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9 Side Effects of Too Much Caffeine

Coffee and tea are incredibly healthy beverages. Most types contain caffeine, a substance that may boost your mood, metabolism and mental and physical performance. However, high doses of caffeine may have unpleasant and even dangerous side effects. What’s more, individuals who aren’t used to caffeine may experience symptoms after consuming what is typically considered a moderate dose. Here are 9 side effects of too much caffeine.

1. Anxiety

Caffeine is known to increase alertness. It works by blocking the effects of adenosine, a brain chemical that makes you feel tired. At the same time, it triggers the release of adrenaline, the “fight-or-flight” hormone associated with increased energy .

However, at higher doses, these effects may become more pronounced, leading to anxiety and nervousness. In fact, caffeine-induced anxiety disorder is one of four caffeine-related syndromes listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), which is published by the American Psychiatric Association.

Extremely high daily intakes of 1,000 mg or more per day have been reported to cause nervousness, jitteriness and similar symptoms in most people, whereas even a moderate intake may lead to similar effects in caffeine-sensitive individuals .Additionally, modest doses have been shown to cause rapid breathing and increase stress levels when consumed in one sitting. One study in 25 healthy men found that those who ingested approximately 300 mg of caffeine experienced more than double the stress of those who took a placebo.

Interestingly, stress levels were similar between regular and less frequent caffeine consumers, suggesting the compound may have the same effect on stress levels regardless of whether you drink it habitually. Nevertheless, these results are preliminary.

2. Insomnia

Caffeine’s ability to help people stay awake is one of its most prized qualities. On the other hand, too much caffeine can make it difficult to get enough restorative sleep.

Studies have found that higher caffeine intake appears to increase the amount of time it takes to fall asleep. It may also decrease total sleeping time, especially in the elderly. By contrast, low or moderate amounts of caffeine don’t seem to affect sleep very much in people considered “good sleepers,” or even those with self-reported insomnia. You may not realize that too much caffeine is interfering with your sleep if you underestimate the amount of caffeine you’re taking in.

Although coffee and tea are the most concentrated sources of caffeine, it is also found in soda, cocoa, energy drinks and several types of medication. For example, an energy shot may contain up to 350 mg of caffeine, while some energy drinks provide as much as a whopping 500 mg per can.

These results suggest that it’s important to pay attention to both the amount and timing of caffeine to optimize your sleep.

3. Digestive Issues

Many people find that a morning cup of coffee helps get their bowels moving. Coffee’s laxative effect has been attributed to the release of gastrin, a hormone the stomach produces that speeds up activity in the colon. What’s more, decaffeinated coffee has been shown to produce a similar response.

However, caffeine itself also seems to stimulate bowel movements by increasing peristalsis, the contractions that move food through your digestive tract. Given this effect, it’s not surprising that large doses of caffeine may lead to loose stools or even diarrhea in some people. Although for many years coffee was believed to cause stomach ulcers, a large study of more than 8,000 people didn’t find any link between the two.

On the other hand, some studies suggest that caffeinated beverages may worsen gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) in some people. This seems to be especially true of coffee. In a small study, when five healthy adults drank caffeinated water, they experienced a relaxation of the muscle that keeps stomach contents from moving up into the throat — the hallmark of GERD.

Since coffee can have major effects on digestive function, you may want to cut back on the amount you drink or switch to tea if you experience any issues.

4. Muscle Breakdown

Rhabdomyolysis is a very serious condition in which damaged muscle fibers enter the bloodstream, leading to kidney failure and other problems. Common causes of rhabdomyolysis include trauma, infection, drug abuse, muscle strain and bites from poisonous snakes or insects. In addition, there have been several reports of rhabdomyolysis related to excessive caffeine intake, although this is relatively rare.

In one case, a woman developed nausea, vomiting and dark urine after drinking 32 ounces (1 liter) of coffee containing roughly 565 mg of caffeine. Fortunately, she recovered after being treated with medication and fluids.

In order to reduce the risk of rhabdomyolysis, it’s best to limit your intake to about 250 mg of caffeine per day, unless you’re used to consuming more.

5. Addiction

Despite all of caffeine’s health benefits, there’s no denying that it may become habit-forming. A detailed review suggests that although caffeine triggers certain brain chemicals similarly to the way cocaine and amphetamines do, it does not cause classic addiction the way these drugs do. However, it may lead to psychological or physical dependency, especially at high dosages.

In one study, 16 people who typically consumed high, moderate or no caffeine took part in a word test after going without caffeine overnight. Only high caffeine users showed a bias for caffeine-related words and had strong caffeine cravings.

