In this post, I will answer the questions of whether drinking coffee is bad for you and how to stop drinking coffee. I do not drink coffee for some years already, and recently I’ve dramatically reduced the tea consumption. I see only advantages regarding my decision. A little bit later (in the post), I’ll tell you why I live much better without caffeine.
Coffee is an ancient drink. People came to know about its toning and flavoring properties long ago. Drinking coffee has become firmly established in man’s everyday life: for many people there is no morning without a cup of hot coffee. People like coffee not only for its taste and smell, but also for its invigorating effect. It is difficult to imagine the way you can wake up and start doing your daily things without taking a morning dose of caffeine.
This drink awakens our sleeping consciousness, relieves fatigue and gives motivation and burst of energy. It may seem that we cannot live and work without coffee, and if we stop drinking it, then we will always nod and any work will be difficult. I assure you, it is not the case. You can live without coffee. The reason why you should give it up will be further discussed.
Is Coffee Bad For You?
First of all, let’s remember that coffee contains caffeine, and caffeine is a drug belonging to the class of the central nervous system stimulant (cocaine and amphetamine belong to the same class).
The fact that some substances have acquired the status of legal drugs (alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, and a lot of medicines that are on your shelves) does not justify the narcotic properties’ absence of these drugs. It refers to the legal part of the case (what is banned and what is not) more than to the medical one. For the physician the alcohol-dependent person is a drug addict.
Of course, coffee cannot be attributed to hard drugs. Caffeine dependence does not occur with the same severe consequences as, for example, alcohol or heroin. But the dependence on coffee is still a form of drug addiction and has its consequences. Caffeine is harmful to your health, like the majority of drugs.
Coffee Effect on Fatigue
Caffeine increases your working efficiency, improves your mood and brings your body and mind in tone. The energy, which appears with every cup of the drunken coffee, does not arise out of nowhere, is not taken from the space that surrounds you and is not in the cup with the drink itself. This sudden energy, under caffeine influence, is derived from your internal energy reserves.
Unfortunately, it is impossible to take this energy without consideration. If you have used it, later on you would lack it.
Let me explain this by an example. When I began to drink tea less frequently – no matter how paradoxical it may sounds – I have noticed an increase in working efficiency during the day.
Earlier, if I had drunk a cup of strong tea in the morning, then after lunch I would have felt a very strong drowsiness and, as a consequence, a lack of working efficiency. Any activity would be difficult and made without desire. I did not associate it with tea, because I thought that it’s natural to feel sleepy after a heavy meal.
I got used to compensate this drowsiness with a dose of caffeine contained in tea. But it helped me just for short while: after some time, I started to feel tired again. Then I stopped drinking tea every day. I’ve noticed that the afternoon languor was not observed in those days when I did without the refreshing drink! Maybe in the morning I was a little less vigorous because of not drinking tea, but, during the whole day, I had more energy.
I could easily work in the afternoon with a good working efficiency. I manage to do much more and my articles began to appear quicker. On this blog it may be not noticeable, but for several months I have been writing articles for two websites: the Russian version (nperov.ru) and the English version (nperov.com).
As every drug – caffeine has its own “hang-over” (it is less noticeable, because coffee is not a very strong drug). A sudden loss of energy follows its sudden burst. Imagine an athlete participating in a race that lasts several hours. After the starting shot, the athlete – without estimating his strength, with wide eyes and protruding tongue – galloped forward at such a speed that the other participants began to smother with the dust from his heels, lagging behind.
Naturally, he will quickly have no kick left and will feel sharp fatigue and dehydration. Being unable to continue running, he will subside into a walk, while those who were behind will have their legs of him at a moderate speed. And all because he broke into a run at once and spent all his energy at the beginning of the competition.
Much the same thing happens when you drink coffee. Your organism takes a lot of energy at once. But these forces should be then compensated.
The refusal of daily coffee consumption contributes to a uniform least energy throughout the day. The body itself estimates the energy, so that it will last for the whole day, not just for the first half of it. Drinking coffee and using other stimulants – means, in my view, to violate the natural balance of your body.
The Risk of Caffeine Dependence
“How can you cope with the morning drowsiness in this case? I can do nothing until I drink coffee!” – that’s what you might have to say to the contrary.
