Archive for the ‘addiction’ Category

Strategies for Cutting Sugar Addiction

May 24, 2015

sugar
If you can’t seem to kick the sugar habit, you might want to start. There are many strategies to cut your addiction to sugar, but these 15 tips are some of the best methods!

Refined sugar contributes to a variety of negative side effects like tooth decay, a weakened immune system, cancer, mineral deprivation, liver damage, insulin resistance, weight gain, premature aging, depression, anxiety, chronic fatigue, mood swings and hyperactivity (among many others).

Of course, not all sugar is created equal. When I talk about sugar, I mean highly-processed, refined sugar you buy in a grocery store. I am not talking about fruit sugar, which is processed by the body in a hugely different respect, and helps prevent all of the above mentioned rather than encourage it. Please, keep the fruit in your life! I have been raw vegan for 5 years, and much of my diet consists of fruit and leafy greens, and I feel younger and more vibrant every morning!

Here are 15 strategies to cut your addiction to sugar:
1. Cut back slowly

If you go cold turkey, you are more than likely to binge on everything sugar after a couple days. Cutting back slowly, by say, adding half a teaspoon of sugar to your tea instead of 1 or 2, is more reasonable than stopping altogether (or if you eat one bar of chocolate every day, cut back to half a bar, etc.). Eventually you will find that you don’t want as much sugar, and breaking the addiction will come naturally.

2. Don’t fall for sugar-free

Sugar-free items are often loaded with artificial sweeteners, which are cancerous, disease-causing and essentially the worst thing you could be putting in your body. In fact, artificial sweeteners increase your appetite and cravings for sugar (because your brain gets confused, it signals you are giving it “sweet” but isn’t fully satisfied, so continues craving), which in the end, will have you gaining more weight than you otherwise might not have wanted.

3. Read food labels

Many processed foods (canned, boxed, bagged), are loaded with sugar – food items you would have never thought possible. Sugar manages to make its way into crackers, breads, cereals, soups, condiments and so many other store-bought manufactured products. Read your labels, and make sure sugar content is below 1-2 grams per serving.

4. Beware of sneaky sugar names

Sugar isn’t always labelled as “sugar” under ingredients. It has many other forms, like sugars ending in -ose (sucrose, dextrose, fructose, glucose, galactose, lactose, high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), glucose solids), cane juice, dextrin, maltodextrin, dextran, barley malt, beet sugar, corn syrup, caramel, buttered syrup, carob syrup, brown sugar, date sugar, malt syrup, diatase, and golden syrup.

5. Add flavour with sweet herbs

There are some pretty interesting herbs out there, like vanilla, and cinnamon that possess hints of sweetness and can satisfy strong sugar cravings. The bonus with cinnamon is that it regulates your blood sugar and controls your appetite. Experiment with cocoa, citrus zests, and other herbs to maximize flavour, while cutting back on sugar.

6. Don’t drink your sugar

Drinking your sugar is one of the easiest, and fastest ways to consume it without even thinking twice about it. Sodas, flavoured waters, and sports drinks are all loaded with massive un-necessary sugar content that you can swig back in no time. Instead of these sugary drinks, make flavoured water with different fruit and herbal infusions.

7. Dump processed bread products

Most commercial bread products contain sugar or high fructose corn syrup, which is highly responsible for the obesity epidemic today. In fact, processed bread can have sugar contents as high as 3 grams per slice! Two slices of toast for breakfast can equal the equivalent sugar content as a candy bar. Skip the bread, and instead make a fruit smoothie! It will satisfy you longer, and make you feel much more alive.

8. Keep candies and sweets out of the house

When they aren’t in your house, you won’t be as likely to eat them! Get rid of any candy or sweets in your house and replace them with fruit – your new habit will be much better for you, and you won’t be tempted to reach in your cupboard for something sweeter (medjool dates make a great “candy” substitution).

9. Stop adding sugar to your recipes

One of the easiest ways to reduce refined sugar consumption would be to stop adding sugar to your recipes! Casseroles, soups, sauces, vegetables, you name it – they often call for sugar. Instead, you can substitute applesauce, mashed bananas or pureed dry fruit in baking, or you can simply cut the sugar in half, or not even add it at all!

