Fat Burner: Caffeine is a stimulant and therefore increases alertness and vigilance. In fact, caffeine is considered an ergogenic drug, which means it is intended to enhance physical performance. Caffeine helps increase plasma free fatty acids during early exercise, which translates to more fat loss in less time. Caffeine is known to decrease the rate of perceived exertion (RPE) and increase power output when intensity remains constant.
Addiction: Have you ever woken up in the morning with a headache, and after that one sip of coffee you feel a million times better? If so, you may be surprised to hear that caffeine is not technically considered physically addictive because classic “withdrawal” symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, anxiety, sweating, and shaking do not occur when caffeine is eliminated from the diet. The use of the term addiction has the connotation of the inability to quit consumption, creating problems for both the individual and society, and there is no harm to anyone due to the consumption or elimination of caffeine.
Caffeine is, however, psychologically addicting, or the term “habit” could be used rather than the term addiction. Some physiological withdrawal symptoms of caffeine include: headache, decreased alertness, decreased energy, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and depressed mood. These symptoms can occur between 12-24 hours after caffeine secession. Tapering off caffeine rather than quitting cold turkey can avoid these withdrawal effects.
May Prevent Type II Diabetes: A review in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that 3-4 cups of coffee a day can actually decrease your risk for developing diabetes by 25%. In fact, there were similar findings with decaf coffee as well, suggesting that it is not the caffeine causing the decreased rate of diabetes. Coffee contains an antioxidant called Chlorogenic acid that may be responsible for this effect. Chlorogenic acid is found in some diabetes medications. Chlorogenic acid is the second most significant ingredient in coffee, right after caffeine itself. A study conducted by the National University of Singapore found that Chlorogenic acid speeds up the process of glucose transport and decreases fasting blood glucose. Because Chlorogenic acid is found in coffee, it is highly suggested that coffee has a beneficial effect in decreasing blood glucose levels in type II diabetics.
Predisposition to Osteoporosis: The consumption of caffeine has been known to increase the rate of bone loss and therefore is linked to higher rates of osteoporosis. During your bone building years (age 8-30) it is essential to consume calcium to build strong bones for when you reach your peak bone density (between ages 20-30). After this, bone loss begins. Caffeine limits the absorption of calcium, so drinking caffeine at a younger age can decrease the amount of calcium that you absorb, ultimately affecting your bone density later in life. It is important to remember that caffeine intake has been correlated to osteoporosis, but is not a direct cause. A calcium supplement may be beneficial to counteract the caffeine’s effect.
Dehydration: A diuretic is defined as a drug that increases urinary output. Because caffeine can have a diuretic effect, many people have the misconception that consuming coffee will make you dehydrated. In theory, this would happen because the caffeine increases blood flow to the kidneys and inhibits the reabsorption of sodium and calcium. However, studies have found that consumption of caffeine does not actually cause dehydration. In a study published in the Critical Reviews of Food Science and Nutrition, researchers found that only about 5% of the ingested caffeine is excreted in the urine, proving that it has minimal diuretic effects. Variability between subjects is significant but renal clearance occurs about 3-5 hours after consumption. The only proven risk to dehydration is at a consumption rate of 600 mg per day, which is about 12 cups of tea or 6 cups of coffee.
- Carrie Ruxton. “Health Aspects of Caffeine: Benefits and Risks.” Nursing Standard 24.9 (2009): 41-48. Web. 29 Feb. 2016.
- Weinberg, Linda. “Coffee Break or Caffeine Fix? Pros and Cons of Stimulating Beverages.” Environmental Nutrition 23.11 (2000): n. pag. Web. 29 Feb. 2016.
- James, D., and Rob Lane. “The Burning Question: Should I Cut Back on Coffee?” Health 25.7 (2011): n. pag. Web. 29 Feb. 2016.