The Truth About Caffeine

Attention all avid coffee drinkers and faithful Starbucks customers of the world: it’s time to break away from the inflated myths about caffeine to determine, once and for all, if drinking heaps of coffee really is that detrimental toward our health. While experts shift in option on this high-energy beverage, let us at least debunk some of these caffeine mythologies. So get that cup’o coffee a brewin’ and read on.

Myth #1. The effects of caffeine are highly addictive.
Answer: This all depends on how you define addiction. The textbook definition of addiction refers to a strong dependence on a drug, with heavy signs of withdrawal symptoms. While most of us think we can’t start our morning unless the sweet coffee aroma consumes our senses, chances are that’s because it has become part of our routine. Much like working out and going shopping, why end a task that makes us feel good? However, experts say it’s best not to exceed three cups of coffee a day. Although caffeine isn’t addictive in the same way as a drug, you can still experience headaches and severe irritability if you over-consume. Yes, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing.

Myth #2. If you’re pregnant, avoid caffeine at all costs!
Answer: Well, turns out you may not even want to drink it. Many women find that their cravings change when they get pregnant, and no longer have the desire to drink coffee or tea each morning. For those ladies out there that can’t resist, physicians agree that one cup of coffee a day won’t have any adverse effects on the pregnancy. However, a high caffeine intake is linked to risks during pregnancy, like a low-birth rate. While it’s acceptable to drink coffee in moderation, make sure that it doesn’t exceed 150-200 milligrams a day (about one cup of coffee). Pst – A grande latte at Starbucks does not equal one cup!

Myth #3. Caffeine can increase the risk of heart disease.
Answer: This myth has received far more controversy. While studies show that first-time coffee drinkers experience a slight increase in blood pressure, it is extremely minimal and often lowers back to normal over time. There are some cases where coffee is boiled and unfiltered (mostly in Scandinavian countries) that have been shown to elevate cholesterol. Don’t be alarmed! This is because all the excess oils don’t get filtered out, which is completely unrelated to caffeine content.

Myth #4. Caffeine has no health benefits.
Answer: Yes, despite the negative connotations attached to caffeine, it has perks too! Similar to wine, coffee contains antioxidants that can actually help prevent heart disease, and specific forms of cancer. Keep in mind that this is not verification to guzzle down five cups of coffee before noon. Moderation is key. After all, would you polish off a bottle of wine after hearing it too contains cancer-preventing substances? Didn’t think so.

Myth #5. Caffeine is a leading cause of insomnia.
Answer: It’s common knowledge that caffeine can provide us with a boost of much needed energy and heighten our alertness. After all, what else would we drink to jump-start our morning? When it comes to sleep however, this answer becomes a bit more complex. The short version? It depends on the person. Much like how alcohol can put some right to sleep and others are left tossing and turning, the connection between insomnia and caffeine vary from person to person. The best rule of thumb is to have your last cup of coffee six hours before you go to sleep… just to stay on the safe side.

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Tags: caffeine, coffee, Health, high-energy beverage., myths

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