The Caffeine Debate: Good or Bad?

July 31, 2015

 

 

Is caffeine good or bad for you? Everyone has an opinion and it seems it changes from week to week. I’ve been doing some heavy research into this issue because I wanted to get to the bottom of the debate. Being more of a tea drinker, I enjoy herbals and rooibos teas due to health issues. However, I do enjoy a good cup of coffee or tea and I don’t want to feel guilty about the caffeine.

 

 

So, let’s get down to brass tacks:

  • Caffeinated beverages will dehydrate you.  FALSE

FACT: In a study done by Lawrence Armstrong at the University of Connecticut, 10 different studies were conducted all producing basically the same result. It was found that caffeine was at most a mild diuretic. Even the National Institutes of Health found in a controlled experiment that drinking black tea or drinking water was essentially the same, as far as keeping your body hydrated. FYI: There have been studies on this dating as far back as 1928!

 

  • Caffeine is addictive.  TRUE

FACT: Caffeine is a drug. For those who are die hard coffee fans, if they suddenly stop drinking it, find there are withdrawal effects such as headaches. So with anything moderation is key. I once drank an entire pitcher of our delicious Black Currant Iced Tea in one afternoon. The zing I experience was ridiculous and the crash and burn is not something I want to experience again.  Moderation, moderation, moderation! FYI: Caffeine can be lethal if you were to drink over 100 cups of coffee in a 4 hour period! Seriously? Who is going to drink that much coffee? But it does give one pause to all these energy drinks our kids are drinking.

  • Caffeine increases the risk of heart disease. 

    FALSE

FACT: Large-scale studies have shown that caffeine consumption does not increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and does not raise cholesterol levels or even cause an irregular heartbeat. FYI:  A slight, temporary rise in blood pressure has been observed with caffeine consumption with individual who are to caffeine. However, this rise is similar to that resulting from normal activity, such as climbing stairs. Still, people with high blood pressure are wise to consult their physician about caffeine intake.

 

  • Caffeine causes cancer.  FALSE

FACT: There have been numerous scientific studies that have proven caffeine does not increase  your risk for cancer. FYI:  Google it. I did. You’ll be amazed at the information that is out there.

  • There are no positive effects of caffeine.  FALSE

FACT:  Aside from the obvious in increasing both alertness and attention span levels, studies have shown that caffeine may actually improve memory and logical reasoning. Many caffeinated beverages, most notably tea and more recently coffee and chocolate (mmmm, chocolate!) have been found to contain antioxidants! Yes, you heard that right! Antioxidants appear to have health benefits particularly in the area of heart health and cancer FYI: As one who suffers from asthma, I know firsthand that caffeine has long been known to help asthma sufferers.

 

So dear readers, I think we can safely assume that drinking a cup of coffee, having a chai latte, drinking an energy drink or eating a bar of chocolate is NOT something to feel guilty about.  As with everything in life, moderation Is key.

 

What is a "moderate" intake of caffeine

A moderate intake of caffeine for an adult is about 300 mg a day. I've included the average amount of caffeine per serving of the following:

 

Average amount per serving

 

Beverage                          

                                   Caffeine Per 8 oz Cup (amount of caffeine varies due to steep time and                                                   quanitity of tea used)

White Tea                   30-55 mg

Green Tea                   35-70 mg

Oolong Tea                 50-75 mg

Black Tea                     50-90 mg

 

Coffee150-200 mg

Instant coffee         75mg per 190ml cup

Brewed coffee         85mg per 190ml cup

Energy drink             28-87mg per 250ml glass 

Cola drinks (diet or regular)   8- 53 mg per 250 ml glass 

Some soft drinks   24mg per 250ml glass

Chocolate    5.5 - 35.5 mg per 50g bar

Then of course there is many herbal teas and Rooibos which are free from caffiene 

 

With all that being said, I’m off to enjoy a lovely chai latte with our delectable Lonestar Chai. GUILT FREE!

 

           

Be Well,

 

                 Ang.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

  • American Cancer Society Medical and Scientific Committee. Guidelines on diet, nutrition and cancer. Cancer J. for Clinicians, 41(6):334-8,1996.

  • The European Food Information Council 2015

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