It’s 7am your alarm rings, you desperately try to hit the snooze button, just five more minutes. Five minutes are up you drag your self out of bed, eyes so heavy it takes several minutes to open them fully. The first thing you do is instinctively make your way over to the coffee pot. You manage to get your dose of “energy ” for the morning to get you into the office, but around ten o’clock you start coming down from the stimulation and yes time for a quick break. You dart over to the Starbucks on the corner and pick up another hit of “energy”. Now you can make it through at least until lunch, it’s only two hours away. Noon time comes, you go to the deli and order some lunch with a large Pepsi. Guzzle the Pepsi down, and now you can make it through the afternoon. Does that scenario sound familiar? Well, for about 62% of Americans this scenario is very real, for in a recent survey they claimed that without their daily dose of caffeine they could not function.
There is so much information out there on caffeine whether it is beneficial or harmful but what is the truth about caffeine and how it affects your body? Caffeine is a stimulant. Coffee is the major caffeine source, so are colas, tea, chocolate and most sodas. Stimulants are not the actual source of energy as we give them credit for. They give a spurt of false energy because what it is doing is borrowing or more like robbing from the body’s energy. But just like anything you borrow, you must pay back, and the price is high.
Caffeine is a potent addictive substance. The coffee jitters occur after 150-250mg is consumed, that is a little over one cup of drip coffee. Actual physiological and psychological dependence occurs at 300-600mg a day, between 2-4 cups.
Caffeine is a severe form of poisoning on cellular level. The body resists its very presence by producing one or more of the following symptoms: fatigue, insomnia, ulcers, memory loss, irritability, osteoporosis, energy swings, diarrhea, headache, ringing in the ears, heart palpitations, PMS, depression, fibrocystic breast disease, trembling, lightheadedness, muscle tension. No short list. Do any of those symptoms sound familiar? It also stimulates the body to produce mucus as a means to expel it out of the body. This seemingly innocent drink isn’t so innocent after all. In fact, it contributes to a very acidic, unhealthy condition in the body. No small price to pay for “borrowed energy.” Caffeine depletes the body of water, calcium, potassium, manganese and Vitamin B.
The body’s response to any stimulant is to release some of its stored energy reserves to rapidly eliminate it out of the body. This is done by triggering a fight-or-flight reaction caused by adrenaline being released. This is a response that should only be used under extremely emergent situations. For example, a car is about to hit you and run to dodge it. This reaction stimulates the cardiovascular and nervous system. That is quite stressful for the body! No wonder that six cups of coffee a day doubles heart attack risk. On top of that it accelerates aging due to the fact it lowers levels of the hormone DHEA.
If all that isn’t already enough, caffeine also stimulates on a mental level: anxiety, nervousness, depression, moodiness and irritability.
So it’s obvious that caffeine is not the source of energy, in fact it is one of the biggest factors as to why you may not have energy.
So how can you kick the habit? Well if you decide to quit cold turkey in 2-3 days typically you should be free of any unpleasant withdrawl symptoms. Otherwise, start with your next cup and either decrease every day a cup or decrease every cup the amount of coffee you put it. It’s well worth the effort to be saving your body all that stress and energy! Not to mention how great you will feel.
To read more about effects of caffeine check out Stephen Cherniske’s book about the hidden dangers of caffeine.
Wishing you glowing health, with LOTS of true energy!