5 Of Cups And The World As Feelings Caffeine Blues

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Caffeine Blues

Okay, I know this article isn’t going to be popular. Most of us are so addicted to caffeine that we don’t want to know about it. I’m writing this because when “Caffeine Blues” by Stephen Cherniske MS came out, I knew I had to read it. A few years ago I began to realize that coffee was much worse than we were told because I noticed that I got arthritic pain in my wrist within ten to twenty minutes of a cappuccino!

This book didn’t just tell me how bad coffee was – it told me how GOOD I would feel after going completely caffeine free for two months. Somehow this book sold me when I tried it. And it was right! For example, I no longer have that exhausted feeling I used to have in the morning.

This is one of the best health books I have ever read. It was written by Stephen Cherniske, who is an expert in clinical nutrition. “Caffeine Blues” is incredibly easy to read and compelling. After reading it I realized that caffeine does NOT give us energy. In fact, it is the main CAUSE of LACK of energy. However, he explains that the drug is so strong that a person needs three weeks to two months without caffeine to notice a difference. And how many of us have ever done that? Almost no one.

As Cherniske sifted through tons of information about caffeine, he began to realize that, knowingly or unknowingly, almost every researcher was starting from the assumption that caffeine was okay. Why? Probably because they were addicted to caffeine themselves.

Caffeine is in coffee, tea, chocolate, colas, chuppa-chups, many sodas, some drugs, most “energy” drinks, and guarana.

6 oz cup:

Percolated coffee has about 120 mg of caffeine

Black tea contains about 70 mg of caffeine

Green tea about 35 mg of caffeine

Front wheels 45mg caffeine

Mountain Dew 54 mg caffeine

Brewed decaffeinated has 5 mg of caffeine

Milk chocolate has 6 mg per ounce

Baking chocolate has 35 mg per ounce.

More than eighty types of plants produce caffeine. The reason may be survival. As it turns out, caffeine is a biological poison used by plants as a pesticide.

Caffeine is considered harmless simply because it is so widely used.

A booklet is available in hospitals and other medically related areas: “What You Should Know About Caffeine” by the International Food Information Council (IFIC) in Washington DC. After many phone calls, Cherniske finally received a list of IFIC “supporters”. The list included Pepsi, Coca-Cola, M&M’s, Nutrasweet, Nestlé and Hershey – all of which have caffeine in their drinks and foods. IFIC’s “partners” included groups such as the National Association of Pediatric Nurses and the Children’s Advertising Evaluation Unit of the Better Business Bureau Inc. Council. This brochure says that “caffeine is normally eliminated within a few hours of consumption.” In reality, only 1% is excluded. The remaining 99% must be detoxified by the liver.

One cup of coffee can take up to 12 hours to detoxify.

Many of the studies on coffee and hypertension have been flawed because the test studies only went off coffee for one or two weeks. It takes many more weeks for the levels of stress hormones in the body to return to normal.

The “half-life” of a drug is the time it takes for the body to eliminate half of the dose. Caffeine is a drug. The half-life of one dose of caffeine ranges from three to 12 hours.

Caffeine puts your body under stress. A single dose of 250 milligrams of caffeine (equivalent to about 2.5 six-ounce cups of coffee) has been shown to increase levels of the stress hormone epinephrine (adrenaline) by more than 200%.

Caffeine triggers the classic fight-or-flight response. The fight or flight response was designed for events that happened only occasionally (like a lion chasing you). We are now putting our bodies in fight or flight mode every day with caffeine!!! Because we are in society, we don’t have a fight or flight response. Other things can happen instead. For example, sugar and fat are released unused into the bloodstream. Sugar creates more stress. Fat clogs arteries. The digestive system slows down or shuts down.

Not only is caffeine addictive, it also promotes addictions to other substances such as nicotine.

Caffeine will not give you energy. It stimulates your nervous system and adrenal glands. That’s not energy, that’s stress. Imagine that you go to the bank for a loan. The loan officer approves your loan. But when you leave the bank, you notice the fine print – the loan must be repaid with 75% interest! The “energy” you think you’re getting from caffeine is actually just a loan from your adrenals and liver, and the interest you have to pay is very high.

