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Caffeine Caffeine Addiction Sleep Tiredness

Caffeine and the Herd

Are You A Herd Follower?

Break free, be you…

Currently I am on a course learning about how to understand current market conditions and how to maneuver through them in these challenging times.

Everyone in the course seems very intelligent and if not at the top of their game, very near it. They all strike me as being independent thinkers and more suited to be leaders rather than followers.

The course instructor is intelligent and quick-witted and keeps everyone engaged. However, I couldn’t help but notice that he made a point of telling us the times of the coffee breaks, where the coffee was located and how much it costs.

At the break times more than half of the attendees would have a cup of coffee or at least debate having one. No big deal. A few of them in conversation told me that they needed their coffee in the morning to wake up, others said they drink out of habit.

This got me thinking about a study I read that suggested that a lot of people start drinking coffee or caffeine drinks because of social or work etiquette. The study went on to say that those who do have a caffeine dependency tended to develop them whilst working or studying.

So, in this article I’ll be looking into the role of peer pressure plays in peoples caffeine dependency.

break out from the herd
Photo by Theo Leconte @theoo on Unsplash A cow

Caffeine is the most commonly used legal stimulant. The majority of us get our fix via coffee, tea and soda.

It is noted in Wikipedia as a “Notable Stimulant” and is stated as being the world’s most widely used psychoactive drug.
Stimulant, Wikipedia 

Yet most don’t see it as a drug and rarely think about the effects that overdosing may have on their physiology. Caffeine is seen as normal and is entrenched in our culture. The following quote from Scientific American indicates how caffeine consumption has become part of our daily experience:

“Morning commuters seem to fall into one of two categories: the Caffeinated and the Un-caffeinated…

The Caffeinated are bright-eyed and engaged with the day’s events already—they’re reading their morning papers, or checking email, or reading for pleasure…

This is not the case for the Un-Caffeinated. This group sleeps through the AM commute both on the commuter trains and the subway. They’re bleary eyed.

The line that runs out the door of the Starbucks across from my job never seems to shrink. Are the ranks of the Caffeinated growing?

The culture of coffee has been carefully cultivated to ensure maximum reach.”

Krystal D’Costa August 11, 2011, Scientific American 

Pressure

In 2018 the global caffeine market was valued at $340 million, of which North America was the largest consumer (12,572 metric tons), 36% of global consumption.

Caffeine production is dominated by 11 companies, which account for 89% of global production. China is the largest global producer with a 54% share in the market. India is the second largest producer. The biggest companies are:

  • CSPC 
  • BASF 
  • Shandong Xinhua 
  • Kudos Chemie Limited 
  • Aarti Healthcare 
  • Zhongan Pharmaceutical 
  • Jilin Shulan 
  • Youhua Pharmaceutical 
  • Spectrum Chemical

MarketWatch

The market is expected to grow to $610 million by 2025. This translates to a projected increase in demand of 179.41%. Where do you think that demand is going to come from?

The global coffee industry is worth over $100 billion, and is currently experiencing compound annual growth rate of 5.5%.

“the coffee market is currently experiencing considerable growth in economies around the world, with the rise in urbanization and the demand for quick, quality product fueling the expansion.  The market is expected to continue to inflate in the next five years, leaving ample room for returns and profit.”

Andrew Menke, The Global Coffee Industry, Global Edge 

Manufactured demand for caffeine products is well underway now. Maybe it’s time to start asking questions about why you consume caffeinated products. 

Is it really your choice, or is something/someone else at work here?

Uniquely You

And now we can look at the bigger picture a bit clearer. Cultural norms can be created to get us to act in predetermined ways. Whilst good for companies, they are not necessarily always for our benefit.

I have outlined some of the effects of the overconsumption of caffeine in other articles in an attempt to bring awareness to this issue.

I believe that the best way to deal with the effects of over consuming caffeine is to take positive actions that will help us to reclaim control over our lives and ourselves.

This blog and our app, V-CAF, is an attempt by us to try to make a difference by being the difference we want to see in the world.

The following tips are things that I found useful to help me overcome my tiredness and lack of motivation:

  • Exercise – raises energy the old fashioned way by increasing our  body’s capability to deal with stress, and expands endurance. The benefits are too numerous to list here but, it just works.
  • Sleep – exercise helps us to have better quality deeper sleep. Sometimes the amount of sleep is not enough, but deep quality sleep is what we should be striving for.
  • Tiredness – feeling tired led to the development of V-CAF an Apple Watch app that subtlety informs you when you are most likely to fall asleep. By knowing that you are tired you can take measures to help bring your alertness and focus back to where you need it more efficiently.
  • Eat well – good quality whole foods will give your body the fuel it needs to get through the day. Also by eating healthily you can increase your energy and raise your mood.
  • Drink Water – keeping your brain hydrated will do wonders for your focus and alertness whilst helping your body to cleanse itself.

