Caffeine? I don't need no stinkin' caffeine!

Discussion in 'Community' started by emw, Feb 17, 2005.

  1. emw macrumors G4

    emw

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    #1
    So there were a couple of threads recently (here and here ) that got me thinking about my "caffeine-free" lifestyle.

    It's odd, when my wife became pregnant with our first child, she needed to stop drinking caffeine (supposedly so the child would be calmer, but that's a load of crap). As a little bit of husbandly solidarity, I chose to stop caffeine as well. Heck, it's the least I could do, given as she really had the hard part of the whole pregnancy thing.

    That was about 5 years ago. And I haven't had a significant amount of caffeine since then - no caffeinated coffee, no Coke/Pepsi/Mountain Dew, etc. Sure, I get some moderate amounts of caffeine from "decaf" drinks - coffee or tea - as well as from chocolate, but that's about it. And I really don't miss it. But I'll tell you - I accidentally ordered a grande regular coffee a couple of weeks ago and sucked it down since I was thirsty. About 1/2-way through, I realized it was caffeinated. I had the shakes for about 3 hours.

    However, I've recently read some reports that seem to indicate some potential health benefits of caffeine and I wonder if I should rethink my "policy" on caffeine.

    Does anyone have any information on real pros and cons of caffeine and it's potential health impacts?

    Does anyone else avoid caffeine? Am I insane for doing this?
     
  2. WinterMute Moderator emeritus

    WinterMute

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2003
    Location:
    London, England
    #2
    I'm trying to keep my coffee intake down, been tring for a few months, my wife can't drink coffee as there is an oil in it that triggers IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), but I've been known to get through 7 or 8 mugs in a day, and then tea as well... Believe me, things get a little anxious if you know what I mean.

    I'm down to 1 or 2 a day now, usually 1 with the first lecture or when I hit the office, and one mid afternoon.

    I feel a lot better for it, much less jittery and less prone to tearing students heads off... ;)

    I love coffee, but I'm afraid it doesn't like me very much these days.

    I don't drink any other caffienated drinks at all, the caffiene in tea cant be absorbed as easily and therefore has less effect, although the tannin plays havoc with your teeth if your not careful.
     
  3. wdlove macrumors P6

    wdlove

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2002
    #3
    I think that it's a personal choice. I have drank coffee since I was about 8 years old. My grandmother got me started. My mother would only let me have it on holidays until I was in high school.

    There is a recent study in Japan that shows a decrease risk of liver cancer for those that drink coffee daily. With colorectal cancer no difference was found. There was a difference with decaffeinated. We are at a greater risk for colorectal cancer.



    http://wcvb-tvhealth.ip2m.com/index.cfm?pt=itemDetail&Item_ID=117471&site_cat_id=1
     
  4. Applespider macrumors G4

    Applespider

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    Jan 20, 2004
    Location:
    looking through rose-tinted spectacles...
    #4
    I believe it's like most things in life. A little may do some good and avoid any stress of trying to avoid it - but too much is never good.

    I have one, admittedly large, caffeinated coffee each morning. Occasionally I'll have a coke (proper Coca Cola not soda/pop/generic fizzy juice) at lunchtime but that's it for the day. I don't drink caffeine after about 4pm though - I know I don't sleep as well if I do.

    As for it now being 'good' for you, I wouldn't worry too much. I'm sure there's another report that says any of it is bad.
     
  5. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #5
    As I sit here, drinking my second black-eye of the day (20 oz Starbucks bold coffee with two added shots), with no shaking whatsoever, I can say that caffeine is definitely something you can get used to. Normally, I just get the one, but, today, I happened to be around Starbucks twice, so, I figured what the hell. Also, I didn't have my red 16 oz mug (it was left at work), so instead of 16 oz of coffee with two shots, I ended up with 40 oz of coffee including four shots. I bought a second 16 oz mug (on clearance for $9.99 - good deal because it has a sealing, screw-on top, so no spills) to avoid this problem in the future. ;)

    I find that caffeine sharpens my thoughts, but that I need to eat when I drink a lot of it (not that you don't need to eat anyway...), as I do get shaky if I gulp a bunch of it on an empty stomach. Also, for the past few months, I've forced myself to drink a big glass of water either before the coffee or with it, because I tended to get dehydrated due to the caffeine.

