5 Potential Side Effects of Drinking Too Much Coffee
In this article, I will be discussing the 5 potential side effects of drinking too much coffee and the negative effects of caffeine. What exactly is causing it and how to know how much coffee I should drink while still being able to enjoy a cup of coffee. Why should you thrust us? Well, we have been named as one of the TOP100 coffee related blogs by the Feedspot team, I believe that means something.
In a 2018 study commissioned by the National Coffee Association, revealed that, in the United States, around 64 percent of people drink at least one cup of coffee during the day. This, of course, is a rough estimation, as the study surveyed only 3000 Americans. It is reasonable to believe that those who drink this one cup, most likely, drink a second, third, perhaps more during the day. Statistics provided by the International Coffee Organization reveals, that there are 1.4 billion cups of coffee consumed in the world. And a whopping 45 percent of them all – consumed in the United States.
Do Americans drink the most coffee?
Although Americans drink nearly half of all coffee consumed in a day, we must also consider that it is one of the largest nations in the world. Recently we wrote an article revealing which country consumes the most coffee. Among the 30 countries included in this list, the United States was only 21st on this list. The award for the highest amount of coffee consumed by a nation goes to Finland, followed by Norway and the Netherlands. And this makes sense – so far up north the people there do not see the sun that often, therefore they turn to other means of energy. In addition, in these countries, coffee is the medium of communication and interaction with others. And is highly involved in any social events.
There are many reasons as to why we all should drink coffee every once in a while:
- It makes us feel more energetic.
- It can help burn fat and boost your levels of concentration.
- Improve reaction time, memory and benefit in many other ways.
However, as it is with all things – if it gets abused it will stop serving you. And will start working against you. Even if you do not realize it in the beginning.
We all love coffee and it is something that keeps us going from day to day. However, we must all be aware of how much coffee is too much for us. And how to see the negative effects of caffeine.
Do not fear of drinking less coffee. I have now limited my coffee consumption down to two, sometimes three cups a day. I used to drink a lot more. And I can honestly say that each cup now tastes better than when I drank five, six or even more in some days. Another good thing – I now have the time to try out various interesting coffee recipes. Like the Vietnamese iced coffee brew that I wrote about in my previous article.
What is caffeine
Before we start with the adverse effect of too much coffee, we must understand – what is caffeine and which products contain it. You might be surprised to see just how many products contain coffee. Fun fact – black tea contains even more caffeine than coffee itself, it is more concentrated.
Caffeine is a substance that can be found in more than 60 plants. Including some that we use in our lives every day. Like coffee beans, tea leaves, kola nuts which you can find in various soft drinks. Cacao pods that are the main ingredient for various chocolate products. It is a natural stimulant and it affects the human brain and the central nervous system. Stimulating it, preventing tiredness and improving alertness.
There is also synthetic caffeine that is produced in laboratories. Its chemical compounds are identical to organic caffeine. However, synthetic caffeine is produced from urea and chloroacetic acid. Whereas organic caffeine is extracted from beans, and leaves, and other plant products.
What products contain caffeine
When we hear the word “caffeine” we automatically create associations with coffee in our minds. The truth is – caffeine can be found in many products. Some of them you might not even know that it is there. For example tea – its leaves contain more caffeine than coffee beans. However, a cup of coffee still has more caffeine in it than a cup of tea, as coffee is a stronger brew in general.
In reality – there are a lot more products that contain caffeine. And you might want to avoid if you are about to go to bed, or do not need an additional energy boost and avoid the negative effects of caffeine.
Those products are:
- Decaf coffee
- Green and black tea
- Cola and soda drinks
- Coffee flavored ice cream
- Weight-loss pills
- Pain relievers
- Energy water and energy drinks
- Alcoholic energy drinks
- Breath fresheners
- Sunflower seeds
- Instant oatmeal and cereals
- Protein bars
You might wonder about some items on this list. For example decaff coffee. Doesn’t the name itself state that there is no caffeine? Yes, but there is. Although a lot less than in ordinary coffee. An average 12-ounce cup of decaf coffee contains somewhere between 3 to 18 milligrams of caffeine. While regular coffee will contain between 140 to 300 milligrams of caffeine. Even considering how much less caffeine is in decaf cafe you should still avoid drinking it before bed.
