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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Caffeine Issue


I'll be honest. At the moment, I am still addicted to caffeine, however, I am starting to cut down using my Rooibos tea (see a previous post) during the day and at night. I have been drinking regular tea or diet coke whenever I need a pick-me-up during the day. A cup of regular tea in the morning should be all I need, but from a recent study, it indicates that I should expect a bigger insulin release even with my low-carb breakfast.

Judy Barnes Baker (author of Carb Wars: Sugar is the new Fat Judy's super blog found a study that discovers that caffeine stimulates insulin release. This study compared people eating a low-sugar breakfast with regular coffee and those eating a high-sugar breakfast with decaffeinated coffee. The low-sugar breakfast with caffeinated coffee folks had a greater insulin response than those folks eating a high-sugar breakfast with decaffeinated coffee.

Here is the study.

This was disturbing to read re caffeine addiction from MyAddiction.com

"Caffeine addiction is for real and to make matters more disheartening for the avid coffee drinker or cola fan, caffeine employs the same effects as alcohol, LSD, cocaine, crystal methamphetamine, nicotine, opioids, benzodiazepines, and other major drugs. This makes caffeine the widest used psychoactive drug in the world.

Another compounding problem with caffeine addiction is that it affects many people differently. Some caffeine addicts are satisfied with a low level of caffeine intake, like a few cups of coffee. Others can't seem to function without a liter of cola and a few Red Bulls everyday. Since an addiction to caffeine is highly personalized, any standardized treatment remains a riddle.

Caffeine addiction also has a social aspect. Where as all other drugs have a social stigma attached to them, caffeine products from chocolate to coffee are widely accepted by the general public. Despite its acceptance and central nervous stimulant affecting a person's sense of well being, caffeine's use is also associated with a number of physical and psychological syndromes that are similar to other drugs, i.e. caffeine addiction.

Both the WHO and the APA consider Caffeine Effects and the intoxication from caffeine to be a valid diagnosis. Doses vary from individual to individual. While rarely fatal, Caffeine Effects can include anxiety, insomnia, tremors, fever, rapid heartbeat (tachycardia), and hyperventilation (tachypnea).

Often, when caffeine intoxication is fatal , the user consumed caffeine pills and his death was due to ventricular fibrillation—the muscles in the heart go out of whack, causing it to pump inadequately and depriving the body of oxygen. Thus the Caffeine Effects can range from mild tremors to fatality."

Can drinking caffeinated beverages really be likened to being addicted to some of those serious drugs? This was disturbing to read....

I should point out though that there have been studies done pointing to the benefits of drinking coffee - even saying that it staves off Diabetes 2, Parkinsons and Alzheimers. It is difficult to know what to believe. Dr. Atkins told us to stay off caffeine if we want to lose weight, however, many people lose weight anyway, caffeine or not. I think this is a controversial subject, but, for me, I'm only planning on cutting down during the day. I need my cup of tea in the morning and, besides, I like it!

Jennifer Eloff
www.low-carb.us