Welcome to the new year, everyone! After a late night and a day to recover, 2019 is fully here. Many Americans are back to their routine today. It’s probable that they reached for a cup of jolt this morning, be it coffee or tea — some might even have had soda or an energy drink. In fact, 90 percent of American adults drink caffeine daily.
A six-ounce cup of coffee has 100 mg of caffeine, a tablet of the widely available OTC caffeine pill, NoDoze, has 200. For years, coffee has been claimed as a miracle substance that protects against everything from bronchopulmonary dysplasia in premature babies to Alzheimer’s in senior citizens. The stimulant has been positively linked to better exercise, mental acuity, longevity and more.
But caffeine is not universally praised. While some studies have found it can help you lose weight, others cast that into doubt. The substance can decrease appetite for a little while but may, in fact, make a person want snacks or bigger meals later. Moreover, studies have shown it may contribute to insulin resistance and upsets sleep patterns which, in turn, upsets blood sugar. In one study, they saw participants who had taken 250 mg of caffeine had significantly higher blood sugar than people on placebos. On the other hand, it does help with digestion, which might explain why people like a cup after dinner.
Along with its health benefits and drawbacks, it is part of our culture. Many of us treat it as a drug that’s socially acceptable. “I’m addicted to caffeine.” “I get a brutal headache when I don’t have my caffeine.” “I couldn’t function without it.” We treat our tolerance for the chemical like a badge of honor, “Caffeine does nothing to me. I love a cup of coffee after dinner.” It’s gotten so bad that you can find sites online to learn about, and treat, caffeine withdrawal symptoms.
So today, and every morning, you might want to weigh the risk and benefits of caffeine. That way you can decide if caffeine is a good substance to use for your health and to get you out of bed.