Green and black tea leaves actually contain more caffeine than coffee beans. However, you don’t feel it, because coffee is made of stronger brew than tea. Cola and soda drinks, for example, the “Mountain Dew” contain a lot of caffeine and some taurine. It won’t always be written on the packaging, but in most cases – it is there. Coffee flavored ice cream actually contains real coffee, and quite a lot, too. It varies for different brands, but the amount of caffeine can go up to 50 milligrams.
Products like breath fresheners, protein bars, energy water and many more all contain some caffeine within it
The adverse effect of too much caffeine
An adult should not drink more than 4 regular size cups of coffee a day. That is approximately 400 milligrams of beverages that contain caffeine. Not only coffee but also other products, like chocolate, energy drinks, tea and so on. If you are using caffeine too much, you might start to notice that it gets harder and harder to gain satisfaction from your daily dose of coffee. And you will want to have it more and more.
Caffeine creates addiction, although most people can easily control their use of caffeine. Still, there is a chance that you might not be aware of when you start drinking it too much and notice the negative effects of caffeine too late. If you start noticing that you often have headaches, migraines. Become insomnious and you need to go to the toilet often. Those might be signs that you are using too many caffeinated beverages in your daily routine. And that you should cut back a little. Once you stop using caffeine you would notice withdrawal effects. Those could be dizziness, irritability, headaches, trouble sleeping. Those effects do not last longer than a few days, so it is only the first three to four days that you would need to suffer and get through.
Abusing caffeinated drinks can lead to serious health problems. Therefore, whenever you feel that you are using too much coffee or you start noticing the symptoms described here – don’t hesitate to contact your doctor for a consultation. And remember, that what you read here is not a professional diagnosis of a certified GP. And before acting on this information you should first consult with your doctor.
When coffee is good for you
As concluded by Andrew Smith in his research on “Effects of caffeine on human behavior” caffeine increases alertness and reduces fatigue, for example, for people who work night shifts.
- It improves performance on tasks that require the person to be vigilant.
- Has high levels of antioxidants and beneficial nutrients, thus making it healthy to use if not abused. It can help you burn fat, as described in the research by Kris Gunnars.
- With proven studies that caffeine can boost metabolism and increase physical performance, therefore, before going to the gym, you can drink a cup of coffee.
- And it is also loaded with nutrients, such as vitamin B2, vitamin B5, manganese, potassium, magnesium, and niacin.
- It can lower the risk of Type 2 diabetes.
- Protect from Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia, and protects livers.
- Makes you more happy in general.
- So there are almost too many things making coffee great.
- 5 potential side effects you might have when you drink too much coffee
Having mentioned all the benefits that coffee or caffeinated beverages can bring you, we must also consider the negative effects of caffeine.
As I said before – a healthy adult should not drink more than 4 cups of coffee a day. There are some people who could and should not rink even that much. However, the optimum amount for any grown-up is 2 to 3 cups a day.
Most people know that caffeine is a powerful stimulant. It is even able to create addiction and is so popular and common that people overestimate its power of destruction. As confirmed by Susan Bowling, PsyD, a psychologist at the Women’s Health Center at the Wooster Branch of Cleveland Clinic, caffeine is bad for people who already have some anxiety issues. Adding up to that monster in the head.
Caffeine stimulates and speeds up bodily functions, thus fuelling anxiety. In any normal person, caffeine speeds up the heart and breathing rate. Increased sweating, shaking arms, the sudden urge to fight or flight whenever there is a problem or a challenge present are all an outcome of the negative effects of caffeine. All those are symptoms of a panic attack. Although it actually isn’t. Try convincing your brain about it. Or maybe it was a real panic attack which was then fuelled by caffeine. Making things even worse. If you drink too much coffee this sensation will come more often. And your brain will start worrying whether there is something wrong with you.
