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The Power Behind Coffee: Caffeine - Myths, Facts, and the Truth

Dave Carter

June 22, 2020

Caffeine is a natural substance that has been used by people for thousands of years. It is considered as the most widely consumed food or drug in the world. It enhances many aspects of both physical and mental performance.

People who use caffeine regularly to let them work through the day often face confusing and conflicting statements on the effects of it on their health. It is one of the most globally known substances in the world with thousands of years of non-hazard results when taken in moderate doses, resulting in a vast amount of scientific data that can provide answers to the many questions that exist surrounding its use.

There are plenty of myths about caffeine. Understanding what it is will separate the facts from the myths.

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What is Caffeine?​

Caffeine is a chemical stimulant that occurs naturally. Sometimes, it is part of the nutrition and dietetics program in the food industry. It is a drug that shares many traits with more notorious drugs such as cocaine, amphetamines, and heroin. It uses the same biochemical mechanism like these other drugs to stimulate brain function. It is common for people to feel like their minds are racing after drinking enough amount of caffeine.

It is purely a white crystalline powder with a very bitter taste. It is used medically to stimulate the heart and as a mild diuretic, increasing the production of urine to flush fluid out of the body.

It has been part of the global culture for centuries. It is a common belief that the energizing properties of coffee were discovered around 800 AD. Coffee was a local staple in European and Asian countries as early as the 1400s.

Caffeine today is used much to provide a boost of energy or a feeling of heightened alertness. Many students use strong coffee, caffeine pills, and other energy drinks to stay awake during exams. It is also part of some nutrition and dietetics plan for health enthusiasts. But of course, they see to it that the food and drug administration approves the use of it.

What is coffee? Coffee is a popular drink made from brewed roasted coffee beans, which are the seeds of berries from certain species of Coffee. The berries are picked when ripe, processed, and dried. The dried seeds of coffee are roasted to varying degrees, which depend on the desired flavor.

Many people consume coffee as the primary source of caffeine. Most people drink a cup of coffee every morning as an energy booster. A standard cup of brewed coffee contains 95 mg of caffeine. A single espresso or espresso-based drink such as cappuccino or macchiato contains 63 mg. A cup of decaf coffee contains about 3 mg.

What is a Macchiato? Caffe macchiato is an espresso-based drink with a little amount of foamed milk. It became a popular coffee beverage because people wanted to sneak espresso in the afternoon, cappuccino being exclusively for morning pick-me-ups.

What foods are high in caffeine?​

While coffee is the world’s leading source of caffeine, some other foods and drinks have high content. Examples of foods and drinks that are high in caffeine content include espresso, energy drinks, green tea, sodas, black tea, dark chocolate, coffee liqueur, and baked goods containing chocolate.

People who want to get their caffeine boost in the morning drink either a cup of coffee or espresso. For many coffee lovers, espresso vs. coffee is a question that needs to be answered each morning. While many coffee lovers prefer to drink espresso in the morning over regular coffee, those who want a stronger one boost prefer coffee, which has 95 mg against the 63 mg for a cup of espresso or espresso-based drink. Knowing the caffeine content of both coffee and espresso will stop people from asking, "how much caffeine is in a shot of espresso?"

The foods that are natural sources of caffeine have an average content, which can be higher or lower depending on the amount or how much caffeine in coffee added by the manufacturer. But before releasing any product with caffeine, make sure to get the approval of the food and drug administration regarding it.

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Is Caffeine a Drug​

Caffeine is a drug that is produced naturally in the seeds and leaves of many plants. It can also be artificially produced to be used as an additive to certain foods.

It is considered a drug because it is a stimulant for the central nervous system, leading to increased alertness. It gives people a boost in energy and elevates mood that’s why most energy drinks today have caffeine in it.

Many people get most of their caffeine from coffee, espresso, or tea. Younger people get it boosted from sodas and energy drinks. It is not stagnant in your body, but its side effects could be felt for up to 6 hours.

