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The truth about caffeine


Sorry, excuse me whilst I come down from my caffeine high. Caffeine has often gotten its fair share of bad press, but the question is, is it deserved?

Found to be one of the most prominent ingredients within the majority of slimming pills and those gimmicky fat loss tablets and has people all over the globe craving it first thing in the morning in the form of a coffee.

In light of this, it’s certainly worth some attention especially when it comes to our health.

What is Caffeine? Caffeine is a naturally occurring substance found in coffee beans, guarana seed, tea leaves and it can also be synthesized in labs and found in many popular fizzy beverages.

Weight loss tablets often are just over priced high caffein tablets

So, what about its effect? Studies have shown that caffeine directly stimulates the nervous system, often resulting in the increase of daily energy expenditure, reduce appetite, increase effort levels during training and improve overall alertness. (Schubert et al., 2014 ;Gavrieli et al., 2013; Tremblay, Masson, Leduc, Houde & Depres, 1988).

So, this is great stuff!!! More energy, more alertness. It’s no wonder why our body often craves it first thing in the morning. It’s also been reported to decrease appetite which is great for my clients looking to lose weight but often over consume on calories that exceeds more than they use during the day. (Calorie excess that leads to weight gain.)

So, if caffeine has all these benefits what’s the problem? Well like anything there are always these rumors and anecdotes that plagues the internet to scare you. “My mate drank 10 cups of coffee once and it dehydrated him so much he turned to dust!”

Anecdotes are basically stories that hold no merits.

Really? Does that even sound believable? It’s often assumed that caffeine causes dehydration, however to date, there hasn’t been one concrete evidence or study that has supported this. (Goldstein et al., 2010; Maughan & Griffin, 2003). A minor diuretic may occur at rest; however, it would not be enough to impact your fluid balance during exercise.

BUT! Here it comes… There is a need to keep an eye on how much you consume a day. Further studies have shown and has led to the recommendation that for healthy individuals, 400 to 500 milligrams of caffeine appear to be a safe amount for daily consumption. However, consuming over this amount and there could be adverse side effects, including elevated heart rates, increased blood pressure, jitteriness and gastrointestinal distress. So, if you already suffer with anxiety, having a few cups of coffee a day, could make your symptoms worse. Keep it below 400 for safe measure. Consuming over 10,000 milligrams and you might as well sign your death certificate. This high level of consumption is considered fatal.

When it comes to teenagers, the American Medical Association recommends that they limit their daily intake to just 100 milligrams a day. So, remove those cans of red bull from their reach. Desensitising their nervous system through over consumption of caffeine could cause adverse effect on their hormonal system and bodily functions later in life. (Torpy & Livingston, 2013)

And there you have it, in moderation, caffeine can prove incredible useful in helping us obtain our goals in fitness and in health. However, moderation is key.

One more thing I would add. When you wake up first thing in the morning, instead of staggering your way to that coffee machine, give yourself around 20 minutes before drinking your first cupper. The reason why is because you want your body to rely on its natural hormone cortisol to wake you. This allows your body to function at its optimum, you never want to rely on external substances to do what your body is naturally programmed to do. Like supplements, you only want caffeine to assist not take over.

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