Do you ever have those days where no amount of caffeine will perk you up? I knew that today was going to be one of those days for me when I headed to work this morning with not one, but TWO mugs of coffee. (I may have definitely did have an additional cup while I was getting ready…) The amount of caffeine I drink is insane. I have cut back slightly (any caffeine after the morning is now tea rather than coffee because it doesn’t contain quite as much) but my intake is still through the roof. There are known benefits of coffee such as helping fight various diseases, give metabolism a boost, the smell has been known to decrease stress and it provides you with LOADS of antioxidants. But is it possible to have too much of a good thing when it comes to coffee? High consumption of coffee gets a pretty bad rep “How many cups have you had today???” (I get this a lot…) but is it really THAT bad for you? I did a little digging to find out once and for all.
Overall, I didn’t find any sound evidence about health risks attributed to excessive coffee consumption. “Excessive” amounts (which the definition seemed to differ from study to study) do pose negative side effects such as dehydration, nausea, shaking and difficulty sleeping. I only saw one study where they said those who drank 28 cups of coffee per week (that is on average 4, 8oz cups per day) has a 21% higher death rate than non-coffee drinkers (read the study here) I don’t really count this study as valid because it was not very controlled at all and they didn’t document any other poor habits that the subjects may have had (Smoking, excessive alcohol, disease history, sedentary lifestyles, etc. etc.)
While I didn’t find any concrete evidence that my coffee addiction will be my slow demise, I still do want to cut back even more. I have a really hard time sleeping and seem to be dehydrated a lot since I HATE drinking water. Every time I try to cut back I do notice withdrawal symptoms. I think that is the worst part of it all, having an addiction to something. It is horrible! If I don’t have coffee I can guarantee you I will have a migraine, irritability, lethargy, and inability to concentrate. I hate that coffee has that power over me. Here are some ways to cut caffeine in a way that will minimize withdrawal symptoms.
- Gradually decrease intake. Don’t go cold turkey!
- Be sure to get all of your vitamins and minerals on a daily basis. Caffeine can interfere with storage and utilization of various ones, so it is important to get those back to healthy levels. You don’t necessarily need to supplement, it can be as easy as eating a well-rounded diet including lots of fruit, veggies, and whole grains.
- Exercise. Try getting your energy boost from exercise. When I run in the morning instead of later in the day I usually get by with less coffee I have noticed.
- Water, water, water. Sometimes water will do the trick. You will still get the satisfaction of drinking something and the feeling of being full (if that is what you are aiming for)
- Switch to tea. While it still has some caffeine, it has less than coffee.
- Get Half Caf. Sometimes my mom does this without my knowing, sneaky little woman! Sometimes I can tell (if I really didn’t sleep much the night before) but usually I don’t see much of a difference. This is a great way to gradually reduce intake.
I have been loving my CitrusZinger water bottle that my lovely sister got me for Christmas. Strawberries were on sale (I was so excited it was pathetic. I’ve missed fresh berries so much!) I have been putting those in the bottom and have had some nice strawberry-infused water at my fingertips all day.
If you are in the same caffeine-addiction boat as I am, do you ever plan on cutting back? If so, how?
One more day till the weekend!