Caffeine is a beautiful thing. Consuming it can have some benefits like improved memory function and alertness but have you ever wondered what would happen if you stopped consuming it?
I've heard it before and I'm sure you have too: people transforming their lives by going off caffeine.
In hopes of getting to the bottom of it all, Prevention
put together a list side effects you may experience when you give up the caffeine:
1. You'll feel like crap (for a little while).
Miss your morning coffee? Than you have an idea where we're going with this. Caffeine withdrawal symptoms include fatigue, headaches, and some pretty hefty mood swings, says Wesley Delbridge, RD, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics. He suggests you tell your friends, family and cowokers that you are quitting caffeine so they are prepared should you be a bit of a bear to deal with.
These symptoms and the withdrawals are not the same for everyone but if you are ingesting upwards of 400 to 500 ml of caffeine per day (that's about 3 to 4 cups of coffee, 6 cups of tea, or 10 cans of soda), you will probably feel some let-down effects, he says. Generally speaking, these symptoms last 7-10 days but you can minimize this by weaning yourself. Cut your intake every 2 or 3 days.
2. You'll lose weight.
"I don't think the average person realizes how many calories they are consuming with their caffeinated drinks," says Delbridge. It is obvious to most of us that mixed coffee drinks are calorie bombs and sodas are loaded with sugar but what isn't obvious is that a regular coffee with cream and sugar can put you around 200 calories a serving. A couple coffees a day and that really adds up.
3...Or you'll gain it.
Caffeine can operate as an appetite suppressant. "You are going to naturally feel hungrier when you go off of caffeine," says Delbridge. It is also believed that caffeine can boost your metabolism. So, if you are drinking your coffee black, it is likely burning more calories than it contains and so if you stop drinking it, you might see some fluctuations.
4. You'll sleep more and have more energy.
A hit of caffeine even 6 hours before you go to bed can disrupt your sleep. And what does that do? You wake up tired and need caffeine. It is a never ending cycle.
People who don't consume caffeine sleep more deeply than those who even have just a little coffee. You will likely feel more exhausted when you first quit but over time, you will end up having far more energy than you'd get from an espresso.
5. You'll feel calmer.
Caffeine is a stimulant which means it ramps up your nervous system. Caffeine triggers a release of adrenaline which puts you, without reason, into 'fight or flight' mode. Plus, since caffeine is a vasoconstrictor, narrowing your blood vessels, it raises your blood pressure, says Delbridge. Nixing caffeine will help you feel calmer and more relaxed.
6. Your workouts will suffer.
That aforementioned 'fight or flight' can come in handy, though, especially if you are about to run a race or do a bootcamp style workout. The American College of Sports Medicine has even come out and said that caffeine improves exercise performance and intensity.
7. Your tummy will be happier.
Coffee poops are a real thing. That's because, apart from the fact that caffeine speeds things up in your digestive system, coffee is very acidic, which can also up your risk of the runs, says Delbridge. Skip caffeine and avoid possible emergency trips to the john.
8. You'll miss out on antioxidants.
According to research from the University of Scranton, coffee is the number one source or antioxidants in the average American's diet. Another study published in Breast Cancer Research
found that women who drink 5 or more cups of coffee a day are 57% less likely to develop estrogen receptor-negative breast cancer than those who drink less than a cup a day. And a recent American Journal of Epidemiology
study found that drinking 3 to 5 cups of coffee per day could cut your risk of dying from heart disease by 21%. So, if you are cutting coffee and tea from your diet, make sure you are getting all you need from fruits and veggies!
This is a tough one! I love my coffee (and don't personally plan on giving it up although I could trim my intake). But it seems to me that a little bit of balance is all one needs.
What do you think? Are the benefits worth it? Have you given up caffeine? Did it change your life? Or, will they be prying the coffee from your cold dead hands?
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