Review

Don’t follow the herd and take control of yourself. There is nothing wrong with drinking coffee or consuming caffeinated products in moderation. However, if you find yourself doing anything because of habit, ask yourself why?

Here are the takeaways:

  • Do Exercise
  • Get Deep Sleep
  • Use tools like V-CAF to help keep you notified of when you feel tired.
  • Eat Good Quality Whole Foods
  • Drink Water

Conclusion

If you don’t take control of your own life, someone else will.

Each one of us is unique and responds differently to stimuli.

Remember this and reclaim your most valuable asset, you.

Categories
Caffeine Caffeine Alternative Energy

Are Energy Drinks Dangerous?

Waking Up To The Dangers of Energy Drinks

Wake up…

The amount of people that consume energy drinks is increasing. Drinkers are looking for more energy, alertness and stamina, but aren’t necessarily aware of the amount of caffeine they are ingesting. 

Unaware that it is possible to be poisoned by caffeine, many consume more than the recommended daily limits of 400mg.

Unfortunately, because caffeine is a drug, you can develop a tolerance to it, which in turn leads to an ever-increasing amount of consumption to get the same effects.

In this article I’ll point out some of the dangers related to increased caffeine consumption due to drinking energy drinks.

Mercy Monster
Photo by thom masat @tomterifx on Unsplash Mercy Monster, San Francisco, United States

Caffeine Unawareness

A consequence of the increasing consumption of energy drinks is a rise in unintentional caffeine poisoning.

Consumers of energy drinks may think that they are harmless and overlook the dangers that they are exposing themselves too.

Compounding the problem is that many caffeine energy drinks do not list the amount of caffeine they contain, and are marketed as healthy dietary supplements because they contain ingredients such as milk thistle or ginkgo.

The Damage Caused by Drinking Too Many Energy Drinks

Caffeine is already seen as an acceptable drug by society, and few see any issues with consuming it. In fact it’s seen as being a valuable productivity aid.

Of late, energy drinks have also been increasingly used as a weight loss aid and as a strength booster whilst exercising.

Doctors and medical professionals are unsure about the long-term affects of over stimulating your nervous system.

By regularly consuming more than 400mg per day of caffeine you increase the likelihood that you will suffer from the following ailments:

  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Convulsions
  • Increased heart rate (possibly Tachycardia)
  • Abdominal pain

Know Your Limits

Being aware of the dangers of drinking too much caffeine is the first step in protecting your health. The next is to take action.

Below are some alternative tips to help you get the positive effects of drinking energy drinks, without caffeine:

  • Drink water
    Increasing your water intake can help boost your focus.
  • Do regular exercise
    Regular exercise can boost your strength and stamina, as well as help increase your focus and alertness.
  • Take notice of your tiredness
    Take note of when you are tired and work with your body’s natural rhythm. Tiredness alarms such as V-CAF subtly alert you to when you are most likely to be tired, so you can take the appropriate action.
  • Get better quality sleep
    Quantity of sleep isn’t enough. By also having better quality sleep you can increase weight loss, increase productivity and boost your mood.

Summary

People have died due to over consuming energy drinks. Researchers think that it is the lack of public awareness to the dangers of drinking too much caffeine that has lead to these deaths.

By being aware of the elevated caffeine levels in energy drinks you can help protect your health.

To avoid drinking energy drinks:

  • Drink lots of water
  • Have a regular exercise routine
  • Take notice of your tiredness by using tiredness alarms such as V-CAF 
  • Get better quality sleep

Conclusion

Caffeine is becoming more popular as an ingredient in many food and drink products, making it difficult to keep track on how much caffeine we consume.

It may be wise to limit the amount of caffeine that we consume each day so that we don’t unwittingly poison ourselves.

Categories
Caffeine Focus Productivity Safety Side Effects Study Studying

Caffeine Pills for Energy?

Do Caffeine Pills Give You Energy?

I want to know…

I have had a mixed relationship with caffeine pills. I used them quite a bit whilst studying, and although they worked, I was shocked at the effect they had on me.

Since then I haven’t touched them, but continued to use caffeinated drinks until fairly recently. My issue at the time was with understanding what I was risking by consuming more than the recommended amount of caffeine in one day over a relatively long period of time.

In this article I’ll highlight how easy it is to over consume caffeine and look at strategies that can help us to stay within the safe zone.