Caffeine is a mild diuretic. It caused a person to urinate more, helping him to get rid of too much fluid from his body. Consuming a drink with a moderate amount of caffeine will not likely result in dehydration. However, people should cut down on consuming caffeinated drinks during long workouts, hot weather, or in situations where they will sweat a lot.

It may also result in the body losing too much calcium, leading to bone loss over time. Drinking coffee or soda instead of milk may have a great impact on bone density, increasing the risk of developing osteoporosis.

What does Caffeine Do to Your Body​

Many people rely on a morning coffee or in the afternoon to help them get through the day. Studies show that around 80 percent of US adults take some form of caffeine each day.

It does much more than merely keep you awake. It is a stimulant for the central nervous system that affects your body in many ways.

Listed below are the things that caffeine does to your body:

  • Alert the brain - It has stimulating effects that cause immediate alertness. It can relieve drowsiness and fatigue.
  • Confusion - Too much of it can overstimulate the brain, confusing.
  • Decreased suicidal risk - The mood-enhancing effect of caffeine is linked to a 45% lower risk of suicide in participants in one study.
  • Irritability - When your body is used to caffeine, you may experience irritability when you stop consuming it. It is a symptom of withdrawal.
  • Rapid     heartbeat - Caffeine can cause a fast heartbeat. People with preexisting heart issues should be careful about their consumption of caffeinated food and drinks.
  • Decreased risk of oral cancer - It is believed that drinking four or more cups of caffeinated coffee each day lowers your risk for oral and throat cancers.
  • Heartburn - Coffee and soda, the usual sources of caffeine, are acidic, which may cause heartburn.
  • Nausea and vomiting - Drinking too many caffeinated drinks can lead to nausea and vomiting.

Muscle aches - Muscle aches are another sign of withdrawal when you stop     consuming caffeinated food or drinks.

Effects of Caffeine, Pros, and Cons​

Some of the possible benefits of caffeine include:

  • Caffeine increases memory
  • The combination of caffeine and carbohydrates can replenish the concentration of glycogen in the muscles after a workout
  • Caffeine cleanses the colon and detoxifies the liver
  • Caffeine keeps you alert

Some of the possible health risks of caffeine include:

  • Caffeine may cause insomnia
  • Increased anxiety could be a result of having too much caffeine
  • Caffeine may cause indigestion
  • Caffeine can cause headaches
  • Caffeine increases the amount of sugary beverages
  • Caffeine may cause forceful heart contractions.

What is Caffeine Bad For?​

Since caffeine can also be called an energizing beverage, it can increase your blood pressure and heart rate, impacting your overall health. While most people experience mild negative effects of caffeine, both short-term and long-term health risks are a possibility.

What are the Effects of too Much Caffeine​

Coffee and tea are healthy beverages, but most of them contain caffeine, a substance that can boost mood, mental and physical performance, and metabolism. Many studies have shown that it is safe for people to consume low-to-moderate amounts of caffeine. Many healthy adults prove that drinking coffee or their caffeine intake has a positive effect on their health.

However, high doses of caffeine intake can have unpleasant and dangerous side effects on health. Research has shown that a person’s genes have a major influence on his tolerance for caffeine. Some people can consume much more caffeine than others without having negative effects. Individuals who are not used to caffeine may experience symptoms after consuming what is generally considered a moderate dose.

If you feel jittery or nervous after consuming a caffeinated drink, it may be time to cut it back because you might put your health at risk also.

How much caffeine is too much?​

Healthy individuals may safely consume up to 400 mg of caffeine a day, which is equivalent to four cups of brewed coffee or ten cans of cola drinks also. Anything over 400 mg of caffeine is considered too much.

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It is said that caffeine is the most consumed drug in the world, with lots of adults drinking caffeinated coffee and younger individuals drinking cola soft drinks or eating chocolate.

When taken in moderation, caffeine consumption helps a person in many ways also, particularly helping get through the day. However, too much caffeine can cause serious problems.

People should consume caffeine from foods and drinks in moderation.


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