The matter is that if your body is accustomed to maintain its activity by means of stimulants, then it comes hard on him to cope with the active work without them. An inveterate fan of coffee drinks it in order to bring the body and head in a “working” condition. The drink does not bring such a sharp and intense energy surge, which it can give to the unsophisticated consumer of coffee, who recently started to drink the beverage.
If an inveterate coffee lover drinks – he feels “perfectly fine”, if he does not drink – he feels bad.
What distinguishes him from the person without caffeine dependence? He is in need of coffee to feel perfectly fine, but a person without the dependence is not in such a need. When the use of drugs, including alcohol and tobacco, becomes chronic, the dependent person begins to take the drug only to feel perfectly fine.
If, at first, drinking brings an unusual experience, then later, when the hobby grows into alcoholism, the person drinks in order to avoid a headache, trembling of hands, torture of depression…
And all the pleasure from the substance consumption is reduced to the strong need satisfaction.
In case an inveterate fan of coffee does not take a dose of his favourite drink, he may feel the following symptoms: drowsiness, fatigue, apathy, lack of motivation, bad mood – all these are the result of the appeared dependence! No one finds anything surprising in the fact that the smoker feels bad without a cigarette! Why then should we be surprised that an inveterate fan of coffee feels bad without coffee?
Caffeine dependence causes its “withdrawal syndrome”, and this is hardly surprising. When dependence passes – “withdrawal syndrome” disappears. Once you stop drinking coffee, after a while you’ll perfectly do without it and will stop feeling drowsiness and apathy in the morning! Of course, this will happen only if you get enough sleep and you are in a satisfactory physical condition. Many people forget about it because they do not consider coffee to be a drug and they think that these symptoms will always accompany them as soon as they refuse caffeine. But it is not the case.
10:25 by my watch, I continued to write the article since 9:30, and today I woke up at 7:30 (I have slept about 7 hours). I did use no milligram of caffeine, and I feel quite cheerful. I’ve withdrawn from caffeine and I do not need to take it to maintain my motivation and strength. When you will withdraw it too, you will no longer need this dark drink as well.
A little bit later, we will talk about how to stop drinking coffee. Now I will continue to talk you about the harm of the drink.
The Impact on Attention Concentration and Prioritization
Coffee increases anxiety and disturbs attention concentration, especially in large doses. If you find it difficult to concentrate, to sit quietly and relax, and if you are suffering from ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), then, drinking many cups of coffee per day should be out of the question. Coffee can aggravate the situation and develop your chronic anxiety and constant restlessness.
On Steve Pavlina blog, I’ve read about very interesting observations of the author, who also refused the coffee consumption. He writes that coffee increases some thinking parts of the brain, but weakens the other ones. Mental speed increases, but with that, a deficiency in other areas of our mind can be observed.
Under the caffeine influence a person becomes more active; he can quickly perform any tasks, but he loses the ability to prioritize these tasks. He can spend a lot of time doing some minor actions and paying no attention to the most important ones. Because under the action of caffeine, his energy had puffed him up and he is eager to direct it somewhere. He loses his patience to think about where the energy will find its most effective use.
In my opinion, this is a very accurate observation. I did notice such effect in myself, when I drank coffee or Chinese green tea. I could wake up, drink strong tea and spend half a day on setting of some plug-in on my website, which was particularly not necessary. If I had spent the same time on blog post writing, it would have passed much more productive.
Caffeine consumption also affected the style of my articles. When I was drinking a cup of Pu-erh (strong green Chinese tea), my sentences and words poured out of me with a vengeance, but at the same time, my articles lose their structure. There were many complex sentences with many turns of speech. As if the whole text sense in its full extent disappeared, and I was puzzled only by the fact of how to communicate the idea, which I had in my head at that moment, without subordinating it to the common logic.
As a result, I had to rewrite many things. Perhaps, without tea I began to write fewer words per minute and I started to think more on my sentences, but I manage to write more in a day because I distribute my energy throughout the duration of the working day more effectively.
In my opinion, the quality of my articles became better. Now I can focus on each word and think how the article will be further developed. I can correct something immediately, instead of rewriting it later. In addition, for me it became easier to concentrate and I began to take my mind off the main task less.