Energy in a pill
Photo by Dmitry Bayer @dmitrybayer on Unsplash

Unaware of the Limits

A lot of people, like me whilst I was studying, don’t keep tabs on how much caffeine they ingest.

Going over 400mg per day of caffeine is easily done. Two cans of an energy drink, or four cups of coffee is not that much. Especially when you are focused on completing a work assignment or studying.

Even more so if you enjoy eating chocolate, or have to take a headache pill, both of which contain caffeine.

Caffeine is even in chewing gum and candy.

Potential Dangers

Taking caffeine supplements further increase the risk of over consumption. Many dietary supplements and caffeine tablets contain higher levels of caffeine than food or drinks.

Typical side effects of normal caffeine consumption can be:

  • Increased alertness
  • Irritability
  • Higher body temperature
  • Dehydration
  • Headache
  • Increased heart rate

Beware of these signs if you think you have gone over the limit:

  • Irregular heart beat
  • Vomiting
  • Tremors
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Confusion

Alternatives and Reduction Strategies

Where possible, for the sake of your long term health and wellbeing reduce, or completely stop your ingestion of stimulants that trick your body into releasing chemicals to keep you awake.

Here are some guidelines that colleagues have suggested to me in the past and have worked:

  • When taking caffeine pills, don’t drink beverages that contain caffeine, and stick to the recommended dosage on the side of the bottle.
  • Drink water to rehydrate. It will help your mind focus better and help get more oxygen and blood circulating around your brain.
  • Know when you are feeling tired by using an alarm. V-CAF was and still is a game changer for me. It’s an Apple Watch app that notifies you when you are most likely to be tired or nodding off. I use it to let me know when I’m tired or have reduced focus so that I can take measures that wake me up, whilst avoiding caffeine.
  • Get up and take a walk. Very simple, but it works every time.

Review

Caffeine pills don’t so much give you energy but rather trick your brain and body into thinking that you must have energy.

Whilst the effects of taking them can be immediate, the long-term effects on your body leave a lot to be desired.

Try these action points to help reduce or even stop your dependency on caffeine to help you stay awake and focused:

  • Reduce the amount of caffeine you ingest when taking caffeine pills
  • Drink more water.
  • Know when you are tired, and take the appropriate actions.
    (Use V-CAF to help alert you to when you are tired).
  • Move about, get up and walk.

Now You Know

Hopefully you now are more aware of how easy it is to over consume caffeine.

Stay focused, stay alert and stay safe.

Categories
Addiction Caffeine Caffeine Addiction Caffeine Alternative Headaches Irritability Lethargy Tension

Addicted To Caffeine?

Are You Addicted To Caffeine?

Let’s See…

I’ve been clearing a lot of junk out of my life recently. Old books, clothes and ideas; nothing was sacred.

It felt great but I needed a little pep to pick me up from all cleaning I’d done. Without thinking I went to make myself a coffee. Then it hit me. I also needed to get rid of habits that were taking away from my life instead of adding.

In the past when I went without caffeine for a while I had headaches, felt lethargic and was very irritable. I didn’t see myself as being addicted and searched for more info.

This article highlights what I found.

  • Caffeine Addiction
  • The Effects of Addiction
  • How To Deal With It
Crushed Red Bull Can
Photo by Mohamed Hayibor on Flickr Addicted. Prepare for crash Probably too much sugar and taurine in my system to get shit done

Caffeine Addiction

You have an article that you want to write to promote your product. 

Many people feel that they have some sort of coffee or caffeine addiction, but is that an accurate assumption?

According to the American Psychiatric Association if you can identify with the following points you may be an addict:

  • Impaired control: a craving or strong urge to use the substance; desire or failed attempts to cut down or control substance use
  • Social problems: substance use causes failure to complete major tasks at work, school or home; social, work or leisure activities are given up or cut back because of substance use
  • Risky use: substance is used in risky settings; continued use despite known problems
  • Drug effects: tolerance (need for larger amounts to get the same effect); withdrawal symptoms (different for each substance)

The Effects of Addiction

The need to consume ever-increasing amounts of caffeine exposes you to greater risks.

The more caffeine you drink the more likely you are to suffer from:

  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pains
  • Convulsions
  • Heart arrhythmia 
  • Tachycardia
  • And even death

These risk generally increase when consuming more than 400mg of caffeine a day consistently, that is approximately more than four cups of coffee per day.

How To Deal With It

The first step with dealing with a caffeine addiction is to admit it. Once done the next most important step is to want to stop being addicted. 

Once you stop you will have to deal with the withdrawal symptoms. These are different for everyone. The length and severity of the symptoms can be influenced by such factors as health, fitness, stress levels, gender and age.

