20 Surprising Facts About Caffeine

Are you a keen coffee or tea drinker? There is probably still a lot you don’t know about caffeine. In this article, Beauty and Tips takes a look at 20 surprising facts about caffeine.

Let’s face it, you’re here because you love your beverages. Coffee, tea or even energy drinks, you can’t get enough of them! Perhaps you’ve been drinking them a little too much recently and wanted to find out more about caffeine, the magical pick-me-up inside your drink that boosts your energy levels and makes you more alert in the mornings? In moderation, caffeine is wonderful. It freshens us up, sharpens our focus, and gives us that all-important boost in energy. But too much caffeine has been associated with a few nasty side effects, including heart failure. How can something so wonderful also be so mean!? Let’s find out with these 20 surprising facts about caffeine.

Caffeine Works Pretty Quickly

Caffeine isn’t one to mess around. Pretty much as soon as you drink it, it gets to work, raising your energy levels and making sure you’re more focused. Hey, this is what you pay it for! After just thirty minutes inside your blood, it may have already reached its peak. If you’re a hardcore coffee drinker, your body will usually expel most of the caffeine within three hours. A few bits and pieces will continue to linger for about eight hours, but you won’t feel their effects as strongly. Of course, how tolerant your body is to caffeine depends on how often you drink it. A first-time coffee drinker? They probably won’t sleep for days afterwards! (we’re kidding)

There Are Right And Wrong Times To Consume Caffeine

Cortisol. Heard of it? Cortisol a stress hormone that we need to stay alert and “on the ball.” However, too much cortisol in our system can cause all kinds of issues, including diabetes over the long run, weight gain, tiredness, impaired brain function and immune infections. When you first wake up, your body produces such a rush of cortisol that it’s important you don’t add to it with caffeine. Instead, it’s better to wait an hour or two. Around midday, your body produces even more cortisol. As such, it’s important not to drink caffeine until around 3pm.

Energy Drinks Contain Less Caffeine Than A Cup Of Coffee

You’d think the opposite was true, and that energy drinks had more caffeine than coffee – after all, the clue is in the name, right?! However, while a few horror stories have surfaced about people suffering heart failure after drinking too many energy drinks in a short period of time, the reality is that a straightforward cup of Joe actually contains way more caffeine than a can of Red Bull. The average energy drink contains around 80mg of caffeine, whereas a cup of black coffee can contain as much as 200mg. Wow! However, this doesn’t mean energy drinks are the smarter, healthier choice. They’re also loaded with sugar and ingredients that no one can pronounce.

The Average American Drinks The Equivalent Of One Cup Of Coffee Per Day

We all know that Americans love their coffee. But did you know that they consume 200mg of caffeine each day? That’s every single one of them, on average. Since a single cup of coffee can contain as much as 200mg of caffeine, it means that Americans get through a whole cup of coffee EACH every day. However, because soda also contains caffeine (and less than a cup of coffee), it also means that the average American gets through the equivalent of FOUR glasses of soda per day. That’s a lot, but that isn’t all. Some estimates reckon the number is more like 300mg of caffeine per day.

However, The Americans Are Not The Biggest Caffeine Consumers

When we think of the diet of the average American, a few things spring to mind: Hot dogs, donuts, peanut butter, hamburgers, baloney – and coffee. Wheres the Brits are famed for their love of tea, Americans are known for their fondness for coffee. However, despite the average American consuming 200mg of caffeine per day, they don’t consume the most caffeine out of all the nationalities. Nope, that particularly dubious honours must go to … Finland! Finland might not be a country most of us associate with caffeine consumption, but the average Finn downs as much as 400mg of caffeine each day. That’s a lot, huh?

Moreover, We Drink Less Coffee Now Than Ever

Coffee had its heyday in the 1950s, with coffee consumption peaking right after the end of the second world war. However, although the average American drinks the equivalent of one cup of coffee per day, and although the Finns drink even more than that, we as a collective drink less than we did back in 1950. That seems remarkable when you consider that there is a Starbucks literally everywhere these days. That begs the question: How much coffee were people drinking in 1950?! Answer: Too much!

500mg Each Day Is Considered Too Much

It’s the question coffee drinkers have always wanted to know the answer to: How much coffee is considered too much? While 200mg of caffeine per day is the norm in America (which equates to one large cup of coffee and two small ones), 500mg of caffeine per day is considered too much. To consume 500mg of caffeine each day, you’d have to drink as many as five small cups of coffee or eight energy drinks. Anyone who would do that knows that that’s excessive. 500mg of caffeine each day isn’t what we’d call dangerous, but it can make you irritable, and it can prevent you from sleeping at night. Moreover, it can also cause a fast heartbeat, which can be a cause for concern.