10. Make your own condiments or don’t use any at all

Condiments are often loaded with sugar. Take ketchup, for example. This common household condiment contains over 4 grams of sugar per tablespoon. That is a ridiculous amount of sugar for such a small serving size. Anything ranging from ketchup to relish, to barbecue sauce and salad dressings, are all loaded with sugar. Make your own, so that you know just how much sugar you are consuming.

11. Eat enough healthy fat

Eating enough healthy fats will prevent you from craving highly-processed (“empty”) nutrient-deprived carbs like rice, white bread and white pasta. If you aren’t fuelling your body properly, it will resort to the fastest calorie source, regardless of nutrient value, which means anything from pies, pastries, donuts, cookies, white bread or white pasta.

12. Exercise beats sugar cravings

Exercising regularly actually helps beat sugar cravings. Exercising vigorously for just 20 minutes a day will encourage endorphin release and dopamine production. Why is this so significant? Daily bingeing on sugar repeatedly releases dopamine in the nucleus accumbens (the reward centre of the brain), similar in the way a drug addict’s brain will release dopamine each time they partake in drug use.

So basically, exercising will excite dopamine production in the same way sugar does, so the next time you are craving some sugary goods, go exercise for awhile and you will find that your craving will disappear. And when you’re done exercising, make a healthy fruit smoothie with some added greens to fully satisfy your brain’s glucose requirement, and to replenish your muscles.

13. Drop fancy teas, coffees and hot chocolates

If you are addicted to the daily routine of latte’s and sugar-loaded teas and hot chocolate, then you may want to substitute it with something else. There are great coffee substitutions that you can easily whip up in no time, as well as the option of making your own beverages at home. This way you can track how much sugar you are putting in your drinks, and you can also opt for immune-boosting honey instead (make sure it is raw, and local), or unrefined coconut sugar.

14. Get enough sleep

Getting enough sleep under your belt is another crucial factor in ensuring you don’t reach for the nearest cookie jar. One of the negative side effects of sleep deprivation is that our ghrelin levels increase (hormones that make you feel hungry), while our leptin levels decrease (hormones that make you feel full), setting up a perfect scenario for over-eating when tired.

Lack of sleep is often correlated with a preference for sweeter foods, mainly because our brain is fueled by glucose, and so to keep us awake throughout the day, it desperately seeks out any source of fast, easy sugar access. So make sure you get enough sleep, and if you don’t get enough sleep, at least make sure only healthy carbohydrate-rich options are at your reach, like bananas, dates, mangoes, or any other fruit!

15. Eat leafy greens and fruit

Leafy greens, whether you eat them in salads, press them in juices or blend them in smoothies are a great way to retrain your tastebuds and detox your liver from years worth of sugar consumption. Usually when our brain is craving refined sugar, we are instinctually craving what our body needs most – FRUIT! Fruit contains beneficial sugars that our body can recognize and use in their true, raw form, as well as vitamins and minerals that we require to function at our absolute best!

Article sourced from: http://livelovefruit.com/strategies-to-cut-your-addiction-to-sugar/
Read more at http://livelovefruit.com/strategies-to-cut-your-addiction-to-sugar/#XcdbLwJezLSrfU4D.99
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Harvard Scientists Studied the Brains of Pot Smokers … the Results Don’t Look Good

January 18, 2015

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The news: Every day, the push toward national legalization of marijuana seems more and more inevitable. As more and more politicians and noted individuals come out in favor of legalizing or at least decriminalizing different amounts of pot, the mainstream acceptance of the recreational use of the drug seems like a bygone conclusion. But before we can talk about legalization, have we fully understood the health effects of marijuana?