    I was worried I'd get addicted to it, but I rarely drink caffeine on the weekends and feel nothing other than - surprise - more tired.

    However, if you can manage without it, more power to you. One of the things I've read is that it's better to drink it slowly than to gulp it down - the caffeine "works" better in moderate but steady doses than in bursts.

    Actually, sitting here, now almost done with the second coffee, I do feel a little bit, er, buzzed/jittery. But, given that what I've had over the past five hours would probably kill an elephant, I suppose that's to be expected.

    Edit: The shots were of espresso (obviously). Had they been of, say, whiskey, the effects would likely have been much different, as I drink about two alcoholic drinks a year anymore.
     
  6. jxyama macrumors 68040

    jxyama

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2003
    #6
    i've been on and off the last year or so. i used to drink 3 large cups of coffee or so a day, but now, i will drink one a day, at most.

    i noticed that i get better sleep when i'm off caffeine...

    but if i simply stop, i get a pretty bad headache for a day or so... after that, i'm pretty ok.
     
  7. emw thread starter macrumors G4

    emw

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    Aug 2, 2004
    #7
    So how many cups of coffee have you had? ;)
     
  8. emw thread starter macrumors G4

    emw

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    Aug 2, 2004
    #8
    These were exactly the things I was thinking about - because if I do drink coffee it's decaffeinated, which I know is done, generally, with chemicals.
     
  9. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #9
    There are reports of a genetically-altered naturally caffeine-free bean on its way to market, which should alleviate any such concerns.
     
  10. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

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    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #10
    Two glasses. Five cups (40/8 oz). One quart plus one cup. Two and a half pints. Almost a third of a gallon.

    Java java java java java java java java java java java java java.
     
  11. Omen88 macrumors regular

    Omen88

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    Jan 8, 2002
    Location:
    Flanders (Belgium)
    #11
    I only drink coffee during exams. One cup of expresso in the morning and that gets me a bit shakey, but focused. So that's twice a year for periods of three weeks.

    I need to eat when drinking coffee or my stomach gets really upset (it still does when eating but less).

    So no addiction there.

    On the other hand I drink a lot of coke. I tried stopping that several times, but that gets me real tired and massive head aches. Drinking coffee instead of coke doesn't help, so it's not a caffeine addiction. Could that be a sugar addiction? Or something else?

    Anyway I don't know if it's really worth going through the misery of stopping when it's not a real health hazzard. (I drink about 1 to 1,5 liters a day)
     
  12. emw thread starter macrumors G4

    emw

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    #12
    I was surprised by how many calories I was drinking when I'd have a lot of soda (or is it pop?) - A liter of Coke Classic has about 400 calories, which is a pretty high percentage of a normal 2000 or so calorie a day intake. With the diet stuff, I wonder about the aspartame issue.
     
  13. igucl macrumors 6502a

    igucl

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2003
    #13
    What's this about tannin in tea? What does it do to teeth?
     
  14. Omen88 macrumors regular

    Omen88

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    Jan 8, 2002
    Location:
    Flanders (Belgium)
    #14
    I'm not really worried about the calories, I have an excellent metabolism. And we call it cola or coca here actually :)
     
  15. panphage macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2003
    #15
    That, sir is Caffeine addiction. Classic. "Coffee instead of coke doesn't help" I can't explain. But tired and massive headaches is caffeine addiction. Trust me.
     
  16. rainman::|:| macrumors 603

    rainman::|:|

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2002
    Location:
    iowa
    #16
    This is a great question. I've been caffeine-free for about 9 months now, and I'm much happier without it. And I too have seen the recent influx of pro-caffeine info hit.

