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What Happens When You Quit Caffeine?

Posted in General Health 29 Sep, 2015

Caffeine must be the number one addiction in the UK. I'm no statistician, but I don't know anyone who doesn't drink at least tea. By tea I mean builder's tea - not those flavoured witches-brew bags of filth.

Do you know how much caffeine you drink? I drink three teas in the morning, then three teas in the afternoon, and one just before bed. Apart from the grammatical pleasure derived from typing 'three teas' that's not good is it?

So, what might happen if we give up caffeine?

Withdrawal Symptoms

You will probably pay for your caffeine indulgence with headaches. They are the most common withdrawal symptom. You'll probably feel lethargic and suffer mood swings too - think Miley Cyrus on her wrecking-ball type swings.

Dehydration

Cutting out a regular fluid intake may lead to dehydration, so you'll need to drink something else. Maybe water - that's the obvious choice.

Weight Changes

We know that soda is full of sugary nastiness, but if Starbucks know your first name then chances are you take a lot of calories in your creamy sugar-laden cappuccino. There can be 200 calories in a rich coffee, more if you take extra sugar. You may lose weight if you give it up.

Although, that said, you may feel hungry without all that liquid in your stomach and take to snacking. Weight changes could go either way depending on your habits.

Better Sleep

Caffeine interferes with sleep. I drink a cup of tea before bed at around 11pm. If I give it up I might stop having naughty dreams about Donald Trump and David Cameron. It would be worth it just for that benefit.

Antioxidants

Despite caffeine's bad reputation, there are a host of antioxidants in tea and coffee. An American study showed coffee was the top source of antioxidants in the average Joe's diet. Breast cancer researchers found that women drinking more than 5 cups a day were 57% less likely to develop estrogen receptors (negative breast cancer) AND up to 5 cups of coffee cuts the risk of heart disease by 21%. This is a reason to keep drinking caffeine - as if you needed one.

What To Replace It With?

  • Flavoured drinks. Water is the best option but let's be honest, unless you've been running for the bus, or want something to throw at those mating foxes that woke you up, water is unappealing.
  • Try to cut down every few days so your body doesn't cry out 'WHY ME!' Or maybe only drink half a mug.
  • Fruit and veggies. Remember that antioxidant drop? If you give up caffeine you may need more antioxidants. Snacking on fruit and raw veggies is the best option.
  • Caffeine-free. When I was pregnant I drank caffeine-free, and then I started up the hard stuff again. Perhaps I could go back. Or at least I could make every other cup a decaf affair?

If you want to give up caffeine the benefits are manifold, but that's not to say it will be easy. Good luck to all the folks starting their caffeine-free coffee addiction today!

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