Guest Contributor: Risks and Benefits of Caffeine

Helloooo! A couple of months ago, I was contacted by Beth Waters about contributing a post. I was totally down, and she wrote up a great article about caffeine (mainly having to do with coffee consumption).

COFFEEEE (and its good buddy, the scone):

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So if you know me, you know I love me some coffee. This article was super awesome in keeping me aware and informed, and I hope it could do the same for all you coffee-lovers out there!

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Caffeine is the most widely consumed psychoactive chemical on the planet. Like with any substance you use, it is important to know the risks as well as the benefits. About 90% of humans above the age of 18 ingest some form of caffeine on a daily basis. A vast majority of this consumption is in the form of coffee. How can you tell if you are drinking too much? Start by getting the facts about the risks and benefits of caffeine use. Then decide how much coffee is right for you.

It is very possible to consume too much caffeine, but laws do not currently require labels to show the exact amount of caffeine contained in the product. This makes it difficult for caffeine doses to be monitored with any kind of accuracy. Safe doses of caffeine amount to 130 – 300 mg per day, or 2-3 cups of coffee.

Research shows that ten grams of caffeine is considered to be a fatal dose for the average adult human. This is the equivalent of roughly a hundred cups of coffee in rapid succession. It is not likely for a person to overdose on caffeine via coffee consumption, but there are many products on the market which contain concentrated caffeine in higher doses. These include over the counter diet pills, sleep suppressants, headache powders and energy drinks. Such products are not always labeled with warnings or exact caffeine dosage information, but overdose can be very possible if they are consumed in excess.

Benefits

Caffeine is generally associated with increased attentiveness, focus, coordination, and wakefulness.

Studies show that coffee consumption in moderation may reduce the risk of certain diseases such as Parkinson’s, Gallstones, Cirrhosis, Depression and Diabetes.

Caffeine is a known appetite suppressant, and can result in temporary weight loss.

Risks

Caffeine has been proven to add unhealthy risk factors among pregnant women. Consumption of caffeine during pregnancy is highly discouraged.

Coffee and other sources of caffeine such as cola and black tea have been associated with some dental problems such as staining and rotting of teeth.

Consuming too much caffeine can lead to crashes, which take the user to a much lower plateau than they experienced before consumption. This is a common side effect of many stimulant drugs.

Other Facts

It is a widely accepted falsehood that decaf coffee is completely free of caffeine. Only so much caffeine is able to be removed from the beans through processing, so you are likely to find 8-14mg of caffeine in each cup of decaf coffee. This is a much lower dose than an ordinary cup, but still counts and should be noted as such by concerned parties.

Caffeine addiction is common among Americans. Some symptoms of caffeine withdrawal include a reversal of the effects generally associated with moderate caffeine consumption, such as decreased energy, alertness, activity, and contentedness. Irritability and bad headaches may also occur. It can take up to ten days for all withdrawal symptoms to wear off after an adult stops using caffeine.

Caffeine and Your Children

Caffeine is being added to an alarming array of products; some of which are marketed directly at children. This is unsettling because research has been conducted into fatal doses of caffeine for adults, but the same cannot be said for children. Clinical studies have linked high consumption of caffeine among children to symptoms of ADHD and other health problems. Some products boast the caffeine equivalent of several cups of coffee per serving in their advertisements, but are not required to list the exact amount on their packaging. In some cases they contain a mix of other chemicals intended to increase or enhance the effects of the caffeine. Because of this, it can be very difficult for parents to monitor their children’s caffeine intake. Talk to your doctor to find out the latest information about how caffeine may be affecting you and your child.

About guest author: Beth is the mother of two children and would like to call herself a “supermom”, but believes every mom has super capabilities. She has dedicated her life to live healthy and happily, and to teach her children the same practices. Her knowledge and proficiency in health and fitness comes from her experience writing for medical companies, such as Liberty Medical. You can also check out her blog at Carrots Over Cake.

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Thanks, Beth, on contributing!

Do you drink coffee? Do you drink it at specific times?

If you are not a coffee-drinker, what is/are your reason(s) for not drinking this magical elixir?

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