Spilling the Beans on Excessive Caffeine
The smell and taste of fresh-brewed coffee is a sensory delight for many people. According to the International Coffee Organization, over 2 billion people worldwide take pleasure in the aroma and delicious flavor of freshly roasted beans, as well as their proven health benefits. Yet underneath the allure are a few health setbacks.
Coffee in moderation has tremendous benefits. Drinking a few cups daily provides potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as a reduction in osteoporosis. Recent evidence suggests that coffee can help reduce risk of depression, cognitive decline, type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases, cardiovascular disease, some cancers and an astounding 20 percent reduced mortality risk.
Sports benefits are also eye-popping, including increased muscular endurance and strength, movement velocity, sprinting, jumping and throwing performance.
These findings add to the growing body of evidence highlighting the drink’s amazing health benefits—in moderation. But drinking too much caffeine can actually reverse its healthy outcomes.
The recommended daily intake limit for caffeine is 400 milligrams or less for healthy adults, or about three cups daily. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, instant coffee has the lowest caffeine content with about 57 milligrams per teaspoon on average. Other brewing methods produce 95 to 154 milligrams per teaspoon.
A cup of decaffeinated coffee has only about 3 milligrams caffeine per cup. Many think that it is a stellar substitute for regular joe: Similar taste, plus all the health benefits without the jitters and stomach issues, right?
Coffee beans must be processed, usually with methylene chloride, ethyl acetate and water to remove the caffeine. Although in trace amounts (10 parts per million), methylene chloride is still a dangerous chemical that causes cancer in higher amounts.
The best decaffeination method is Swiss water processed because it uses only water to remove 99.9 percent of caffeine from coffee beans—no trace chemicals. By purchasing certified organic coffee beans, you can also maximize the benefits of consumption without risk of pesticides.
If you exceed the recommended daily dosage and drink four to eight cups of regular coffee, you are consuming about 500 to 800 milligrams of caffeine. This can produce headaches, insomnia, nervousness, irritability, increased heartbeat and muscle tremors, anxiety and other problems.
Many people do not realize how much caffeine they ingest daily. Besides their morning or daily coffee, they consume soft drinks, chocolates, supplements, gum and medications that add to the daily caffeine total. Even two cups of black tea will add up, equating to about 1 cup of regular coffee.
There are other sources of caffeine you might have overlooked. Runner’s World notes that those involved in fitness often use pre-workout powder for instant energy. Some brands contain around 100 milligrams of caffeine per serving, and others can include as much as 400 milligrams. Drinking two or three daily lattes, a high-end pre-workout supplement and a few other hidden sources could quickly add up to 800 to 1,000 milligrams per day for an already sleep-deprived person.
But coffee doesn’t give energy, says Verv.com. It pushes the body into an increased work rate by causing spikes in adrenaline and insulin, leading to increased heart rate and the release of energy.
This temporary lift interferes with adenosine, the hormone responsible for sleep. This can cause trouble sleeping—which motivates you to drink more caffeine to try to fight continual drowsiness. Your body is forced to cannibalize energy from your bodily reservoirs. In time, this will lead to complete exhaustion.
The health risks are amplified by coffee’s acidity. This involves not the acidity that influences the taste of coffee but the acidity on the acid-alkaline pH scale. Many people already have an acidic diet, and coffee and other sources of caffeine make it even more so.
If you have the habit of drinking coffee more than once a day, then a quick alkaline fix is adding one-eighth to one-fourth teaspoon of baking soda to a brewing pot, or a pinch to a cup of ready-to-drink coffee. Because baking soda is alkaline, it can help take the acidity of your coffee closer to neutral.
Scientists at the University of California–Irvine, claim that baking soda also changes the chemistry of the bean itself, thereby reducing the amount of caffeine present by about 10 percent.
However, to prevent progressively increasing internal metabolic acidosis, we must stop excessive dietary intake of acidic foods and drinks including coffee, and consume more alkaline foods such as fruits and vegetables.
The body has multiple systems to buffer acid, including its bones, which contain large quantities of alkaline salts of calcium. But if we overwhelm our system, it can cause an imbalance in bodily acidity levels that lead to decreased bone density and other diseases.
Alkaline foods raise pH levels in the bloodstream so the body is not required to use its store of alkaline calcium salts to balance the acid-base ratio. This can help maintain the body’s store of alkaline calcium salts necessary for proper health (Nutrients).
This fascinating subject is covered in detail in several articles on our sister website, pcg.church: “We Are What We Eat: Acid-Alkaline Balance,” “We Are What We Eat—The Horrific American Diet” and “Three Principles of Healthful Living.” These articles point out the cause of sickness and disease—and how to keep healthy in the first place with both food and drink, coffee included, in moderation.
Moderate coffee use (one to two cups daily) does benefit the body, but if you are struggling to limit your intake, try drinking more water. In the long run, your energy level will be more consistent and you’ll avoid a variety of other caffeine-related ailments.
Good health is not about all-day fake energy. It’s about moderating and disciplining ourselves. This is an indispensable ingredient to healthful living.