If your work involves a clear and proper prioritization and concentration, the excessive coffee consumption will be unnecessary for you.
Coffee and the Excessive Activity
Sometimes, it is difficult to find an individual dose of caffeine. We ourselves cannot notice how we drink a few cups during a conversation or work. This leads us to the peak of excitement and activity. At such moments, we have much more energy than it’s necessary for our work performance.
After all, in order to handle a mouse sitting at office table, a lot of energy is not needed. But a lot of energy burns down to no purpose when we are on the top of caffeine spirit.
Let’s draw again an analogy with the athlete-runner, who quickly broke into a run forward from the start, without estimating his forces. In this example, he ran out of the race-course and instead of running in a straight line he pursued an extended arch, which increased the distance that he had to overcome and, at the same time, he began to juggle with three dumbbells on the run – just in case.
He wasted a lot of energy, which he needed for the race, making completely meaningless actions in terms of achieving the task.
The same thing happens if you drink a lot of coffee: the body uses a lot of energy and this energy cannot be returned later! Some spend this excess energy on meaningless activity, such as idle talk or twisting in the chair, others do not find a use of that energy. Both feel some fatigue afterwards. Why would you spend the excess energy? To get started, simply reduce your coffee consumption, drink as much as you need for doing your work.
Coffee Effect on the Nervous System
The consumption of a large quantity of coffee leads to nervousness, anxiety, increased nervous excitability and depletion of nerve cells. I would not recommend those who suffer from nervous disorders, irritability, panic attacks, etc to drink a lot of coffee.
Caffeine enters your body into a state of stress, stimulating the production of stress hormones: adrenaline, cortisol and noradrenaline. The constant stimulation can badly impact on the state of the nervous system, blood pressure, heart and immune system.
Other Coffee Harm to the Body
Coffee can also be harmful by the reason that it:
- increases blood pressure and is harmful to those who suffer from hypertension
- is harmful to our cardiovascular system. Excessive coffee consumption causes heart diseases
- leads to dehydration
- is contraindicated during pregnancy
- can lead to stomach ulcer if used on an empty stomach
- flushes vitamins from our body
- can cause chronic headaches
- promotes sleep disturbance
The Benefits of Coffee
It would be unfair not to mention about the benefits of coffee in this article. Of course, the moderate consumption of the drink has a number of useful properties, such as reducing the risk of many diseases (Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes mellitus type 2).
Also, coffee contains antioxidants that prevent the destruction of cells in your body.
But, firstly, caffeine is a drug and moderate use always threatens to pass into the excessive use. Secondly, many useful properties of coffee are not associated with the caffeine (which is mainly associated with all the risks and harm), but occur due to other chemical compounds which are present in the drink.
Thirdly, coffee is far from being the only source of antioxidants; these are found in vegetables, fruits and many other products. Coffee cannot substitute other sources of antioxidants! A healthy lifestyle and a balanced food will help you reduce the risk of many diseases. Unlike coffee, these methods have no harmfull side effects.
But, if you drink more than two cups a day, you risk feeling all the negative effects of coffee consumption. Those who drink 10 cups every day should not justify their dependence by considering the useful properties of coffee. After all, these people do not drink it because of its benefit. It’s quite the same as if a hopeless drunkard will proudly talk about the antioxidants, which are found in the red wine and which slow down the destruction of cells!
Even moderate doses of coffee provoke increased fatigue in the evening, in case you drink coffee in the morning. Besides, some problems with your concentration and ability to set priorities do occur.
Unfortunately, all this comes with a price. There are no completely harmless and, especially, useful drugs. In my opinion, the benefit of coffee is not essential and irreplaceable, but the risks and potential harm are not so small. Therefore, I think it is better, after all, to refuse the daily drink consumption in favor of your own health.
Giving Up Coffee
Coffee is not tobacco: you can give it up gradually. Further, I will tell you how you can gradually reduce the amount of the consumed caffeine.
Tip 1 – Start Drinking Tea
Start drinking green or black tea: these drinks contain less caffeine than coffee and have remarkable flavor properties. Personally I always preferred green tea to any other kind of tea. Now, the market of the imported Chinese (or Japanese) tea is actively developing in the world. Try different tastes; there is a very delicious tea variety!
