Caffeine Facts

Do you crave coffee first thing in the morning? Need a pop in the afternoon? Caffeine has had a bad reputation, but is it a myth? Read on for 9 interesting facts…….

Myth or Fact? CAFFEINE IS ADDICTIVE. Myth: Although caffeine is considered a mild stimulant, it’s not addictive, according to the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse. Unlike classic stimulants-such as amphetamines and cocaine, there is rarely a strong compulsion to use caffeine. But caffeine can be habit-forming. That’s why you may feel withdrawal symptoms if you skip your morning cup of coffee or afternoon pick-me-up. Typical symptoms include headache, restlessness and irritability. Should you decide to give up caffeine, don’t go cold turkey; instead, slowly decrease your consumption over a week. Really though, why bother? Studies show moderate caffeine intake actually enhances your mood and improves alertness. For adults, the American Dietetic Association suggests no more than 200mg to 300mg a day, which equals 2-3 cups of coffee.

Myth or Fact? CAFFEINE CAUSES DEHYDRATION. Fact: Caffeine is a mild diuretic, but “It’s not very pronounced”, still, diuretics make you have to pee. The more often you go, the more fluids you lose. And you’ll feel more dehydrated because you’re losing more fluids than you’re taking in.

Myth or Fact? CAFFEINE CAN MAKE HEART DISEASE WORSE. Myth: Doctors often tell cardiac patients especially those with high blood pressure, to avoid caffeine. But there’s little proof that it raises the risk of heart attack, sudden death or abnormal heart rhythms. In fact, coffee drinking may reduce risk of heart disease—one of the benefits of caffeine. Drinking tea—black and green, may also have heart-healthy benefits.

Myth or Fact? CAFFEINE HEIGHTENS HYPERTENSION RISK. A little bit of both: Caffeine does cause a small, short-term boost in blood pressure, but it’s nothing serious, and has no lingering health-effect.

Myth or Fact? CAFFEINE CAUSES HYPERACTIVITY IN CHILDREN. Myth: A kid on a pop rush will practically bounce off the walls, but studies show that a moderate amount of caffeine (40mg to 200mg) doesn’t make them hyperactive. Like adults, kids will get an energy boost from caffeine. But whether it’s soda, green tea or coffee, “on average, one serving a day wouldn’t be considered harmful overall for children.” A bigger concern is the empty calories in soda and high energy drinks.

Myth or Fact? CAFFEINE CAUSES BONE LOSS. Fact: Caffeine causes a slight, negligible increase in calcium excretion. Any calcium loss could be offset by consuming more calcium-a few tablespoons of milk, for example.

Myth or Fact? CAFFEINE IS LINKED TO FIBROCYSTIC BREAST DISEASE. Myth: Caffeine intake isn’t related to the benign condition of lumpy breasts, reports the American Medical Association. “There’s no evidence to support the idea that caffeine causes fibrocystic changes.” Many scientists have concurred that it seems to contribute to breast pain, but doesn’t cause breast cancer. That’s because breast pain is hormonal and caffeine causes blood vessels to dilate, adding to normal monthly breast tenderness.

Myth or Fact? CAFFEINE IS UNHEALTHY FOR PREGNANT WOMEN. Fact: So if a woman is pregnant, she should watch how much caffeine she drinks. Once a woman is carrying, she should have no more than one or two cups of coffee a day.

Myth or Fact? CAFFEINE COMES WITH CALORIES GALORE. Myth: On their own, coffee and tea have no calories or fat. It’s the flavored syrups, whole milk and cream that turn innocent caffeinated drinks into calorie bombs. Those tasty blended drinks can contain 200-600 calories. And the creamers found in many offices? Two tablespoons can add 80 calories and four grams of fat-equal to a pat of butter. To cut calories, choose the smallest serving, either 8 or 12 ounces. Order your beverage with fat-free or skim milk and skip the syrup, whipped cream and sprinkles!

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