June 7, 2022
The Pros and Cons of America’s Favorite Drug
How much caffeine do you consume in a day?
Studies show that 85% of the U.S. population consumes at least one caffeinated beverage per day. With that in mind, it’s no wonder that caffeine carries the nickname of “America’s most popular drug.”
Caffeine is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant naturally occurring in some foods. It blocks your adenosine receptors, making your body feel more awake and alert. That’s why more than 50% of U.S. adults consume at least 300 mg of caffeine per day. For context, the FDA recommends no more than 400 mg per day, the typical content of 2-3 cups of coffee. Regardless of your vice, whether coffee, tea or soda, there are pros and cons to your favorite caffeinated drink.
Let’s start with the pros. Caffeine can:
- Increase wakefulness and cognitive function
- Alleviate fatigue
- Improve concentration, focus and alertness
- Positively affect your memory
- Increase weight loss in moderation
We know that sometimes, you just need a quick and easy boost of energy to get you through the day. There’s nothing wrong with a caffeinated drink every so often, but it’s important to be aware of caffeine’s full range of effects – not just the pros. Here are some potential concerns:
- Negative impacts on pregnancy and fertility
- Glucose control
- Worsening symptoms of anxiety and depression
- Mixing alcohol with energy drinks increases impairedness
- Caffeine is not a sufficient replacement for sleep
- The sneaky addition of caffeine to foods, especially those targeted at children
- Caffeine powder could be fatal
There are plenty of myths about caffeine, and Coryell Health has heard them all. Have you been told that caffeine is addictive? That’s not exactly true. While caffeine consumption can create dependence in adults, the side effects and potential withdrawals don’t compare to addictive substances like drugs and alcohol. What about caffeine being a diuretic? Thankfully, that’s not true either – there’s no evidence to suggest that caffeine will increase your risk of dehydration. Have you heard that caffeine can sober you up? We don’t recommend trying this because caffeine will not reduce blood or breath alcohol content.
Are you trying to cut back on your caffeine intake? Don’t do it cold turkey. Try incorporating different beverages like lemon water, chai tea, or kombucha for a few days. In addition, fuel your body well with healthy meals and snacks for some natural energy. Take a walk for exercise, connect with nature, and stay hydrated – never let your water intake suffer.
At Coryell Health, we want to make sure you are the healthiest version of yourself, mind and body. If you have any concerns about the amount of caffeine you have to consume to function properly, talk to your primary care physician today.