To help you deal with some of the withdrawal symptoms, here are a few things that helped me:

  • Painful headaches
    for me, headaches were the worst. Lying down in a darkened room helped; as did drinking water and applying pressure to my temples.
  • Irritability
    if you can, spend some time alone and be nice to yourself. Deep breaths can also help. The idea here is to calm yourself down.
  • Lethargy
    if you are at home get some sleep. If you’re at work then move around a bit more, drink water or use a tiredness alarm like V-CAF which will alert you when you are most likely to nod off.
  • Tension
    Take some time out and deep breathe. If you can, meditate. Drink water and/or go for a walk to help relax yourself.

Review

It might be a good idea to have your first day of abstinence on a weekend so that if you do start to feel the withdrawal symptoms you can make yourself as comfortable as possible, away from the temptations at work.

When back at work use tools such as V-CAF to help you deal with the tiredness you may feel.

Also:

  • Drink water and take deep breathes to deal with headaches.
  • Take regular breaks to be by yourself if you find that you are getting irritable.
  • If you can, short meditation sessions can help tension

Commit To Yourself

If you know that you are addicted to caffeine make the commitment to yourself to quit.

The act of committing to take action will make it easier to deal with the difficulties you may face when suffering withdrawal symptoms, and make it more difficult to give up.

Good Luck.

Categories
Caffeine Side Effects

What Coffee Bean Producers Wont Tell You

What The Top Coffee Bean Producers Don’t Want You To Know

What you don’t know can’t hurt you…

I enjoy drinking coffee. I like the taste and it’s become a valuable tool that I use to help me focus and stay alert.

What I failed to take into consideration was that like all stimulants, there is a danger in the amounts that you consume.

No big deal, I only drink a couple of cups a day! Unfortunately caffeine is finding its way into more of the foods and drinks that we consume daily. 

What annoyed me was the lack of info regarding the cumulative effects of coffee and caffeine consumption; so I decided to write this article to help fill that void.

Fresh Coffee Beans
Photo by Alex@worthyofelegance on Unsplash

The Rising Consumption of Caffeine

Back in June 1 2013, the Washington Post published an article by Brady Dennis that brought attention to the rising amount of food and beverages that contained caffeine.
Slew of caffeinated food products has FDA jittery

Since then there are even more products on the market that contain caffeine.

  • Chocolates
  • Ice Cream and Frozen Yogurts
  • Puddings
  • Breakfast Cereals
  • Headache Pills
  • Various Medications
  • And surprisingly to me Decaffeinated Coffee (although at a reduced level – 12mg compared to 84mg in regular coffee)

I speculate that the increased use of caffeine in products that we ingest is not so much for the health benefits, but rather for its addictive traits (like sugar).

The Effects of Increased Caffeine Consumption on Your Health

There are plenty of articles on the web that suggest that going over 3 to 4 cups of coffee a day can be bad for you over time.

What are not highlighted are the cumulative effects of all the caffeine you can ingest in one day over a period of time.

Thankfully there are many research papers that find both the pros and cons for increasing your caffeine intake.

For example there was a study by G. Webster Ross, MD; Robert D. Abbott, PhD; Helen Petrovitch, MD; et al found that increasing the caffeine consumption of Japanese-American men between the ages of 45 and 68, reduced the risk of developing Parkinson disease.
Association of Coffee and Caffeine Intake With the Risk of Parkinson Disease

And here are some of the cons:

So what can we do to reduce our exposure to caffeine?

Caffeine Control Strategies

Moderation is key. To reduce our exposure to caffeine we first must take the decision to actively watch for how much we consume.

Here are some strategies that I’ve found helpful:

  • Read what’s on the label
    Although the amount of caffeine may not be on the label, if you want to reduce your consumption of caffeine err on the side of caution
  • Use alternatives
    Feeling tired; need to stay awake? Reach for an alternative to coffee (and not decaf)! Water; fruit juices; moving around; using an alarm like V-CAF that warns you when you’re feeling tired; over time these tools can help you naturally increase your energy and reduce your dependency on caffeine products
  • Become more informed about caffeine and your own body.
    By knowing the pros and cons of anything you take control over your own choices rather than defaulting to an industry’s standard for your life!

Review

These days, caffeine intoxication and addiction are real threats. The increased use of caffeine in our foods and drinks masks that we are increasing our tolerance to the stimulating effects of this psychoactive substance.

Use these strategies to help take back control:

  • Find out what you are consuming by reading the label
  • Use non intrusive alternatives such as apps like V-CAF
  • Become more informed 

Take Back Control

I decided to take back control in this area of my life and started a quest to find out more.

I’m still on that quest and hope that you also start your own. Together our collective individual actions can affect change for the better.