I may be biased here because I love coffee.
I could go on...
Anyway, is it good or bad.
In my opinion, it would seem the poison is in the dose...
Around 10g of caffeine is likely to be lethal to most humans.. so at that amount.. I’d say not so good.
(Oh, some serious negative health consequences occur well before that, just in case you’ve done the math and decided to push the friendship because you’re no where near that)
But you know, apparently you can drown yourself by drinking too much water soooooo.
There are numerous studies and proven health benefits to coffee including;
Improved physical performance
Improved cognitive performance
Increased levels of dopamine
Quality essential nutrients
Potentially reduced risk of diabetes
Potentially reduced risk of alzheimers
Potentially reduced risk of death from heart disease and an array of other ailments.
And the list goes on.
So, things are looking good!
Before we go any further, it’s worth noting that whilst we are talking about Coffee so far; most of the potential negative health consequences, as well as some of the benefits come from the caffeine content within the coffee.
It’s also worth mentioning that caffeine is found in many other beverages including often significant amounts in the energy drinks & pre-workouts many consume.
Back to this ‘good or bad’ business…
Whilst there are many benefits to coffee (yes, caffeine too) there are some times that it’s likely wise to steer clear.
If/when you’re stressed & anxious.
Close to bedtime. Caffeine has a half life of around 6 hours (person dependant)... that means 6 hours after you consumed your caffeinated beverage, you could still have half of that caffeine in your system. That is almost definitely negatively impacting your sleep quality, whether you ‘feel like it’ is or not.
So how much is too much of a good thing?
Well, research shows that in an otherwise healthy adult, 4-5mg/kg of bodyweight seems to be about the max that can be consumed without too many negative consequences.
For context, a single shot (Generally a small) Coffee contains around 60-70mg of caffeine.
However, i have seen some pre-workouts contain upward of 300mg in a single serving.
Now keep in mind, this ‘maximum allowable amount’ varies depending upon the individual and as we’re about to find out below, our tolerance builds up over time… Which can be a slippery slope…
ALSO, In my opinion, 4-5mg/kg of caffeine is still a significant amount.
Anecdotally, for most, i would suggest giving up your expensive pre-workouts & sticking to 1 or 2 coffees a day, max… not that size large enough to bathe in either.
Remember caffeine is a serious drug. That shouldn’t be argued.
Whilst it is readily available, completely legal & enjoyed world wide, It’s a drug.
And drugs are addictive.
And addictive habits are hard to break.
The most notable ‘problem’ with caffeine consumption is the fact that it binds to what are known as our adenosine receptors.
Adenosine is a chemical in our body that essentially tells our bodies that we’re tired. However, when old mate caffeine is blocking up those receptors, adenosine can’t do it’s job anymore.
So, our body decides to create more receptors, meaning we need more caffeine keep blocking that tired feeling... Not to mention those feel good dopamine hits & caffeine's ability to stimulate the body & activate our sympathetic (fight or flight) state (less than ideal for you already highly strung individuals).. See how the addiction can start to unfold?
SO, Assuming we still want to enjoy delicious coffee and the benefits it brings, How do we combat this little issue?
Well, in addition to intelligently limiting your caffeine consumption to a reasonable amount... 4 coffees and a pre-workout is not reasonable.
It would be wise to consume coffee early in the day.
My suggestion; cut it off at midday.
See, caffeine has a half-life of around 6 hours, which means that 6 hours after you consume caffeine, half of the content will still be circulating.
As mentioned earlier, regardless of whether you think it affects your ability to sleep or not, it does.
It effects your sleep quality and your ability to get much needed deep & REM Sleep. So whilst you think you can fall asleep just fine, you’re sacrificing the important repair, growth & recharging phases of your sleep.
My next suggestion would be to take 7-10 days every month or two off caffeine.
This gives a chance for those receptors to reset and for us to get over our little dopamine addiction.
*Life hack* since a lot of the benefits of coffee actually don’t come from caffeine itself, switch to a quality water extracted decaf for the week or so...
Oh, if that week feels really challenging... it means you really needed it 😉
A little common sense and self awareness goes a long way with your caffeine consumption.
My recommendation, like most things in life, it’s best to be proactive rather than reactive.
Take a week off. It’ll be worth it ;-)
If nothing else, think about how good that first coffee back will be when it hits the lips.