Even though the compound does not seem to cause true addiction, if you regularly drink a lot of coffee or other caffeinated beverages, there’s a very good chance you may become dependent on its effects.

6. High Blood Pressure

Overall, caffeine doesn’t seem to increase the risk of heart disease or stroke in most people. However, it has been shown to raise blood pressure in several studies due to its stimulatory effect on the nervous system.

Fortunately, caffeine’s effect on blood pressure seems to be temporary. Also, it seems to have the strongest impact on people who aren’t used to consuming it. High caffeine intake has also been shown to raise blood pressure during exercise in healthy people, as well as in those with mildly elevated blood pressure.

Therefore, paying attention to the dosage and timing of caffeine is important, especially if you already have high blood pressure.

7. Rapid Heart Rate

The stimulatory effects of high caffeine intake may cause your heart to beat faster.

It may also lead to altered heartbeat rhythm, called atrial fibrillation, which has been reported in young people who consumed energy drinks containing extremely high doses of caffeine . However, this effect doesn’t seem to occur in everyone. Indeed, even some people with heart problems may be able to tolerate large amounts of caffeine without any adverse effects.

If you notice any changes in your heart rate or rhythm after drinking caffeinated beverages, consider decreasing your intake.

8. Fatigue

Coffee, tea and other caffeinated beverages are known to boost energy levels. However, they can also have the opposite effect by leading to rebound fatigue after the caffeine leaves your system.

One review of 41 studies found that although caffeinated energy drinks increased alertness and improved mood for several hours, participants were often more tired than usual the following day. Of course, if you continue to drink lots of caffeine throughout the day, you can avoid the rebound effect. On the other hand, this may affect your ability to sleep.

To maximize caffeine’s benefits on energy and avoid rebound fatigue, consume it in moderate rather than high doses.

9. Frequent Urination and Urgency

Increased urination is a common side effect of high caffeine intake due to the compound’s stimulatory effects on the bladder. 

In one study, 12 young to middle-aged people with overactive bladders who consumed 2 mg of caffeine per pound (4.5 mg per kilogram) of body weight daily experienced significant increases in urinary frequency and urgency. For someone weighing 150 pounds (58 kg), this would equate to about 300 mg of caffeine per day.

In addition, high intake may increase the likelihood of developing incontinence in people with healthy bladders.

If you drink a lot of caffeinated beverages and feel that your urination is more frequent or urgent than it should be, it may be a good idea to cut back on your intake to see if your symptoms improve.

Fruit: Weight Loss Friendly or Fattening?

It’s common knowledge that fruit is one of the staples of a healthy diet with incredibly nutritious and packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber and has even been associated with reduced risks of heart disease and diabetes. However, it contains more natural sugars than other whole foods like vegetables. For this reason, many people question whether it’s good for your waistline. This article looks at the potential effects of fruit on weight to determine whether it’s weight loss friendly or fattening.

Fruit Is Low in Calories and High in Nutrients

Fruit is a nutrient-dense food, meaning it is low in calories but high in nutrients like vitamins, minerals and fiber. One large orange can meet 163% of your daily needs for vitamin C, an essential component of immune health. On the other hand, a medium banana provides 12% of the potassium you need in a day, which helps regulate the activity of your nerves, muscles and heart. Fruits are also high in antioxidants, which help protect the body from oxidative stress and may lower the risk of certain chronic diseases like cancer and diabetes. What’s more, they also contain fiber, which can promote regularity, improve gut health and increase feelings of fullness. And because fruits are low in calories, including them in your diet may help decrease your daily calorie intake, all while providing essential nutrients. For example, one small apple contains just 77 calories, yet provides nearly 4 grams of fiber, which is up to 16% of the amount you need for the day.

Other fruits are similarly low in calories. For instance, a half cup (74 grams) of blueberries contains 42 calories, while a half cup (76 grams) of grapes provides 52 calories. Using low-calorie foods like fruit to replace higher-calorie foods can help create a calorie deficit, which is necessary for weight loss. A calorie deficit occurs when you expend more calories than you take in. This forces your body to use up stored calories, mostly in the form of fat, which causes weight loss. Snacking on whole fruits instead of high-calorie candies, cookies and chips can significantly reduce calorie intake and promote weight loss.

SUMMARY:Fruit is low in calories but high in nutrients. Eating it in place of a high-calorie snack can help increase weight loss.

