Billions of people across the world consume caffeine every day in many different ways. It is found in many popular foods and drinks, including chocolate, energy drinks, soda, and caffeinated beverages. But the most popular sources of caffeine are coffee and tea. Depending on how you prepare it, coffee can have up to 20 times more caffeine than tea.
No matter how you take it, caffeine can have serious side effects if you get hooked on it. The biggest and most common is addiction. They say numbers don't lie, so what do they have to say about caffeine use and addiction?
- Three out of four regular caffeine users are addicted to the substance
- Consuming just 200 mg of caffeine per day can lead to addiction
- About 83 million Americans drink coffee every day. 68 million take at least three cups per day while 21 million take six or more cups.
- A 1998 study revealed that women who drink at least one cup of coffee per day are half as likely to conceive compared to those who don't drink coffee. You probably need to know that it was a pretty controversial study.
Drinking coffee is such an accepted, normal, even necessary some would say, party of daily life, that we often dismiss all negative thoughts about it.
That stops now. We're going to discuss different ways to stop your caffeine addiction and other methods to get the same cognitive benefits without it.
Dangers of Caffeine Addiction
You're probably wondering why caffeine addiction is a problem. After all, some people live with it just fine by satisfying their caffeine craving with tons of coffee. Well, on the surface it might seem okay to satisfy your caffeine addiction, but in due time you might start to notice some serious health issues. Here are some.
- Caffeine affects insulin sensitivity and leads to high blood sugar levels. That leaves you at risk of getting cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.
- Caffeine tends to increase the stress hormone catecholamines, which in turn increases inflammation and makes you feel lousy.
- The caffeine found in coffee is acidic and is associated with indigestion, GERD, and other digestive issues.
- Caffeine is addictive and forces the body to rely on it (caffeine) for energy.
- The caffeine in coffee is known to interfere with the way the body metabolizes drugs. It also affects the liver's ability to detoxify.
All those risks form the tip of the caffeine addiction iceberg. But they form an excellent argument against the constant consumption of pots and pots of coffee. But how do you stop when you are already addicted?
How to Stop a Caffeine Addiction
The cold turkey way
If you have the stomach for it, you can just stop drinking coffee. It is a fast and effective way of quitting the habit, but you might experience severe withdrawal symptoms, one of the most common being a caffeine headache.
The weaning method
If the cold turkey method is too harsh for your body, you can go for the weaning method where you reduce caffeine consumption slowly by the day. Try cutting your dose by 50 mg after every two days until you hit the zero-caffeine-per-day mark.
The substitution method
Try consuming other beverages that contain low caffeine quantities. A good substitute is tea. There are various types of tea that come with different flavors. Scared you might get hooked on tea as well? Don't be; it's far harder to get addicted to tea than coffee.
Compensate the lost energy
One thing that might affect your effort to stay away from caffeine is the slump in energy, especially in the afternoons. You can deal with that by eating a lunch that is rich in proteins and very low in carbohydrates. That way you'll remain energetic all day long and beat that afternoon slump.
Address the underlying habits
Not everybody drinks coffee because of the cognitive enhancement that it brings. Others drink coffee because that’s where they meet or hang out with friends in a social setting. If you are one of those people you should consider switching your drink of choice to something else the store offers. As mentioned already, tea is a great substitute or fruit juice perhaps.
According to research, a power nap is more rejuvenating than a cup of coffee. So, if you have the time and chance, take a nap, and you'll wake up feeling energetic again. A 15 minute nap in the afternoon does wonders for me and will give me the energy to keep working till the end of the day.
Judging from the five points above its safe to say breaking a caffeine addiction isn't impossible. I’m not saying that you should cut it out completely, but if you’re someone who drinks way too much, and you know who you are, maybe try cutting down a little bit. See how you feel and take it from there.