Yes, You Can Die From Too Much Caffeine

It’s rare that someone actually drops dead from drinking too much caffeine – but it does happen. One would have to drink a LOT of coffee in one day to put themselves at risk, with 30 cups of Joe enough to cause potentially fatal issues. However, it isn’t usually cups of coffee that kill. Pure powered caffeine has caused the death of young people in the past, as have weight-loss aids and supplements. These are concentrated products that can be dangerous if the individual doesn’t pay attention to the guidelines. For example, a single teaspoon of pure powdered caffeine contains just as much caffeine as 28 cups of coffee! Why do people buy these products? It’s often young people who need to stay alert for their studies, or athletes who want to boost their performance. People looking to lose weight might buy weight loss pills that contain caffeine, too.

Caffeine Is A Drug – But One That’s Socially Acceptable

Drugs aren’t usually accepted by so many social groups. So what makes caffeine so special? It’s probably because it improves our mood, sharpens our concentration and increases our longevity. All things that alcohol doesn’t!

Caffeine Has A Darker Side, Too

Of course, caffeine has nasty side effects too. It can cause anxiety, restlessness and – as mentioned – even death, but this, very rarely. Don’t worry.

Caffeine Is Easy To Get Hooked To

Not only can you die from too much caffeine (although let’s repeat – it’s very unlikely), but it’s possible to get hooked really easily. Like, really easily. True, a number of us are getting our caffeine fix from the likes of tea and soda, which have less caffeine in them. But wherever we get our fix from, it doesn’t take us long at all to get dependent. In fact, you can get hooked on caffeine after just 100mg of the stuff! That’s the equivalent of as little as five ounces of coffee – or 3 cans of coke! After you’ve drank 3 cans of coke, say in one day, it’s totally possible to then experience withdrawal if you go a few days afterwards without touching the stuff. Symptoms will include irritability, headache and lethargy.

Best Way To Get A Rush of Caffeine?

Sure, there might be lots of alternatives to coffee on the market today. But coffee is still the number one beverage to turn to when you need a rush of caffeine.

What’s The Deal With Ice Tea

Ask any non-American to explain the concept of iced tea and they probably can’t. Just like cups of tea are a British institution, iced tea is very much an American one. Indeed, many Europeans see tea the way people have seen tea for centuries: As something that’s put together in a mug, with a tea bag, hot water and milk. Sometimes, sugar is stirred in. However, as Americans know, this is a pretty old way of seeing tea. These days, 85% of Americans prefer their tea iced. There are many iced tea brands that are doing super well, including Tazo and Honest.

Caffeine Helps Us Burn Fat

Need to burn more fat? Caffeine can help!

Can Caffeine Cure A Hangover

Let’s face it, we all need God to help us when we’re in the midst of a hangover. Some suggest that caffeine can help. But is it really a viable cure? Or is it just another false hope? Caffeine can trigger a headache, but most of the time it’s actually good at relieving a headache. In fact, you’ll find it listed in the ingredients for most migraine medications. Still, we’ve never known it to be marketed as a hangover cure – until now. Lots of youngsters are starting to turn to energy drinks after a night on the town in the hope that the caffeine will make them feel a bit less like death. Unfortunately, there is still no science to prove that caffeine can cure a hangover. Indeed, there is no science to prove that anything will cure a hangover.

Caffeine Boosts Athletic Ability By 3%

Need to go that extra distance on the track? You know what to do!

What Has More Caffeine? Energy Drinks or a Starbucks Coffee?

Energy drinks do contain a fair amount of caffeine, but it seems kinda weird that they get bad reputation so much, while Starbucks coffee seems to get off scot-free, despite Starbucks coffee containing more caffeine. True, energy drinks contain more caffeine than a cup of tea or a glass of coke. But a mug of Starbucks coffee is the main offender here. In fact, you’ll struggle to order a Starbucks that contains less caffeine than an energy drink. A single shot of espresso might do it, but other than that, a can of Red Bull or Monster will always contain less caffeine.

Caffeine Is Bad For The Bones

How on earth can caffeine be bad for our bones?! It’s because interferes with your body’s absorption of calcium. Not cool, caffeine. Not cool.

This Is How Caffeine Works

Ever wanted to know how caffeine works? It’s actually really simple. As the day goes along, adenosine is built up in your brain. Eventually, it reaches a threshold concentration, at which point the adenosine binds itself to specific receptors which send instructions to your body, telling you to go to sleep. Adenosine has the same shape as caffeine, which means that it binds the same receptors! As a result, it stops adenosine from doing its thing. As a result, the brains stimulants are able to work freely, ensuring you stay nice and alert.

Coffee Is Good For Your Health

Caffeine can be good for you when taken in moderation. As well as its caffeine content, coffee has other healthy benefits, such as antioxidants. Antioxidants provide your body with its first line of defence against rogue free radicals, preventing you from ageing too fast and reducing your risk of heart disease and cancer. That said, studies have shown that a number of coffee drinkers also smoke a lot, drink a fair amount – and eat red meat. If you do all three, the positive effects of coffee will be negated.

Stay happy!

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