Fruit Can Keep You Feeling Full

In addition to being low in calories, fruit is also incredibly filling thanks to its water and fiber contents. Fiber moves through your body slowly and increases digestion time, which leads to a feeling of fullness. Some studies have suggested that fiber can also lead to reductions in appetite and food intake. In one study, eating a high-fiber meal reduced appetite, food intake and blood sugar in healthy men. Other research shows that increased fiber intake can help promote weight loss and reduce the risk of weight and fat gain. A 2005 study found that taking fiber supplements in combination with a low-calorie diet caused significantly greater weight loss than a low-calorie diet alone.

Additionally, fruit has a high water content. This allows you to eat a large volume of it and feel full, yet take in very few calories. One small study found that eating foods with a higher water content led to a greater increase in fullness, lower calorie intake and reduced hunger, compared to drinking water while eating. Due to their high fiber and water contents, fruits like apples and oranges are among the top foods on the satiety index, a tool designed to measure how filling foods are. Incorporating whole fruits in your diet could keep you feeling full, which may help reduce your calorie intake and increase weight loss.

Summary: Fruit is high in fiber and water, which may help increase fullness and decrease appetite.

Fruit Intake Is Associated With Weight Loss

Several studies have found an association between fruit intake and weight loss. One massive study followed 133,468 adults over a 24-year span and found that fruit intake was associated with a greater weight loss over time. Apples and berries seemed to have the greatest effect on weight. Another smaller study in 2010 found that obese and overweight dieters who increased their fruit intake experienced greater weight loss.

Fruit is also high in fiber, which has been associated with increased weight loss. One study followed 252 women over 20 months and found that those who ate more fiber had a lower risk of gaining weight and body fat than participants who ate less fiber. Another study showed that participants who took fiber supplements experienced decreased body weight, body fat and waist circumference, compared to those in the control group.

Fruit is a staple component of a whole-food diet, which has been shown to increase weight loss in its own right. One small study showed that participants who ate a whole-food, plant-based diet experienced significantly decreased body weight and blood cholesterol, compared to those in the control group. Keep in mind that these studies show an association between eating fruit and weight loss, but that does not necessarily mean that one caused the other. Further studies are needed to determine how much of a direct role fruit itself may have on weight.

Summary: Some studies have found that fruit consumption, a high fiber intake and whole-food diets are associated with weight loss. More research is needed to see how much of an effect fruit itself may have.

Fruit Contains Natural Sugars

The natural sugars found in fruit are very different from the added sugars typically used in processed foods. The two types can have very different health effects. Added sugar has been associated with a range of potential health problems, including obesity, diabetes and heart disease. The most common types of added sugar are two simple sugars called glucose and fructose. Sweeteners like table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup use a combination of both types.

Fruits contain fructose. When eaten in large amounts, fructose can be harmful and may contribute to issues like obesity, liver disease and heart problems. For this reason, many people looking to eat less sugar mistakenly believe that they need to eliminate fruit from their diet.

However, it’s important to distinguish between the massive amount of fructose found in added sugars and the small amounts found in fruits. Fructose is only harmful in larger amounts, and it would be very difficult to eat enough fruit to reach these amounts. Therefore, the minor amounts of fructose found in fruit are not an issue for most people when it comes to health or weight loss.

Summary: Fruits contain fructose, a type of naturally occurring sugar that is harmful in large amounts. However, fruits do not provide enough fructose for this to be a concern.

Drinking Fruit Juice Is Associated With Obesity

There’s a big difference between the health effects of fruit and those of fruit juice. While whole fruit is low in calories and a good source of fiber, the same is not necessarily true of fruit juice.

In the process of juice-making, juice is extracted from the fruit, leaving behind its beneficial fiber and providing a concentrated dose of calories and sugar. Oranges are one great example. One small orange (96 grams) contains 45 calories and 9 grams of sugar, while 1 cup (237 ml) of orange juice contains 134 calories and 23 grams of sugar.

Some types of fruit juice even contain added sugar, pushing the total number of calories and sugar even higher. Increasing research shows that drinking fruit juice could be linked to obesity, especially in children. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics recently recommended against fruit juice for children under 1 year of age.mOne study of 168 preschool-aged children found that drinking 12 ounces (355 ml) or more of fruit juice per day was associated with short stature and obesity. Other studies have found that drinking sugar-sweetened beverages like fruit juice is associated with weight gain and obesity.

Instead, try swapping your juicer for a blender and make smoothies, which retain the beneficial fiber found in fruits. However, eating whole fruit still remains the best option for maximizing your nutrient intake.

Summary: Fruit juice is high in calories and sugar but low in fiber. Drinking fruit juice has been associated with weight gain and obesity.

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