Caffeine is in some of our favorite foods, including coffee, tea, and chocolate, but is it bad for you? Here's my answer. [x_video type="16:9, 5:3, 5:4, 4:3, 3:2" m4v="" ogv="" poster="" hide_controls="" autoplay="" embed='' no_container="true"]
To make your decision about caffeine and whether or not you need to cut it out entirely, we need to ask three questions.
- Is caffeine real food?
- Is caffeine safe?
- How does caffeine affect you?
Is Caffeine Real Food?
Since caffeine isn't technically a food, we need to take this a step back and ask: Are the foods that contain caffeine real food?
Some things that contain caffeine, like energy drinks, energy shots, and caffeine pills, definitely aren't from nature, so we can toss those out as junk.
However, foods like coffee, chocolate, and green tea totally pass the real food test. The only exception with these is when the gross stuff is added to them, like chemical preservatives or flavorings.
Is Caffeine Safe?
Just because something is natural doesn't mean it's good for you. There are plenty of things that occur in nature that can be harmful to us. Poison ivy anyone?
As far as caffeine goes, it's totally safe in normal doses. For the general population, it's perfectly fine.
How Does Caffeine Affect You?
In the end, it all comes down to the individual. Caffeine is found in real foods and it is safe for the population as a whole, but that doesn't mean that it's great for everyone. Caffeine affects different people in different ways.
If your heart starts to race or you get jittery, it's probably a good idea to lay off the caffeine.
If consuming caffeine on the reg results in withdrawl symptoms when you miss your morning cup of coffee (hello headache) then you might want to moderate your caffeine intake. I fall into this group.
If you can drink strong coffee every day and have no issues when you miss a day, then you might be able to be more liberal with your caffeine intake. Now, I'm not saying go crazy pounding the coffee. We don't want too much of any food. You just have to know where you stand and adjust accordingly.
If you don't like foods that contain caffeine or want to avoid it for whatever reason, that's fine. But if you do like coffee, green tea, or other foods that naturally contain caffeine, you need to pay attention to how it affects you and make your decision from there.
Where do you stand on the caffeine spectrum? Jittery mess? Totally immune? Somewhere in between? Share in the comments below!