This does not mean that you have to stop using coffee entirely. If you have no anxiety issues you can drink a suggested amount of up to 3 cups of coffee a day. People with anxiety issues should be more careful, while they still can drink coffee, they should be aware of how much caffeine they consume, what are the effects and how they feel before and after drinking coffee.
In simple words – insomnia is an inability to sleep. It is the most common sleep disorder and affects approximately 10 percent of adults in America. There are two kinds of insomnia. Acute, meaning you cannot sleep only for a short period of time, even if for one night only. And chronic – when you are deprived of normal sleep for a longer period of time. Acute insomnia can lead to chronic insomnia if the problem behind it is not recognized and attended. If one has noticed difficulty sleeping three or more days per week over the course of three months he should probably consult his doctor about it.
Too much caffeine is one of the causes of insomnia. While it does a good job of keeping you awake when it is important for you, it also keeps you awake when you should be sleeping. With coffee shops on every corner, it is easy to fall into the trap of trying to accomplish more by drinking more coffee. To have that extra dose of energy.
However, caffeine does not create energy. It pulls out the energy you already have in you, from your reserves, and uses it up. Then, once the effect of coffee has worn off, you feel drowsy again, and again – turn to coffee for help. Thus creating a neverending circle. It takes around 6 hours for your body to process half of your daily caffeine intake.
Raised heart rate
High caffeine intake can increase the heart rate due to its stimulatory effects. However, such a symptom does not affect everybody. There are some people whos heart rate would not increase. And there are others for whom it would. This is more effective for people who are not regular coffee drinkers versus those who drink coffee on regular bases.
The level of increase in heart rate depends on each person individually. However, there are some conditions that depend on it. For example how frequently an individual is drinking caffeinated beverages. The amount of caffeine, size of the person, physiology and other factors. Some specialists suggest that an adult should not have more than two cups of coffee a day to avoid the negative effects of caffeine.
Raised blood pressure
It has been proved that caffeine can cause a noticeable increase in blood pressure. Although the reasons are not clear and scientists have several versions of the why.
One theory suggests that increased blood pressure after drinking coffee is caused by a blocked hormone that keeps the arteries widened.
Another suggestion is that caffeine helps to release more adrenaline than usually.
What you can take away from this is – coffee can increase blood pressure for a short period of time. Various researches suggest, however, that there is no negative effect of coffee consumption and it is safe to use if not abused.
Headaches as a withdrawal symptom
Caffeine is one of the worlds most widely used drug. As with any other drug – in some cases, it can cause addiction when used for a long period of time.
The body of a human can develop resistance to caffeine, meaning – eventually you would need more coffee to get that buzz out of it than when you started drinking it first. If not controlled, a person can end up having drunk more coffee than necessary. Which may lead to health issues.
Whenever you have decided to cut back on coffee for a while, or forever, you will have some withdrawal symptoms. Since it takes around 6 hours to get rid of half of all coffee that was ingested during the day. And eight to ten hours to get rid of all of the coffee, people usually do not feel the withdrawal symptoms on a daily basis. But, if you have decided to quit coffee you might experience things like lower sleep quality and headaches. This is your body trying to adjust to the lack of caffeine that would usually give you the boost to wake up. The headaches are the direct effect of the bloodstream changes.
As coffee narrows the bloodlines, it takes the heart more effort to pump the blood that is necessary for you to think and act from the brain to the rest of your body. When you are not having coffee the bloodlines open up again eventually and there is s surge of blood circulating through the body.
This is not a bad thing, however. And will not last for a long time. Once your body has adjusted to life without caffeine, you will feel normal again. Just keep an eye out for the negative effects of caffeine, if you notice any – seek for help.