Caffeine: America’s Drug Turns Healthy and Helps Dieting
Caffeine Helps Weight Loss and is healthy. Almost 90% of Americans ingest it in one form or another. There is no doubt of its effects on mental alertness and well being, but what about the long term. Is there a sustained, lifetime benefit or harm from drinking coffee regularly? Does drinking caffeine loaded beverages cause heart or blood pressure problems? Does caffeine help or hinder weight loss?
More than half of all American adults consume more than 300 milligrams (mg) of caffeine every day, making it America’s most popular drug. It is a natural component of chocolate, coffee, and non-herbal tea. It is used as an added energy boost in most colas and energy drinks. It’s also found in diet pills and some over-the-counter pain relievers and medicines. But coffee is the main source of caffeine for most people.
Fifty six percent of Americans drink coffee everyda
y – three cups each – more than 336 million cups a day. Coffee is the second most important commodity after oil. This data from the National Coffee Association reveals that more than 112 million Americans drink coffee every day. Nearly 60% is consumed with breakfast. It’s not the taste that drives the coffee sales, it’s the drug. Caffeine is the drug and coffee is the delivery vehicle.
The Caffeine Advantage
Bennet Weinberg has written two books on coffee, the most recent is titled “The Caffeine Advantage.” Weinberg says caffeine is the world’s most popular drug. “If coffee didn’t contain any caffeine, would it be the popular beverage … the dominant beverage that it is in our culture?” asks Weinberg. “Well there’s no question it would not be. You know, it can’t be a coincidence that all the most popular drinks on earth, which taste quite different from each other, all contain caffeine.” The U.S.. Food and Drug Administration lists caffeine as a “multiple purpose generally recognized as safe food substance”.
Hormonal Basis of Caffeine Interaction with the Body
Adrenaline, which acts as a chemical messenger between cells, was the first hormone to be identified. Intense fear, anger, or stress mobilizes adrenaline from the adrenal gland. It provides us with energy, increases our blood flow, respiration, and heart rate. As it stimulates the brain, it shuts down less vital functions such as digestion, and salivation.
Caffeine works by stimulating adrenaline levels all over the body. Two cups of coffee contain 190 mg of caffeine. That’s enough to triple the amount of adrenaline in the blood. A single eight-ounce cup of regular brewed coffee has about 95 mg. Espresso has about double the caffeine of regular coffee. Regular black tea has about one-third, at 47 mg or less per cup. A 12-ounce can of soda (cola) has about the same amount as a cup of tea – a little less than 50 mg. Chocolates contain caffeine, ranging from 5 to 35 mg per ounce.
Our body makes a chemical ATP (adenosine tri-phosphate) from the energy we consume in fat, sugar and protein. Our muscle makes adenosine as a byproduct. It serves as a battery to store energy during the day. When our cells need a shot of energy, they break down ATP into adenosine and three phosphate molecules. Breaking those chemical bonds releases the energy that was stored when ATP was synthesized. Over the course of a day, as we are physically and mentally active, we consume energy (ATP) and release adenosine. The problem is that the byproduct of this energy release is adenosine, which binds to adenosine receptors in the brain. The binding of adenosine causes drowsiness by slowing down nerve cell activity. That’s why we get tired after exercise and normally as the day progresses.
Caffeine Fools Our Brains
Our brain thinks caffeine looks like adenosine. Therefore, it binds to the adenosine receptors which has the effect of blocking the slow down effects of adenosine. That’s why a shot of coffee late in the afternoon gives us energy. The normal rise in adenosine as the result of working all day is blocked at the cellular level. Nerve cells begin to fire when adenosine is blocked. Thinking there must be an emergency somewhere, the adrenal gland makes adrenaline and all of the side effects of caffeine occur.
Side Effects of Too Much Caffeine:
- Eyes: blurred vision
- Brain: Alertness, thirst, anxiety, irritability, insomnia
- Sense of balance: dizziness
- Mouth: dry
- Skin: pallor, cold sweats, flushing
- Heart: rapid heartbeat, slight blood pressure rise
- System: low blood sugar
- Stomach: nausea, ache
- Muscle: slight tremor
- Respiratory: fruit-like breath odor
- Urinary: increased urination, mild diuretic effect
- Bowels: loose bowels
How Caffeine Helps Weight Loss and is Healthy
Since coffee is the main source of caffeine worldwide, the safety of caffeine has been obtained from numerous coffee studies:
Blood pressure was found to be slightly elevated in a group of 1000 former medical students drinking large amounts of coffee. However, there was no indication of hypertension due to heavy coffee intake. A new study of coffee drinkers in Finland – one of the biggest coffee consumers – brings good news. The study found no evidence that coffee drinking is connected to heart disease. The study did find that heavy coffee drinkers have poorer health habits than those who drank no coffee. Those who drank coffee heavily were more likely to smoke and have greater amounts of body fat. More important however, deaths from heart disease were highest in those who did not drink coffee. In terms of strokes, coffee drinkers had a 23% lowered incidence compared to people who did not drink coffee. Daily coffee consumption among drinkers averaged 5.7 cups.
A 2003 study by researchers at Harvard found that people Coffee contains antioxidants and can improve insulin sensitivity and reduce the risk for incident Type 2 diabetes, the study showed. Among adult males, coffee helps prevent blood clots that cause embolic strokes.
In A 2000 study by researchers in Hawaii that surveyed 8,000 men found that those who drank three or more cups of coffee per day were five times less likely to develop Parkinson’s disease. Coffee appears to provide strong protection from
Parkinson’s disease. Other long term studies have found less dementia in coffee drinkers.
Caffeine and Weight Loss
Weight Loss studies indicate that drinking coffee or tea with caffeine may slightly boost weight loss or prevent weight gain. But there’s no evidence that increased consumption results in significant or permanent weight loss. In addition, some studies found that decaffeinated coffee may contribute to modest changes in weight, suggesting that substances or factors besides caffeine may play a role in weight loss.
Caffeine may reduce appetite for a short time. But there’s not enough evidence to show that long-term consumption aids weight loss.
Caffeine may help burn fat. But this is not significant so you will not see it on a scale. You need to be careful not to confuse studies on rats in a laboratory and humans. Just because metabolism may increase in lab animals, this data cannot be transferred to humans.
Caffeine acts as a mild diuretic, the mild water loss may temporarily decrease your body weight