    Simply put, as far as we know today, light intake causes no damage to your body and makes you more alert. However, two factors make this scenario unlikely: the addictiveness, and the body's ability to form resistances. Both mean most people will increase their caffeine intake over time, usually ending up at an unhealthy level. So while a few mg of caffeine a day may be good for you... How you gonna keep it that low forever?

    The other issue I have is that medicine has a poor track record with a lot of foods/drugs like this. Hell, they're still not sure if salt is bad for you or not-- 20 years ago, people were willing to say that sodium should be TOTALLY erased from one's diet; today we know that sodium is necessary to survive. Same thing with alcohol: they continually publish contradictory information, one doctor says alcohol is beneficial, another says not. Lately we've been hearing so much positive about it that perhaps the debate is over. But my point is, it's not practical to alter your dietary habits for every little announcement by the health community... Use common sense.

    And lastly... Since they can't say for certain that caffeine does more good than harm, and since the good that caffeine does is very tiny, I'd say the reduced teeth-grinding and jitters and dehydration might not be worth the trade. So I'm not giving in, and neither should you :)
     
  17. ravenvii macrumors 604

    ravenvii

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    Mar 17, 2004
    Location:
    Melenkurion Skyweir
    #17
    I'm no caffeine addict, but I do consume them. I usually have 1-2 cups of coffee from Starbucks per month - usually cinnamon cappuccino. Tasty. But I typically don't drink them for the caffeine effect, just the good taste. I got most of my caffeine from soda though - I used to drink one 20oz bottle of soda everyday. That was last year, now I drink 2-3 20oz bottles per week. Wasn't addicted - it was easy to stop cold turkey - I do it all the time when I go home where the family semi-forbids soda in the refrigator. (Semi because if I buy my own, they allow it. But they NEVER buy it themselves).

    I notice that caffeine from soda is different from caffeine in coffee... If I got it from a soda, I got no shakes or anything, just this sort of giddy energy. But with coffee, I get this weird feeling of being exhausted in the background, hidden by the shaky energy in the front. That feeling sucks, so I tend to avoid coffee when I'm tired.

    Anyway... yeah.
     
  18. blackfox macrumors 65816

    blackfox

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    Feb 18, 2003
    Location:
    PDX
    #18
    Stain them (at the very least). As can coffee btw.

    I drink inordinate amounts of coffee, on the order of two pots of coffee a day, with large amounts of sugar. So I get a sugar-high in addition to caffeination. I have had large amounts of caffeine my whole life. As a child, growing up in an English family, I had at least 2 cups of tea a day, as my dad would make tea upwards of four times a day. When I was about 17, I could no longer handle tea and to this day even a cup makes me nauseious. At that point I began drinking coffee, which even black and in large quantaties, doesn't upset my stomach.

    I often drink coffee in the evening, if working at home, and have no problem sleeping. I also have no problem going without coffee, if circumstances prevent me from having it, although I am slower to become awake. I have never drank soda, apart from sporadic occasions.

    I guess I am a freak-of-nature. BTW, if you want some really strong and excellent coffee, try espresso drip with condensed milk over ice. Super strong and sweet...you will (temporarily) become super-human.

    on a related note, I am still patiently waiting for a macrumors coffee mug.
     
  19. emw thread starter macrumors G4

    emw

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    #19
    That is part of my dilemma. You see, I don't really like the taste of coffee - decaf or regular - but I'm into milk with sugar. But it's more socially acceptable to order coffee, then drown it in milk and sugar, than to order hot milk and put sugar in it. :p
     
  20. blackfox macrumors 65816

    blackfox

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    Feb 18, 2003
    Location:
    PDX
    #20
    I see your point, but most coffee establishments have a variety of "steamers" to choose from, which are only steamed milk and a flavored-syrup. They are cheap, and pretty good. I also order cafe ole's (known as a misto at starbucks, which is just regular coffee instead of expresso, and steamed milk) - they are also cheap, btw. There is also chai to consider, although it can have a very high caffeine content depending...

