Medical Articles

Coffee and Caffeine Consumption

One of the most commonly relied upon stimulants across the world, caffeine is something that people of all ages drink, be it in the form of coffee, energy drinks, or fizzy beverages and it would seem that by virtue of its common nature this has meant that people are now apathetic to the potential threats and problems it poses to their health.

Like anything else in our diet, moderation is critical because an excessive consumption of caffeine can and indeed will; pose significant problems for our health and wellbeing as a whole. However, the fact that caffeine is itself addictive causes further problems down the line, making that little more difficult for us to amend our diet and our routine.

For many of us, a cup of coffee (or eight) is one of the few vices that we have and so we rely upon the caffeine intake to provide us with a much needed energy boost. However, whilst caffeine does indeed provide a (short lived it must be noted) surge of energy, caffeine actually takes more than it provides.

Specifically, caffeine will cause a sharp spike in the blood sugar of the body, only for it to then slump a short time later. The slump so caused by the caffeine it must be noted will actually be higher than the value of the energy provided by the caffeine which means that we end up feeling more tired and sluggish after we ingest it.

In addition, by virtue of the fact that caffeine has a horrendously high half life of ten hours, this means that if we ingest ANY of it after 12pm, then we will make it that little bit harder to fall asleep. The degree of severity that the caffeine interferes with our sleeping pattern will be directly affected by the amount we consume.

However, the problems do not end there. Caffeine has also been proven to directly tamper with the absorption process of the essential nutrients and minerals in the diet, on both sides of the fence. What exactly do we mean?

Whenever we eat food, our body will absorb the minerals and nutrients it requires into the small and large intestines. Caffeine will interfere with this critical process meaning that we never get as much goodness from our food as we should.

Women should also be especially vigilant about the frequency and volume of caffeine that they ingest and the reason for this is very simple: caffeine will decrease bone density. Given that women are statistically more likely to suffer joint problems such as osteoarthritis and osteoporosis (both of which are even higher for women who are undergoing, or who have completed the menopause) this means that the reduction of bone density sustained is of grave concern.

This does not mean to say that the caffeine is entirely dangerous nor has no health benefits whatsoever. However, what it DOES mean is that we must ensure that we take the requisite steps to carefully monitor and control our intake.


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