Also, it can be ordered on eBay Internet Auction.
The best part of green tea is its effect! In my opinion, it is better than the coffee effect. Of course, the effect is a subjective thing and depends on each individual. However, similar observations were done by other fans of green tea. The matter is that green tea affects me more “purely”, in comparison with coffee. When I was drinking coffee, the vivacity from drink was accompanied by the increase of pressure (the effect of high blood pressure is most noticeable on those who rarely drink coffee), acceleration of heartbeat and some tension in muscles. And it was not very pleasant.
In my opinion, tea acts much softer. The above mentioned side effects are almost invisible if you do not drink much. Some more “pure” vivacity occurs, without unpleasant feelings in the body.
In addition, green tea, on average, contains three times less caffeine than coffee. (This is not applied to the green “tea bags”. It contains a lot of caffeine – do not drink it! Green tea also contains antioxidants, vitamins and prevents the development of many diseases. Definitely the choice is made in favor of tea, if you have to choose between tea and coffee.
Some Varieties of green tea:
- Oolong tea (it is not quite green tea, but close to it)
- Te Guanin
- Da Hun Pao
Tip 2 – Reduce the Frequency of Caffeine Consumption
If you drink coffee on weekends – stop doing it. Why do you need coffee if you do not have to work on a weekend? To begin with, drink coffee only at work. Reduce the number of cups consumed per day.
And then, when you’re ready, reduce the number of working days when you drink beverages containing caffeine (you’d better start drinking tea). For example, do not drink more than three cups per week. That’s it – per week, not per day. It looks complicated at first, but with the gradual withdrawal, it will be not so hard to do.
Tip 3 – Learn to Wake Up Without Coffee!
Morning exercises are an excellent way to wake up and recover from sleep. They represent a natural charge of vivacity for your body and, besides, they are useful for your health.
Tip 4 – Drink Hot Beverages with No Caffeine
If you want a hot and tasty beverage, then you have to try any herbal tea variety. It’s not quite tea, in the strict sense of the word, but it does not contain caffeine. Try, for example, Rooibos.
Tip 5 – Use Coffee Only in Cases of Emergency
Drink coffee if you need to drive the car at night and you have not slept, therefore, a boost of energy is a crying need. Or, in case you spent not enough time in bed and you have to work.
Coffee is a stimulant; therefore use it only in special situations. There is no need to make it a daily habit!
Tip 6 – Try to Get Enough Sleep
Spend enough time sleeping. No need to work very hard. No work is worth sacrificing your nerves and health.
Conclusion – Why Do People Drink Coffee?
Different people drink coffee for various reasons. For some of them – it is just awakening. For others – it is a way to overcome boredom and keep their hands busy. For the third ones – it is a favourite taste.
There are cases when the coffee craze is due to job dissatisfaction: work activity is boring and represents a complete routine, which is why many people take coffee as to gain motivation to do the unloved work. After all, caffeine activates the reserve stocks of energy that begins to look for a way out. And it becomes all the same the way it is spent – the important thing is to spend it.
Caffeine dependence can have reasons, which are hidden inside your psyche. Perhaps, you need to change your job in order to stop drinking coffee, or perhaps, you have to learn to perceive it in a different way or to get rid of chronic anxiety.
But Coffee is Delicious!
So what? A few years ago I drank 3-4 liters of beer every day. The taste of beer seemed to me something divine and incomparable. How will I live without this remarkable taste? – I thought then.
But, some time has passed, and now I do not drink alcohol in any form. I do quite well without the taste of alcoholic beverages, which I had so passionately loved. It is all about the habit. Do not worry, you will miss the taste of coffee not for a long time.
16:20 by my watch now
I wrote this article (I continued to write it since 9:00 today) and I checked it for errors. If I had drunk tea in the morning, I would have been tired by this time and would have been not able to do things that require my greatest mental effort, namely, writing posts, because caffeine would have exhausted the required amount of energy. I would leave it for tomorrow and all tomorrow’s morning I would spend completing the post and checking it once again.
But without caffeine my work has become more productive. Therefore, tomorrow in the morning I will check this article again and I will start writing another one. That’s it =).