Stress is a major factor in disorders such as anxiety, insomnia, depression, ulcers, rheumatoid arthritis, headache, hypoglycemia, asthma, herpes, hypertension and heart disease. And yet hospitals provide coffee and tea that stress your body!!!

DHEA is our hormone of vitality. A decreased level of DHEA is a cause of aging. Caffeine consumption leads to DHEA deficiency.

Caffeine lowers the stress threshold of virtually everyone. This means that if you have had caffeine, it will be easier for you to suffer from emotional stress. (This is why when research is done to show how safe caffeine is, any test subject who is under significant stress is excluded from the study).

Caffeine is involved in ulcers and irritable bowel syndrome: GABA is produced in the intestinal tract, where it calms anxiety and stress. Caffeine interferes with normal GABA metabolism.

Caffeine disrupts sleep. Deep sleep is critical to good health. With caffeine in your bloodstream, you are unlikely to experience deep sleep at all!

Caffeine ANY time during the day can cause sleep problems, especially if you are stressed.

Malnutrition is one of the best-defined effects of habitual caffeine intake.

A single cup of coffee can reduce the absorption of iron from food by up to 75%.

People do not develop a tolerance to the anxiety-inducing effects of caffeine. Rather, people simply get used to the drug-induced feelings of stress, irritability, and aggression.

Caffeine contributes to depression in well-defined ways. This is mainly due to the withdrawal effect, which can cause headaches, depression and fatigue, even in light users (p. 111). Cherniske reported that 90% of people who came to him suffering from depression and gave up caffeine completely for 2 months reported that their depression was gone!

If you’re a coffee (or tea, or cola) drinker, you might be thinking, “Well, I drink coffee and I’m not depressed.” It is necessary to state that everyone is different and also that depression can be subtle. Throughout the book, Cherniske suggests that you’ll never know the full effect the drug has on you until you experience what life is like without caffeine (which takes two months). Over the years, Cherniske has heard similar responses from hundreds of clients: “Wow, I never realized caffeine made me (pick one: anxious, depressed, irritable).”

Students all over the world use caffeine not only to stay awake, but also believe that the drug will improve their exam performance. However, solid research illustrates that as little as 100 milligrams of caffeine (one cup of coffee, two cups of cola) can cause significant DECREASE in memory and reasoning.

When people are relaxed and given caffeine, caffeine does not significantly increase blood pressure. But how many people are relaxed? When people are stressed and given caffeine, blood pressure increases significantly.

Women who consumed more than 24 ounces of coffee (6 moderate cups) per day had nearly double the risk of heart attack compared to non-coffee drinkers. Moderate coffee drinkers with high cholesterol were more than seven times more likely to have a heart attack, while heavy coffee drinkers were eighteen times more likely than non-coffee drinkers!

Caffeine depletes your stores of thiamine and other B vitamins, calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron and zinc.

Caffeine increases calcium loss and the risk of osteoporosis.

In one large study, the risk of hip fracture among women who consumed the most caffeine was 300% higher than among the group who consumed little or no caffeine.

Accept the challenge! Most people have no idea what life would be like without caffeine and stress hormones coursing through their veins. Even if you only have a few cups of coffee, chances are your personality is being affected in ways that may be too subtle to associate with caffeine. I want to encourage you to do a caffeine free trial. You owe it to yourself.

Don’t go ‘cold turkey’. To avoid headaches, etc., while cutting out caffeine, Cherniske recommends taking up to six weeks to get rid of it. Drink the same NUMBER of cups, but reduce the strength or amount in each cup each week.

This very easy to read and very interesting book contains much more information. 440 pages. Read this book and you won’t have to spend so much on supplements!

Copyright ©: Stephanie Refe – 2001

Permission is granted to use this article in whole or in part, provided you credit the author and include a citation and link to www.relfe.com.

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