Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Kicking The Caffeine Habit

Caffeine is a naturally occurring stimulant which can increase alertness and heart rate. Caffeine can also cause restlessness and difficulty in sleeping .People differ in their sensitivity to caffeine and can have very different types of reactions, according to the health institute of Australia.
Approximate caffeine levels per serve include: (according to the better health channel) 
  • Chocolate drinks – 30 to 60mg
  • Instant coffee – 60 to 100mg
  • Drip or percolated coffee – 100 to 150mg
  • Espresso coffees – such as espresso or latte – 90 to 200mg
  • Cola drinks – 35mg
  • Decaffeinated coffee – around 3mg
  • Tea – 30 to 100mg, depending on the type and strength of the brew (both black and green tea contain caffeine)
  • Energy or sports drinks – such as Red Bull or ‘V’ – 80 to 90mg
  • Dark chocolate bar – 40 to 50mg per 55g serve
  • Guarana – can contain up to 100mg per one gram of guarana
  • Caffeine tablets – such as No-Doz – 100mg per tablet

Natural alternatives to caffeine can provide a similar energy boost when consumed without as many of the long-term effects of regular caffeine intake.

Green Tea
The process used to create green tea is what makes it superior in nutrient content and benefits when compared to other teas, as it preserves content of disease-fighting nutrients called polyphenols and catechins.
Green tea, may provide uplifting sensations, similar to caffeine. Green tea may also modestly increase metabolism and promote weight loss - effects frequently associated with caffeine.

Black Tea
An 8 ounce cup of black tea contains between 20 and 100 milligrams of caffeine. Read the labels on the black tea bag packages to choose the lowest amount of caffeine you need.

 Hot Water
Sometimes you just need a warm beverage. Add flavour with a lemon or a lime to promote digestions

Sparkling/Mineral Water
Soft drink are a LARGE portion of the caffeine culprits for women and children, whether they contain sugar or not. Fizzy water can satisfy your carbonation craving without any caffeine, and as a bonus, it promotes hydration and has no calories. If you can't stand plain sparkling water, try adding again a squeeze of lemon, lime or orange.


Swapping your coffee for a handful of nuts may not seem logical however it can give you the energy you may feel. Keeping a variety of snacks on hand for a blood sugar boost between meals will help regulate blood sugar levels & reduce the dip in energy often associated with an afternoon caffeine hit. These include, nuts & seeds, a boiled egg, vegetable sticks and hummus, just to name a few.

Promoting Weight Loss
Caffeine has been shown in multiple studies to increase caloric expenditure during exercise. Green tea (often with caffeine) is a thermogenic because of its ability to boost metabolism. HOWEVER overloading on caffeine can have a detrimental effect on health by causing gastrointestinal upsets and reduced absorption of nutrients, severe headaches and adrenal exhaustion, irritability, mood swings.

Health Effects
In small amounts, ie: 1 x cup of coffee you feel (150mg)
> more awake
>increases heart rate
>increase urinations
>increase body temperature
>increase acid porduciton in the digestions system

In large amounts caffeine 4-5cups of coffee (over 600mg) will causes
>feel restless & nervous
>deliriousness & depression
>stomach upsets,

In everyday health
- Caffeine inhibits and important amino acid called tyrosine uptake across the brush border of the intestine.  Tyrosine is in involved synthesis of neurotransmitters in the brain. Tyrosine is a precursor to L-dopa, dopamine, norepinephrine and epinephrine. Tyrosine is found in eggs, meats, poultry, fish, nuts, seeds, legumes grains and avocados,

- increase the levels of cortisol(stress hormones) and this can lead weight gain, moodiness, heart disease, and diabetes. Caffeine increases dopamine in the body, making you feel good on initial intake but you feel down when it wears off, much like amphetamines.

- Calcium excretion is increased by high in coffee due to the caffeine & is a major aspect of osteoporotic health

In Females:
- inhibit hormone production
-menopause: consume <250 mg or it may lead to increases in menopausal syptoms.
-excess daily intake of caffeine has been linked to an increase in endometriosis in women
>Can consume <250 mg daily preferably 150 mg
> Can attribute to low birth weights & DM1
> Caffeine enters breast milk

In Males
- inhibit hormone & sperm production

In athletes
- Enhances endurance performance (150mg/L)
- Increases time to exhaustion (4-5mg/kg)
- Increases mean work output (2-5mg/kg)
- Improve post-exercise recovery (364mg)
- Decrease race time (swimmers) (6mg/kg)
- Moderate amounts will not affect gastrointestinal function
- Promotes glucose uptake in the small bowel
- Important to avoid habitual use and associated tolerance
-Has Negative effects with creatine & endurance exercise

St-Onge, M 2005, Dietary fats, teas, dairy, and nuts: potential functional foods for weight control, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vol. 81, no. 1, pp 7-15.