It’s hard to avoid caffeine, especially if you find yourself always sleepy. It seems like everything we love to drink has caffeine in it! Coffee, tea, and soda all contain varying levels of the stuff. It’s even in chocolate and some brands of pain and allergy medication, weird right?
The average person consumes about 300 mg of caffeine per day, and it’s easy to see why… some of the best things in life, like coffee and chocolate, contain a lot of it! Caffeine is the main ingredient in coffee, so you’re getting a sizeable dose of around 100 mg in your daily latte.
But have you ever stopped to wonder if all this coffee and caffeine you’re consuming is actually good for you? Is the daily cup of coffee in your favorite coffee mug really doing you any good?
Coffee Has Side Effects
Coffee tastes really good going down (if you have great coffee at home like Lavazza coffee beans), but it can have some unpleasant side effects! The Mayo Clinic says that you may experience insomnia, nervousness, restlessness, rapid heartbeat, or an upset stomach after consuming four or five cups of coffee. Yikes! You might even experience some of these symptoms with 1 or 2 cups of coffee too, depending on your caffeine tolerance.
Caffeine affects everyone differently, so your tolerance may be lower or higher. It’s important to pay attention to how you feel after you’ve had that double shot of espresso and tell the barista or your best friend to cut you off when you’ve had too much!
Coffee is Addictive
That brings us to our next point! Coffee is addictive, and not just because it’s tasty. Coffee has become more and more popular due to third wave coffee. But, with that popularity steadily increasing some people become physically dependent on caffeine and can’t get through the day without its stimulant effects.
If you get symptoms like headaches, irritability, drowsiness, nausea and concentration issues when you forget to drink your morning macchiato, you may be in caffeine withdrawal. Going into withdrawal is a sign that you’re at least a little bit dependent on coffee!
You may be wondering… is caffeine dependence that bad? If it helps me wake up and focus, won’t I perform better at work if I drink it every day?
Well, when you build up a tolerance to coffee by drinking it every day, it doesn’t improve your cognition anymore. Caffeine is a stimulant, and coffee contains enough of it to increase your alertness and focus if you drink it occasionally.
Emphasis on occasionally.
But once you start drinking coffee on the regular, your body gets so used to having that stimulant boost that it requires it just to function at your normal, baseline level.
That’s why you feel so bad when you miss your morning Starbucks—your body needs caffeine just to get up and running! Every time you forget to drink your coffee, you’ll perform worse at work and school than if you weren’t a regular coffee drinker.
So if you’re dependent on coffee and you don’t want to give it up, make sure you never miss your morning cuppa! Substituting with these coffee candies might help too.
Coffee is Bad for Digestion
Coffee is a diuretic, so it flushes salt and water out of your system and can make you dehydrated. Dehydration is pretty bad for digestion—it’s one of the main causes of chronic constipation. You can also get a headache and start to feel sleepy or dizzy if you become dehydrated. So make sure you drink a big ole glass of water with your morning cups of coffee!
For some people, coffee can cause the pendulum to swing the other way. Coffee can have a laxative effect after two or three cups. If you’re always running to the bathroom after breakfast, now you know why!
Coffee can also cause heartburn because of something in it called tannins. Tannins are one of the antioxidants in coffee. They’re very acidic, so they can trigger heartburn in some people. So if you have acid reflux that won’t go away, you should definitely try and limit your coffee intake.
Caffeine Can Harm Fetuses
Caffeine can also cause issues during pregnancy. A moderate dose of 300 mg may increase the risk of low birth weight in babies. Coffee is also associated with an increased risk of stillbirth.
So if you’re pregnant, you may want to add coffee to the list of things to limit or avoid.
Coffee is Bad for Weight Loss
When you’re trying to lose weight, anything that adds extra, empty calories to your diet gets you further away from your weight loss goals.
Black, brewed coffee is only about 5 calories per cup, so it’s a great choice for diet conscious coffee lovers. But if you’re one of those people who can’t drink it black, you’ll add an extra 10 calories to each cup of coffee just by putting a splash or two of fat free milk in it.
If you use half and half or creamers, you’ll probably add about 35 calories to each cup. If you add sugar, that’s an extra 16 calories for every teaspoon you put in. One pump of flavored syrup will cost you 20 calories of your limited daily calorie budget.
One cup of coffee a day with some extras won’t set you back too far, but if you drink two, three, or four cups a day, you should try to drink it black or cut back on the coffee, as sad as that is!
See what I mean though? Calories can add up quickly with every cup, and if you’re someone who needs coffee every morning, just think about it. 365 x average calorie count, let’s just say that’s a lot of unwanted calories if you’re on a diet for the summer.
Coffee Isn’t All Bad
We saved the best news for last—coffee does have some health benefits! Studies have shown that drinking three cups of coffee a day could reduce your risk getting liver cancer by 50%. That’s no small number!
If you drink four cups of coffee throughout the day, you could reduce your risk of getting mouth and throat cancer by 50%, too. Coffee may also protect you from type 2 diabetes and Parkinson’s disease.
So if you’re like us and you’re not willing to give up your favorite coffee drinks, you can focus on these positives instead of the negatives we highlighted in the rest of this post.