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Caffeine: Friend or foe?

Caffeine: Friend or foe? 03/02/2015

Caffeine is something many of us depend on; can you function in the morning without your hit? How much caffeine do you consume each day? Why are so many people dependent on it?

The common reasons for drinking it are:

  • It’s a comforting habit
  • To feel awake & energized
  • To stimulate bowel movements

When you’re consuming caffeine what else are you consuming with it? If it’s tea or coffee there’s often sugar or other sweeteners and/or milk or cream. If you get your hit from caffeinated fizzy drinks the story could be even worse, read the label and see how many ingredients you recognize? If you don’t recognize them your body won’t either. Toxins found in caffeinated sodas, black tea, coffee, sugar and dairy are all acid forming ingredients in your body, which means you have to work hard to neutralize their effects. If you’re consistently drip-feeding your body with these ingredients all day, the body constantly has to work hard, which can cause knock on effects.

If comfort is the only reason you’re drinking it I would suggest you gently reduce your consumption over time and replace caffeine with other decaffeinated warming drinks like herbal teas or lemon water, for example among many other options.

If you’re drinking it for either of the last 2 reasons it can be more difficult to give up. Are you dependent on it for any reason? If so maybe you’re experiencing other side effects that you don’t connect to the caffeine. 

Caffeine consumption can contribute to the following negative effects on your health:

  • Insomnia
  • Fever
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Respiratory issues
  • Dizziness
  • Increased urination
  • Dehydration
  • Vomiting

If you feel caffeine may be negatively affecting your health you may want to cut down or remove it from your diet completely, but this is not an easy task. You have two options. One is to go cold turkey; this can have adverse side effects, which can last 1-3 days. The second is to gently reduce the amount you consume over 1-3 weeks.

Withdrawal symptoms can include the following:

  • Headaches or migraines
  • Lack of focus / foggy mind
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle pain
  • Nausea
  • Irritability
  • Lethargy and demotivation
  • Flu like symptoms
  • Insomnia
  • Depression

If you plan to try cold turkey I recommend you begin on a day off work or at the weekend so you can rest and sleep off any negative side effects. Drink plenty of water to flush out the toxins. Exercise is a great way to increase energy levels and sweat out the toxins as well as distracting you.

Is the reason you rely on the caffeine worth all the negative side effects it can have? Would it be better to feel awake in the morning or be able to go to the toilet naturally with out stimulants? Is caffeine just masking another health issue you should be addressing? 

For help or advice feel free to contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Alternatively check out this website, it has lots of helpful information http://www.caffeineinformer.com/