Food Talk And Fabulous Finds - Caffeine pros and cons? How much is OK?




JenMusic
10-23-2010, 07:42 PM
I've known for quite a while that I needed to cut out the diet soda (oh, Cherry Coke Zero, how I love you!). My concerns were for health (they're my only source of artificial sweeteners), cost, and the environmental impact of shipping cans of soda all over the country. So last week I decided I would no longer buy cans of soda for my house, and only have the occasional soda while out. I've had one in the last 10 days.

At the same time, I came to realize that I was truly addicted to my morning cup of coffee. I drink it black, so calories aren't an issue for me, but I would drink 2 large mugs - about 20 ounces - every morning. On mornings where I didn't have coffee within a certain time from waking up, I would have a wicked headache and be crabby. So I decided to take a break from coffee for the time being, as well. It's also been 10 days or so since coffee.

I knew I couldn't go cold turkey on caffeine without crumbling so I started drinking hot black tea. I used to drink it all the time, and don't mind it (although it's no French roast). I've had some green tea, too, but don't like it as much so I stick to mainly black tea, both hot and iced unsweetened if I'm at a restaurant, and water. I would say, on the average day, I have 3 black tea bags, refilling multiple times with water.

I'm still WAY more sluggish in the mornings than if I'd had my coffee. I really miss that bright-eyed feeling that it gives me.

So here are my questions: Would it be beneficial for me to give up caffeine entirely? I mean, I know that I'll still have some sources of it in chocolate, or the occasional cup of something, but should I try to eliminate it? Would dropping caffeine eventually help me feel more alert on my own?

Or, are there advantages to having caffeine? If so, what's a good limit to set?

How do y'all handle your caffeine/coffee/tea intake?

Thanks!


yhahmd
10-23-2010, 07:55 PM
I cut caffiene out cold turkey. It was hard. I was *****y, irritable, I was tired and cranky and emotional and had a headache like you wouldn't believe for about a week. Then suddenly I was fine. I was sleeping through the night, my mood was better, and my skin was better too. The only time I have caffiene now (usually in the form of a tiny kids glass of mt dew) it's to help stave off a headache that's brewing.

I don't see anything wrong with having a cup of coffee in the morning, and I still occasionally have tea (though these days I opt for hot water + honey), but you really need to find a balance. For me it was all or nothing- I either stopped them completely or I would drink 7 cans of mt dew in a day. Plus it was just adding onto the number on the scale.

So in my experience, for me, cutting it out was a good thing... I wish I could offer more advice, but really it's a personal thing. Some people like their coffee in the morning. I just like water.

Oh, should also mention I've been caffeine free sine march 15th, 2008 (in the sense that I don't drink soda, coffee or energy drinks. I still get a bit, obviously lol)

DexterMom
10-23-2010, 10:33 PM
I have no scientific advice to offer but I think we're in similar situations in that I've essentially given up soda and have re-examined my tea/coffee intake. After giving up soda and only having tea/coffee, I realized that my weekend headaches derived from not getting to the coffee pot fast enough! I decided that given how much I enjoyed tea/coffee and given the health benefits of both, I'd drop down to 1-3 small cups a day. So far so good! Headaches are gone even if I skip having a cup all day. So I say go ahead and enjoy that French roast :)


kaplods
10-23-2010, 11:20 PM
I went without caffeine for about a year, and without artificial sweeteners almost as long (I thought that both or either could be triggering or worsening my fibromyalgia).

I went back to both after my doctor ok'd it, without side effects to either. The caffeine actually helps me with the fatigue of the fibro (as long as I don't use it in a way that affects my ability to sleep, so I stop drinking caffeinated beverages early in the afternoon).

I do tend towards Splenda (mostly a taste preference) over aspartame, but neither seem to be a problem for me.

The caffeine has really helped alot with the fibro symptoms. Caffeine even boosts the effectiveness of pain medications, so I can use less pain medication.

I do have to beware energy drinks though - they can contain a lot more caffeine than the typical diet soda, and on too much caffeine I get jittery or I won't sleep well. I generally won't drink any caffeinated beverage after 4pm or any energy drink after noon.

JenMusic
10-24-2010, 08:56 PM
After giving up soda and only having tea/coffee, I realized that my weekend headaches derived from not getting to the coffee pot fast enough! I decided that given how much I enjoyed tea/coffee and given the health benefits of both, I'd drop down to 1-3 small cups a day.

The weekend headaches were my biggest clue, too. Yuck - nothing like being grateful to sleep in a little bit and then have a whopper of a headache!

The caffeine has really helped alot with the fibro symptoms. Caffeine even boosts the effectiveness of pain medications, so I can use less pain medication.

I do have to beware energy drinks though - they can contain a lot more caffeine than the typical diet soda, and on too much caffeine I get jittery or I won't sleep well. I generally won't drink any caffeinated beverage after 4pm or any energy drink after noon.

I've never had an energy drink - when I got to my late 20s I started to become more and more sensitive to caffeine, so generally wouldn't have anything after mid-afternoon in any case.

I didn't know about caffeine boosting the affects of pain meds. I'm not on anything regularly, but that's useful to know.

Hmmm . . . I guess I need to think about this more. I miss coffee, but I hate the idea of being dependent on it - weather physically or psychologically. Maybe only weekends? Or only when out? Just thinking out loud here.

Thanks again for the thoughts!

odonnela
10-25-2010, 07:10 AM
A couple cups is "normal" consumption - I have 2 cups in the morning.

kaplods
10-25-2010, 03:36 PM
I didn't know about caffeine boosting the affects of pain meds. I'm not on anything regularly, but that's useful to know.


Many otc pain relievers and some prescription pain medications actually contain caffeine (I've never taken a prescription medication that contains caffeine, but as I understand it there are a few, especially for migraines).

For example, Exedrine containes acetominophen, aspirin, and caffeine.

With prescription pain meds, caffeine not only boosts the pain relief, it also helps counteract some of the sedating effects of the pain meds.

Number8
10-25-2010, 03:59 PM
I quit caffeine before a few years ago, it took about 1 month before I wasn't a psychotic Bi**h monster. But yes your body will adjust to 0 caffeine eventually.
I have relapsed into absolute dependency again sense college though (so much homework!!) Even after graduating I refuse to let go!
The problem with caffeine is the more you drink the more your body is used to having so 1 cup of coffee becomes useless. Once your body is used to being constantly caffeinated it requires it to function normally.
So Ideally you would want to drink none, but I've read that 1 cup in the morning is not bad for you. (assuming you don't completely relapse like me)

I drink about 8 cups a day