The Many Myths About Caffeine
There are countless cultural myths about caffeine; from whether it is a healthy substance that should be consumed regularly for alertness, to others who abide by complete abstinence from caffeine due to a belief that it is addictive. With all the ‘fat-burn claiming’ products in the market loaded with maximal doses of caffeine, some believe that it can be used in weight loss efforts. The fact that we live in a society where caffeine-loaded beverages, namingly tea and coffee are the traditional hospitality drinks makes it such an eminent issue.
Caffeine And Alertness
Doctor and psychologist Peter Rogers from Bristol University dives deep into whether caffeine truly increases energy levels and mental alertness or it merely decreases the agitation of low blood sugar levels resulted from not eating during sleeping hours. The conclusion of his experiments is that while caffeine benefits motor performance and mental alertness, tolerance does develop to its effects with time. Higher doses are then required to elicit the required levels of alertness which often leads to the well known anxiety feeling.
In other words, regular caffeine consumption only enhances the symptoms of its withdrawal. Eventually you get caught up in a spiral and become caffeine-dependent – a.k.a addicted.
Of course more trouble is to be expected when refined sugars are added to your caffeinated drinks, leading to overshooting of insulin, signaling the body to store excess sugar into fat cells and translating into more inches onto your waistline.
In my practice as a nutritionist, one of the major issues I am faced with is caffeine dependency with clients getting frustrated with their weight issues and not having a clue as to what could possibly be the reason for stagnation.
My verdict? Caffeine is just another natural occurring substance which has its perks and its drawbacks. Science is what enlightens us as to how we can make the best use of it while minimizing the minuses.
Based on such, I definitely do not recommend complete abstinence from caffeine. If you are in the habit of fixing yourself a cup of coffee ten to fifteen minutes prior to your workout, you would know it is such a blessing. However, make sure to fit in enough periods of time with caffeine abstinence to eliminate the tolerance factor. Avoid caffeine by all means during the evenings and never take it on an empty stomach. Such recommendations are particularly crucial to people with other health issues including hypertension and diabetes.
So there you go, caffeine can be your friend but it also could be your foe. Your choice is the ultimate clincher.