Should you give up coffee for New Year?

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Well, we’re a little bit biased, so we’re going to have to say ‘no’ to that question!

But the reality is, with many things in life, you can have too much of a good thing and it’s perhaps better to enjoy life’s pleasures in moderation rather than go overboard. But what are the implications of giving up coffee for New Year? Many people give up alcohol for ‘Dry January’ – does giving up coffee have similar health implications?

It’s all relative

Most people (well, mostly those who consider giving up booze for January), do so because their consumption of alcohol is on the high side (that is, more than the recommend 14 units a week). In that context, reducing alcohol intake is a good thing. But the effects wouldn’t be the same for someone who consistently consumed less than 14 units per week.

Caffeine is has a much milder affect than alcohol, but it’s still possible to regularly consume too much. It’s even possible to overdose on caffeine, but you’d need to consume in the region of 100 cups in a day!

The amount of caffeine in a cup of coffee can vary from 50mg to 400mg per cup, and unlike alcohol, your cups of coffee aren’t labelled with how much caffeine is in them. The recommend daily limit of caffeine is around 400mg so it’s possible that a single cup of strong coffee can contain all your daily caffeine (but many people exceed this limit without any issue).

So how much caffeine is in different types of coffee?

As you would expect, the factors that affect the amount of caffeine in your cuppa are:

  • The type of coffee bean used
  • How the beans were roasted
  • The type of coffee
  • And the size of your cuppa

But, as a rough guide, here are some examples of caffeine count ordered by strength:

  1. Coffee made from freshly ground beans – a cup (8oz) can contain around 95mg of caffeine.
  2. Instant coffee – a cup (8oz) can contain around 90mg of caffeine.
  3. Shot of espresso – a shot (1.5oz) contains around 60mg of caffeine.
  4. Espresso coffees (Lattes, Cappuccinos, etc) – around 60mg of caffeine.
  5. Decaffeinated coffee – around 5mg (it’s like no-alcohol beer – there’s still small amounts in there).

These are rough averages – if you brew your own coffee, then you can probably take a good guess at how much stronger or weaker your normal brew is.

Why should you cut down?

Again, it’s all relative.

If you just enjoy a good cuppa or two each day, then it’s likely you don’t need to think about cutting down. But, if you’re experiencing negative symptoms as a consequence of your coffee consumption, then perhaps it’s time to reassess your routine. Symptoms may be:

  • Restlessness
  • Anxiety
  • Dizziness
  • Upset stomach
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Tremors

It’s also worth noting that everyone has different tolerances to caffeine and many of these symptoms can be caused by other things too.

There are also positive health benefits to drinking coffee – as we wrote about last year, studies have shown a reduction in risk of liver disease and other studies show that coffee drinkers enjoy longer lives and decreased risk of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and depression.

So a moderate amount of coffee consumption can be a good thing (and a tasty thing!).

What should you expect if you quit drink coffee?

If you do decide to give up coffee, what will happen?

Your weight will change

It can either go up (if your diet changes and you replace coffee with cakes!) or down (if your preferred coffee is creamy or has lots of sugar).

You might sleep better

Your body will go through a period of adjustment where your sleep might be a bit rough, but eventually with less stimulants in your system you’ll get a better night’s sleep.

Your teeth will be less stained

Drinking coffee obviously means your teeth won’t be as white, so quitting means you should see some improvement.

You might have difficulty concentrating at first

If you feel tired and irritable, then you might not be as able to concentrate. That should pass as your body adjusts to your new routine.

You could feel better

If you have been consuming too much coffee, then the negative symptoms posted in the previous section should reduce and you’ll feel better.

Of course, you’re the only person who knows for sure if your coffee intake needs reviewed for 2020. If you do feel that your routine needs improvement, then moderation with a balanced diet and exercise is always the best bet.

Have you ever had to cut out or reduce your caffeine? Let us know in the comments!

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