Caffeine : Myth & Facts

 8 Caffeine Myth & Facts

It can sometimes be difficult to say if something is a fact or a myth. There is a big chance that you might have your facts wrong when it comes to caffeine. For instance, do you have an idea which are the sources of caffeine? Two of them, tea leaves and coffee, you probably know. But, you probably haven’t heard that cocoa beans and kola nuts are very common sources of caffeine. Food also contains caffeine. Depending on the size and type of food and beverage, and the preparation, the quantity of caffeine can vary.

The amount of caffeine can be from 4 mg in chocolate syrup to 160 mg in energy drinks. You must know that there is a little bit of caffeine even in decaffeinated coffee. Pain relievers, diet pills and cold medications also contain some dose of caffeine. The dose can vary from 16 to 200 mg, depending on the medication. Caffeine increases the effectiveness of pain relievers because by itself is a very mild painkiller. If you want to know more about caffeine, continue reading.

Myth no.1: Caffeine can create an addiction

Depending on the definition you have of “addictive”, there can be some truth in this statement. This substance stimulates the nervous system and if used on regular basis it can lead to minor physical dependence. However, it cannot affect the social, physical and economic health like read drugs do. A blunt stop in usage can maybe lead to a few symptoms for a few days. That is, if you have been drinking two or more cups of coffee a day. These symptoms are:

  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Depressed mood

Without a doubt, if you start consuming caffeine you will have a few, not so good days, but it is in no way comparable to the symptoms with alcohol and drug withdrawal. Given this, caffeine is not considered to cause an addiction.

Myth no.2: Caffeine causes Insomnia

The human body absorbs caffeine quickly, but it also gets rid of it as quick. It has a short life because it is processed in the liver. Half of the amount of caffeine in the body is eliminated in 5 to 7 hours. Your body will get rid of 75% of the caffeine after only 10 hours. Most people have no problem sleeping if they drink coffee in the morning. But if you consume coffee throughout the day then you might find yourself rolling in the bed and not being able to sleep. Don’t consume coffee six or less hours before you plan on going to bed and you won’t have trouble sleeping. Different people react to caffeine in different ways. Some are more sensitive to its effects than others. The amount of caffeine a person consumes on daily basis and the metabolism are the two determining factors. More sensitive people can experience nervousness, insomnia and gastrointestinal upset.

Myth no. 3: People who consume caffeine have increased chances of getting cancer, osteoporosis or heart disease.

If you consume caffeine in moderate amounts (300mg= 3 cups of coffee) then you have nothing to worry about. That is, if you are a healthy person. People who are older or have high blood pressure may be more sensitive to its effects.

  • Cancer and caffeine

Caffeine is in no way connected to cancer. More than 20,000 people have been tested in 13 studies and the results clearly stated that caffeine in no way triggers cancer. Moreover, its effects can be protective against some types of cancer.

  • Cardiovascular diseases and caffeine

Those who are sensitive to caffeine can experience a more rapid heartbeat and higher blood pressure, but that in way leads to an increased of cardiovascular disease, irregular heartbeats, higher cholesterol etc. You might want to discuss your usage with your doctor if you have heart problems or high blood pressure. There is a need of more research, so scientists can tell if there is risk of stroke if a person that has high blood pressure consumes caffeine.

  • Osteoporosis and caffeine

Consuming more than 744 mg of caffeine a day can lead to a bigger loss or magnesium and calcium in the urine. But even a greater consumption does not increase the chances of bone loss that is. if the person gets enough calcium on daily basis. You can balance the loss of calcium by adding a little bit of milk in your coffee. Older adults won’t increase their chances of breaking a hip if they drink coffee. Still, you need to talk to your doctor and let him/her advice you if it is good to consume more than 300 mg of caffeine a day.


Myth no. 4: Women who are trying to get pregnant shouldn’t consume caffeine

Many studies have shown there is no connection between drinking small doses of coffee and:

  • Miscarriage
  • Trouble conceiving
  • Low birth rate
  • Premature birth

March of Dimes still suggests that those women trying to conceive shouldn’t drink more than 2 cups of coffee a day. The reason for that is that a small number of studies show there is a possibility of miscarriage if women drink too much coffee.

Myth no.5: Caffeine has a dehydrating effect

Caffeine does make you urinate more frequently, but due to the fact that you consume fluid as well, the lost is compensated. Caffeinated drinks cannot cause dehydration even though the caffeine is considered to be a small diuretic.

Myth no. 6: Caffeine can be harmful for children

Since 2004 children between the ages 6 and 9 have been consuming caffeine. That is due to the big popularity of beverages that contain this ingredient in them. If used in 22 mg or less, caffeine won’t have a negative impact on children’s health. However, it is expected for children to start consuming even more because the popularity of energy drinks continues to grow.

Some kids can react to caffeine and can become anxious or irritable. There is a lot of caffeine and sugar in energy drinks, sweetened teas and sodas and that put a great risk of children becoming obese. Caffeine may not be harmful to children, but all these drinks are.

Myth no.7: You can sober up with caffeine

Studies have shown that people only think they will sober up if they drink coffee, but that is not the truth. It is definitely not ok to drink alcohol, get a cup of coffee afterwards and get behind the wheel. Even though you may feel better, your judgment and reflexes are not that good. It is a fatal combination to mix alcohol and caffeine.

Myth no.8: Caffeine doesn’t benefit the health

There are a few proven health benefits. If you drink coffee on regular basis, you probably know that you have increased concentration, improved alertness, more energy, feeling of sociability and clear headedness. A French study has proved that regular consumption of coffee contributes to slower decline in cognitive ability. Caffeine also helps with headaches, asthma but there is still need of more studies. There is evidence, but not enough that caffeine can lead to risk reduction at the following:

  • Liver disease
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Dementia

More studies need to be conducted so we can gather more proof about the positive and negative effects of caffeine. Just consume it in moderation.

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