The nutritional problems you face with dining out!
Eating out with friends or loved ones is great, but in doing so, are you doing more damage than you could ever imagine...Read more
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ARE YOU UNKNOWINGLY DEHYDRATING YOURSELF, EVERYDAY?
It is estimated that 90% of us consume caffeine in some form on a daily basis.
There can be no question that in the right quantities, caffeine has it’s advantages. As well as containing antioxidants and having a potentially positive effect on our heart, caffeine has also been heavily linked with increased alertness, improved stamina and a reduction in fatigue. Brilliant!
But how much is ok though and do we actually have any idea how much caffeine we are consuming on a daily basis? The first thing to investigate is where most of our caffeine comes from and in no particular order, below are the main sources;
COFFEE (150-350mg per cup)
TEA (25-60mg per cup)
SOFT DRINKS (45-50mg per can)
CHOCOLATE (45-70mg per bar)
ICE CREAM (varies)
WEIGHT-LOSS PILLS (up to 1200mgs)
PAIN RELIEVERS (varies)
ENERGY DRINKS (150-200mg per can)
There are of course more, but these are the most common.
So the next question is how much caffeine is ok and what happens if we exceed this amount. Well, it is reasonably well documented that consuming around 400mg of caffeine (200mg if pregnant) each day is safe and with a diet below this, can actually be super friendly.
Once this figure is exceeded though, particularly if you exceed the 500mg mark, then caffeine may no longer be your friend.
As many of us know, caffeine is a diuretic, which in this case means where an excess of caffeine cannot be stored in the liver, your body will have to try and remove this. This then results in an increased need to urinate. This is not good news because with that, comes a loss of water retention, which can in-turn effect the overall efficiency of body’s ability to function properly, may increase blood pressure, cholesterol, effect your sleep patterns and more specifically to exercise, may negatively effect your performance. Ohhh!
The next obvious questions to ask then is, how easy is it to consume over 500mg of caffeine per day? Well as it goes, not that difficult at all;
I won’t name the coffee bar I’ve used here, but let’s just say they’re everywhere - so it’s likely that if you buy a coffee when out, there’s a high chance it’s from here! So a grande coffee from this outlet contains approximately 360mg’s of caffeine, that’s very close to your daily ‘safe’ limit.
Let’s then say that on top of that, you drink a further two teas (which each contain an average of 50mg per cup), or just another single cup of coffee then you are on the cusp of turning what could be a positive into negative. Ohhh, definitely an eye opener!
The danger is, particularly for those of us who work in offices and around a lot of other people that this stuff is available on tap! And more often than not, we replace drinking plain water with either a tea or a coffee in particular. Now we can see where there might be a problem, certainly if you’re planning on exercising after work or after consuming this amount of caffeine. So we have to wonder, has it been a long day, or have we over-consumed a safe amount of caffeine and as such, are now having to deal with the consequences of doing so?! Furthermore, are we doing this to ourselves everyday? If so, we must be doing ourselves a disservice!
So what can you do to ensure you stay within the ‘safe’ guideline amount of 400mg and under?
When it comes to coffee, choose either a decaf, use Arabica beans or try stick to a darker roast. All of these contain less caffeine.
With tea, a herbal tea contains next to no caffeine and a green tea, only about 25mg’s per cup. There are of course different variations of decaf tea available as well.
As with the rest of the foods mentioned, so long as your consumption of ice cream, chocolate and soft drinks are kept to a minimum then you should be ok.
If you’ve taken the time to read this then it’s now well worth taking a moment to work out what your own average daily caffeine consumption is, consider if the amount is effecting you and if so, based on this information, adjust accordingly.
As always, all comments and questions are most welcome!