Why Quitting Caffeine Might Make You Feel Better
By: Kristin Kirkpatrick • Posted on January 23, 2023
What’s your caffeine personality?
Are you someone who sets the coffee on automatic and attacks the pot as soon as you wake up? Are you the person that feels jittery and anxious when you even look at coffee? Or are you the person who is downing energy drinks like water, all day long? These are questions I ask my patients during their nutrition consult. Why? Because their answers tell a lot about whether or not they should consider taking it easy on caffeine.
Not all caffeine is healthy
Caffeine is one of Americans favorite stimulants. It’s easy and relatively cheap to get - and it’s effective. In fact, many studies point to the benefits of caffeinated beverages. The caveat to these studies is they are often examining the delivery system (think black coffee, dark chocolate, and green tea) as the primary source of health promotion. Caffeine delivered in the form of cola or energy drinks can be problematic.
The amount of caffeine in a food is often dependent in the type and amount.
Foods with caffeine
- Black coffee (8oz) – about 65-120mg
- Black Tea (8oz) – about 20-90mg
- Green Tea (8oz) – about 20mg
- Cola (8oz) – about 30-50mg
- Dark Chocolate (1oz) – about 20mg
- Energy drinks (8oz) – about 320mg
Benefits to limiting caffeine
Additionally, for certain individuals carrying the genetics that make it hard to break down caffeine and get it out of the body, too much may lead to adverse health outcomes. Limiting caffeine may lead to:
- better hormonal balance in women
- better quality sleep
- reduced headaches
- less gastrointestinal symptoms
- reduced irritability and anxiety
- better hydration status
Steps to help you limit caffeine
If coffee is not sitting well with you, here are are a few things to consider:
- Consider a nutrigenomics test – Nutrigenomics testing can tell you if caffeine is creating additional anxiety as well as the rate of metabolism. Sometimes understanding your genetics can further prompt you to make effective behavior change.
- Embrace decaffeinated coffee – The cited benefits of both coffee and tea can still be obtained in their decaffeinated counterparts. Consider either going all or ½ decaffeinated to start.
- Avoid energy drinks – Energy drinks have been shown to increase the risk of heart abnormalities. They may also have excess amounts of caffeine in addition to other additives and sugar.
- Limit consumption to earlier in the day – If stopping cold turkey seems too challenging, then consider stopping your caffeine consumption by 2pm. Doing so can give the body time to metabolize and clear caffeine from the system before bed, leading to better quality sleep.
- Find energy through physical activity – If you think caffeine is the only way to get a jolt of energy, think again. Regular physical activity not only boosts energy levels but may also reduce inflammation and your risk for several chronic conditions.
If you feel that caffeine may be the cause of any adverse health, then limiting it, or going caffeine free may make a difference.
Be Strong, Be Healthy, Be in Charge!
Kristin Kirkpatrick is the President of KAK, Consulting, LLC and a dietitian in the Department of Wellness & Preventive Medicine at Cleveland clinic in Cleveland, Ohio. She is a best-selling author, an experienced presenter, and an award winning Dietitian. Kristin has been seen on both local and national shows such as the TODAY show, NBC Nightly News and the Dr. Oz show.
Kristin has over 20 years of experience in the health management area, holds an MS in Health Promotion Management from American University in Washington, D.C., and a BA in Political Science from The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. She is licensed as a Registered Dietitian in the state of Ohio. In January 2017, Kristin published her first book, Skinny Liver: A Proven Program to Prevent and Reverse the New Silent Epidemic—Fatty Liver Disease.
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