Every few months, I struggle with my resolution to decrease my coffee intake. I do not need caffeine, but I love the taste of coffee. And decaf just does not taste the same. But I try to limit myself to a weekly coffee treat because I am part of the whipped, foamed, blended cult created by Starbucks. I cannot afford the extra calories or the cost.
This post is a discussion of the impacts of caffeine on our health. The caffeine commonly ingested by people are found in coffee (300+ mg of caffeine), soda (35+ mg of caffeine per can), and tea (40+ mg of caffeine).
After your first cup of coffee or can of soda, the effects of caffeine peaks within 60 minutes of drinking and takes anywhere between 3-7 hours to leave our bodies. Caffeine can be passed through breast milk, amniotic fluid, and semen.
Caffeine affects Young Children
A can of soda does not affect an adult the same as it would affect a child. A 12-ounce can of Pepsi had 38mg of caffeine. If we put 38 mg of caffeine into a 150 pound woman, the caffeine dilutes in her system a whole lot more than if we put that same 38 mg of caffeine into a 40 pound child. That same can of soda is 3 times more effective on a child. Think about that the next you let your child drink a can of soda.
Do you think diet soda is any better? Diet sodas in general have more caffeine in it than regular soda. For example, a Coke has 35 mg of caffeine, but Diet Coke has 45 mg of caffeine.
Caffeine affects Our Heart Rate
Caffeine increases our level of epinephrine, norepinephrine, and cortisol (all three hormones are part of our bodies” stress response system). This drives up our heart rate and increases our “stress” response that contributes to weight gain. A diet of lots of sugar and caffeine (such as drinking soda) is a great way of increasing the stress level in our bodies.
Caffeine affects Our Sleep Pattern
Caffeine keeps us awake by blocking a brain chemical called GABA that is responsible for putting our brains to sleep. We can think of GABA as a soft lullaby that lulls our bodies to sleep. Caffeine, on the other hand, is your teen’s rock band bursting into your master’s bedroom when you are half asleep.
Caffeine affects Our Bladders
As if an elevated heart rate and a lack of sleep not enough, caffeine also makes urinary incontinence worse. If you are an adult, that means getting up multiple times a night to pee. If you are a child, it means wetting the bed. If you are tired of changing the sheets, limit the amount of soda that your child is drinking.
Cutting out Caffeine
Soda is the largest source of refined sugar in our diet. Switch from drinking soda to drinking juice. Ounce for ounce, the amount of sugar in juice is the same amount in soda, so you would not feel the caffeine detox all at once. Then start diluting the juice a little at time until you just drink water. If you must have a little fuzz, then add sparkling water or club soda to your juice.
Until next time and thanks for stopping by Small Steps to Health.
Coke bottles photo by: eperales.
Caffeine curve photo by: Marya.
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