The Nation’s Health
January 2014
Caffeine: Don’t let your
pick-me-up drag you down
By Natalie McGill
at a cof ee house can contain 300 mil igrams or more of caf eine, he says. And that’s on top of or more of caf eine per day, but consuming thing in common to keep you coming back for concerns such as heart issues, Meredith says.
Other side ef ects can include elevated blood Caf eine is a substance that can be found in pressure, dehydration, dizziness and trouble drinks such as soda, cof ee and tea or in foods sleeping, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Many adults who consume caffeine
such as chocolate. It stimulates your central regularly are unaware of the potential
“Certain individuals — especial y children, negative side effects.
the elderly, people with heart conditions, Gradual y reducing your need for caf eine is bet er than bringing your consumption to a grinding halt. Stopping abruptly may worsen Keep caffeine away from kids
aimed at kids, it’s best to keep it out of their diets. Pediatricians say that kids younger than 12 shouldn’t have caf eine in their diets withdrawal symptoms when they don’t have caf eine af ects them, says Steven Meredith, caf eine at an early age, Meredith says.
PhD, a postdoctoral research fel ow at the “exact opposite of the direct ef ects of caf eine,” Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine’s lead to slower brain development in teens, Behavioral Pharmacology Research Unit.
“So if caf eine makes you feel energized and alert, then caf eine withdrawal may make you usual y contains 40 mil igrams of caf eine, feel tired or foggy,” he says. “And consciously only a greater number of caf eine-containing while a 16-ounce energy drink could contain or not, many people try to relieve or avoid the products, but some of these products contain Photos courtesy iStockphoto: Cofee photo by Carlos Alvarez 160 mil igrams or more. Cups of cof ee bought withdrawal symptoms by just consuming more exposed to when we were children,” Meredith says. “A caf einated drink might contain three Recognizing the signs of a habit
Tips for cutting back on caffeine
or more times the amount of caf eine that’s If you need more caffeine to feel the same
If you think you consume too much caf eine contained in the serving size of soda.” way you used to with a smaller dose, such as
and that the best route is stop cold turkey, think needing two cups of coffee to wake you up
instead of one, that can be a sign that you’re
developing a habit. If so, you may experience
your need for caf eine is to wean yourself of withdrawal symptoms, such as headaches,
of it. If you usual y have three caf eine drinks when skipping caffeine.
each day, cut back to two, he recommends. Avoid drinking caf eine in the afternoon or the evening, because that could af ect your sleep.
Regular exercise and a healthy diet can also help you reduce your need for caf eine.
“If you brew your own cof ee, or if you buy it from a cof ee house, make it 75 percent regular and 25 percent decaf during the first week of your quit at empt, and then slowly kind >> For more on caffeine, visit www.nlm.
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