Is Caffeine Bad For You?

Published 6/10/13

Soda is bad for you. Soda has caffeine. Therefore, caffeine is bad for you, right? Not so fast. Even though caffeine is linked to beverages that have bad reputations, including soda and energy drinks, caffeine itself actually has many positive health benefits and few negative drawbacks. Caffeine is at an all-time high of popularity, with roughly 85% of adults in the United States consuming it on a daily basis. Now it must be mentioned that everybody processes caffeine differently and the overall effect is different for each person so be careful to not let this article encourage you to consume more caffeine than your body can properly handle.

Caffeine Protects Against Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s

Not only does caffeine helps stimulate the brain and central nervous system, caffeine also protects them. By helping stimulate your brain and central nervous system, it helps them stay alert and encourages activity that keeps them “in shape,” similar to how lifting weights keeps your muscles “in shape.”

Caffeine And Weight Loss

Caffeine does produce a temporary increase in your metabolism. This increased metabolic rate gives you a short burst of energy and increases the rate at which your body burns calories.  The increased level of energy can help you workout more intensely or will give you a feeling of restlessness, which can be combated by becoming physically active.

Caffeine Myths

Two popular myths about caffeine claim that caffeine increases the pain, tenderness, or benign lumps in the breast, called fibrocystic changes, as well as claiming that caffeine weakens your bones. Many studies and trials regarding caffeine in recent years have produced no results to confirm these myths. Another myth is that caffeine will dehydrate you. Caffeine itself is a diuretic, meaning that it makes you pee more, but the fluids in the caffeinated beverage, being coffee or tea, will prevent you from becoming dehydrated as a direct result of caffeine’s diuretic effect. Be aware of caffeine pills though, as they do not include any liquids to prevent dehydration. It is highly recommended that you drink two glasses of water when taking caffeine pills. Lastly, caffeine is NOT bad for your heart. Studies have shown that coffee, which includes high levels of caffeine, can elevate cholesterol but it is the volatile oils in coffee that raises cholesterol and not the caffeine. And while caffeine can increase your heart rate, it does not cause an irregular heartbeat.

Downsides Of Caffeine

There are downsides of caffeine that are real and scientifically proven, but they are relatively minor. Caffeine can cause some people to fill jittery or anxious but as the tolerance of caffeine increase these feelings begin to subside. Caffeine can also cause sleep problems, such as insomnia, if you consume it to late in the day. Caffeine is known to become somewhat habituating, and some would even call it addictive although that word comes with a negative connotation. This is usually a result of feeling stimulated and having an improved mood from the consumption of caffeine. And while there may be withdrawals associated with caffeine, they are typically minor and include temporary headaches or a sense of being tired.

Reasons To Avoid Caffeine

People who are sensitive to stimulants should stay away from caffeine. The caffeine can make you feel jittery or anxious if you body isn’t able to efficiently process it and can result in sleeplessness.  People with heart problems and high blood pressure should definitely stay away from caffeine as it can temporarily increase your heart rate and blood pressure.

Caffeine A No-Go For Pregnancy

Recent studies have begun to show that caffeine has a negative affect on growing babies in the womb so it highly suggested that pregnant women refrain from caffeine. The caffeine may cause a lower birth weight and increases chances of miscarriage and stillbirth. 

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