    *edit* BTW, in case someone doesn't know...NEVER get a milk-based coffee drink with certain types of syrup (like raspberry for example). The syrup curdles the milk. I do not understand why this is not explained to customers who order such drinks, as the employees are often fully aware. In any case, if you must have a flavored coffee of this type, get soy milk. FYI.
     
  21. joepunk macrumors 68030

    joepunk

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    Aug 5, 2004
    Location:
    a profane existence
    #21
    I hope that after university I don't get addicted to it.

    In High School, we used to drink 1 20oz a day. Really bad for us but most students never realized it. Most would slurp it down within the hour. For me, one would last about 3 hours or more.

    The only time when I would need a buzz from caffeine is during the afternoon or during the evening when I really need to stay up really late to finish a project.

    In the morining I can most defently go without coffee. Except that I sometimes like to mix my favorite sugerless Trader Joe's Mexico coco mix.

    Right now I have only slepted for about 4.5-5 hours and had only yogurt for breakfast and a 12oz moca to stay awake to study for the test I just finished. Probably should eat something in the next hour.
     
  22. Drgnhntr macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2004
    Location:
    San Diego
    #22
    I quit caffine for a short amount of time and found that (after withdrawal) I slept better, woke up better, and had more energy during the day. Unfortunately I had to start waking up about an hour earlier and started drinking coffee again to get me going. It is odd because I only drink coffee on the weekdays and I definitely feel withdrawal from it on the weekends that other caffinated drinks don't seeem to satisfy.

    A lot of the studies out there can't seem to determine if the benefits of coffee and tea come from the caffeine, the antioxidants or the other chemicals in them. I can't see how drinking it in moderation could be a bad thing. I have to admit that I am slightly addicted, but I also like the taste of coffee. I will have to try that espresso condensed milk drink, thanks for the idea blackfox.
     
  23. Jovian9 macrumors 68000

    Jovian9

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    Feb 19, 2003
    Location:
    Planet Zebes
    #23
    Caffeine addiction. I had this problem. Myself and a friend used to put away cases of Dr. Pepper.......cold, hot....didn't matter. If we drank anything it was Dr. Pepper........even had a wall of stacked (in original form) DP boxes. Over the years I've had an ongoing New Year's resolution to cut back my DP (soft drink) intake. I am down to 1 per day now. Now I rarely get caffeine headaches. I can even go a day without caffeine sometimes and not get a headache. I could never do this until I got down to 1/day. Do it slowly and it will help out with those headaches.
     
  24. wdlove macrumors P6

    wdlove

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2002
    #24
    I drink two cups of caffeinated coffee in the morning. Then probably 16 ounces of Coke afternoon to evening.

    As mentioned moderation is the key. With the nutrition studies that I've participated in, three servings per day of caffeinated drinks per day. Which means 8 ounces of coffee or tea, and 16 ounces of soda/pop.

    If you are cutting down on caffeinated drinks, as mentioned it should be done gradually. That way headaches can be avoided.
     
  25. iGary Guest

    iGary

    Joined:
    May 26, 2004
    Location:
    Randy's House
    #25
    I went caffeine free for about three years, due to headache problems.

    These days, I usually have a half caffeinated, half decaf 16-ouncer in the morning, and another mid-morning.

    If I am really dragging butt in the afternoon, and have writing work to do that evening, I really have no other choice but to junk up on some coffee.

    I do tend to stay away from caffeinated sodas (not that I drink that much soda anyway - I drink about a gallon of water a day), but a coke and some fries sure do taste good every now and then.

    So, with that said, yeah, I have done without, but I'm not addicted to it and really need it in order to keep up with my workload sometimes. :cool:
     

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