffeine has a half life of five to seven hours, meaning it stays in your bloodstream for this long. So your afternoon coffee is likely still hanging around as you are trying to wind down for the night, and even if you do fall asleep, it’s likely it won’t be as deep as it could be without that afternoon kick.
So what do you do?
We know, as with anything health related, there are so many positives and negatives and so much individuality that it can be hard to figure out what the correct decision for you is.
Just be sure to put the health of your sleep above your desire to caffeinate!