According to a study, over 60% of Americans drink coffee every day. This means that we would like to know more about the health benefits of this beverage and whether it's good for our bodies. If you've been following the caffeine debate, you'll know that there's a wide range of opinions regarding its use and effects. Some people think that it can help boost performance, while others believe that it can cause dehydration. Let's debunk some of the common myths about what caffeine does to you.
Caffeine and Performance: Professional athletes and amateur athletes regularly take caffeine to improve their performance during various activities, such as playing tennis, football, and badminton. It can also be used for various endurance exercises, such as cycling and running. A recent study revealed that taking moderate doses of caffeine can improve an individual's performance. It was noted that these individuals experienced a 3% increase in their mean power output and a 2% increase in their time-trial completion. In golf and tennis, taking a small amount of caffeine can help improve a player's accuracy and overall performance. It's believed that this effect can be due to improved mental alertness and reaction time. However, the evidence supporting the use of caffeine during a sprint exercise is not strong. It still shows that using caffeine during a sprint exercise can have limited effects on an individual's performance. In addition, it was also found that consuming a small amount of caffeine during a 10-second exercise can improve a person's strength and speed.
Caffeine and Cognition: Aside from improving physical performance, taking a small amount of caffeine can also help improve a person's cognitive performance. This effect can be especially beneficial for individuals who are sleep-deprived. In a study, professional rugby players who were suffering from sleep restriction experienced a reduction in their performance after performing a series of passes using a combination of 1 and 5 mg/kg body mass. In almost all of the studies that involved the use of caffeine, the perceived exertion scores were lower when compared to the placebo groups. In other sports, such as golf and tennis, ingesting a small amount of caffeine can help improve a player's accuracy and overall performance. It's believed that this effect can be due to improved mental alertness and reaction time.
Caffeine and Dosage: According to the Mayo Clinic, it's generally safe for most adults to consume up to 400 mg of caffeine a day. However, going beyond this amount could actually hinder an individual's performance. This is because it can cause a person's muscles to contract and increase their risk of experiencing a muscle tremor. Small doses of caffeine, which are less than 3 mg per kilogram of body mass, are considered to be ergogenic, and they can be associated with minimal side effects. The larger doses of caffeine, which are above 9 mg per kilogram of body mass, do not appear to improve a person's performance. They can also increase their risk of experiencing negative side effects, such as restlessness, anxiety, and nausea. Currently, the majority of the studies on the effects of caffeine are focused on the consumption of 3 to 8 mg per kilogram of body mass.
Caffeine and Fat Loss: During the 1970s, studies revealed that drinking a small amount of caffeine can stimulate the release of fatty acids from the body's fat tissue. These acids could then be used as fuel. Although the relationship between fat loss and caffeine is still being researched, a recent meta-analysis found that taking a moderate amount of caffeine before a vigorous exercise can help increase fat utilization during the exercise. According to Dr. Clarke, a study revealed that a small amount of caffeine before an exercise can help increase the body's fat utilization during a vigorous exercise. For instance, the group that consumed 3 mg/kg body mass had a higher fat utilization rate than the group that took a placebo. Although the effects of caffeine on fat utilization during a vigorous exercise are still being studied, it's important to note that this exercise was performed with no breakfast. Also, the effects of caffeine on the body's fat oxidation are not as strong in people who are not trained or recreational athletes. Although it's possible that drinking a small amount of caffeine before exercising can increase the body's fat oxidation, it's also important to note that weight loss can only occur once the energy balance has returned to a negative state.
Caffeine and Dehydration: Contrary to popular belief, drinking coffee cannot cause a diuretic effect. New research has shown that this is not the case. The traditional method of administering caffeine in athletic settings is to take capsules or tablets. Although it's still not clear if drinking coffee can cause a detrimental effect on a person's fluid balance, it's widely believed that it can contribute to a person's daily fluid requirement.
There is a wide variation in the amount of caffeine that's found in coffee. For instance, the caffeine content of Arabica coffee is lower than that of the Robusta variety. Another issue that's possible is that the ingredients added to a cup of coffee could interfere with the benefits of the drink. Another issue that's possible is that the effects of milk on the bioequivalence of coffee are still not known. Therefore, if you're planning on drinking a cup of coffee on your next trip to Starbucks, it's important to consider replacing the syrup and cream with a calorie-free alternative..
Is caffeine safe?
Following a review of the safety of single doses of caffeine, the European Food Safety Authority stated that drinking a small amount of caffeine from all sources does not raise concerns about the safety of adults. Drinking coffee can improve a person's physical performance, and it can also help them maintain a healthy and muscular balance. These include improved movement velocity and muscular strength.
The release of endorphins by the body can also help improve a person's performance. It can decrease the perceived exertion and pain level during an exercise, which lowers the person's perception of effort. Other factors such as mood and reaction time can also have a positive influence on a person's performance.
How much coffee should I drink before my workout?
Although the exact amount of coffee that a person should consume depends on their body weight, the recommended daily dose is about three milligrams per kilogram. This amount, which is equivalent to two cups of coffee, is generally well-tolerated.
When should I take coffee before my workout?
Based on the absorption rate and the half-life of the coffee, it's generally believed that coffee should be taken before a session begins. However, caffeinated coffee can still be found in your bloodstream several hours later.
Are there downsides to drinking coffee before my workout?
Not only does coffee provide a boost to the circulatory system, it can also stimulate bowel movements and lower blood pressure. However, high doses can have various side effects, such as sleep disturbances and increased urination.
Even though the effects of caffeine are as powerful as those of other forms of caffeine, drinking enough coffee to ingest an entire cup could be challenging for some people.
Reference: Mejia, E., & Ramirez-Mares, M. (2014). Impact of caffeine and coffee on our health. Trends In Endocrinology & Metabolism, 25(10), 489-492. Crippa, A., Discacciati, A., Larsson, S., Wolk, A., & Orsini, N. (2014). Coffee Consumption and Mortality From All Causes, Cardiovascular Disease, and Cancer: A Dose-Response Meta-Analysis. American Journal Of Epidemiology, 180(8), 763-775.
Beedie, C.J., Stuart, E.M., Coleman, D.A. and Foad, A.J., 2006. Placebo effects of caffeine on cycling performance. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 38(12), p.2159.