According to a new study published in the Journal of Neuroscience, researchers from Harvard and Northwestern studied the brains of 18- to 25-year-olds, half of whom smoked pot recreationally and half of whom didn’t. What they found was rather shocking: Even those who only smoked few times a week had significant brain abnormalities in the areas that control emotion and motivation. “There is this general perspective out there that using marijuana recreationally is not a problem — that it is a safe drug,” said Anne Blood, a co-author of the study. “We are seeing that this is not the case.” The science: Similar studies have found a correlation between heavy pot use and brain abnormalities, but this is the first study that has found the same link with recreational users. The 20 people in the “marijuana group” of the study smoked four times a week on average; seven only smoked once a week. Those in the control group did not smoke at all. “We looked specifically at people who have no adverse impacts from marijuana — no problems with work, school, the law, relationships, no addiction issues,” said Hans Breiter, another co-author of the study. Using three different neuroimaging techniques, researchers then looked at the nucleus accumbens and the amygdala of the participants. These areas are responsible for gauging the benefit or loss of doing certain things, and providing feelings of reward for pleasurable activities such as food, sex and social interactions. “This is a part of the brain that you absolutely never ever want to touch,” said Breiter. “I don’t want to say that these are magical parts of the brain — they are all important. But these are fundamental in terms of what people find pleasurable in the world and assessing that against the bad things.” Shockingly, every single person in the marijuana group, including those who only smoked once a week, had noticeable abnormalities, with the nucleus accumbens and the amygdala showing changes in density, volume and shape. Those who smoked more had more significant variations. What will happen next? The study’s co-authors admit that their sample size was small. Their plan now is to conduct a bigger study that not only looks at the brain abnormalities, but also relates them to functional outcomes. That would be a major and important step in this science because, as of now, the research indicates that marijuana use may cause alterations to the brain, but it’s unclear what that might actually mean for users and their brains. But for now, they are standing behind their findings. “People think a little marijuana shouldn’t cause a problem if someone is doing OK with work or school,” said Breiter. “Our data directly says this is not so.”

This article was sourced from: http://mic.com/articles/87743/harvard-scientists-studied-the-brains-of-pot-smokers-and-the-results-don-t-look-good Written by Eileen Shim

Eileen is a writer living in New York. She studied comparative literature and international studies at Yale University, and enjoys writing about the intersection of culture and politics.

Over 50’s Fitness by Glen Barnett – Top 10 Health Tips (Part One)

November 11, 2014

healthyseniorOver the next two weeks I will be presenting you my Top 10 Health Tips. These are tips that I follow in my life and I encourage my clients and class participants to follow as well.  Now as an interesting fact, your mind can only deal with making a couple of changes at a time, that is often why people who decide to give up smoking, go to the gym, stop eating chocolate and junk food, and drink more water all in one week fail because it is too much to deal with at once.

Be as active as you can with what the day brings you.
How are you feeling?
What sort of weather is being offered to you today?
Adjust your activity to how you are feeling and how the weather is.
Lying on the lounge on a rainy day isn’t an activity.

Eat a rainbow of clean foods at most meals and don’t forget the protein!
Lots of colourful foods mean, hopefully, a variety of vitamins and minerals
Clean food means it hasn’t been greatly tampered with, you recognize it as a real food and it doesn’t have a lot of ingredients some of which are unpronounceable.
Protein comes in many forms. It’s your body’s building block for muscle growth and repair.   As we age both the growth (or maintenance) and repair are vital.

Stay strong physically so you don’t fall in a heap.
If you don’t use it you will lose it and once you lose your strength your confidence goes with it.
Think of yourself as a tree and choose the tree that is strong to the core rather than a wimpy sapling that will topple in a stiff breeze.
Lift, push, pull and squeeze heavy things as part of your everyday tasks or in conjunction with a specific strength workout.
The handle on your recliner doesn’t count as a strength exercise but if you can’t use it you need help!

Drink a bucketful of water daily and check the colour of your urine.
Your urine may be yellow first thing in the morning or if you are on some medications but otherwise it should be clear. If it isn’t you need to drink more water.
Try flavouring your water with a little lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to not only hydrate you more effectively but also give your liver a cleanse.

I hope you can use these first four tips to make some positive changes in your life. Choose a couple of tips to get you started and next week I’ll give you the rest of my Top 10 Health Tips.    If you require any help or guidance, call Glen at Coffs Coast Health Club on 66586222 or come down and see us.

Sweet Poison – sugar, it never fully satisfies our cravings.

August 12, 2014

addiction
In the last 24 hours, I’ve drunk several cups of coffee, each one sweetened with a sugar cube. I’ve eaten a bowl of porridge sprinkled liberally with brown sugar and I’ve enjoyed on three separate occasions, a piece of my date and apple birthday cake, to which the chef tells me he added one cup of castor sugar.

This is pretty standard fare for me (birthday celebrations notwithstanding) and although occasionally I fret that my sugar intake is perhaps a little high and that I should reign it in or else risk all manner of health problems down the track, I continue to indulge my sweet tooth. Although after listening to David Gillespie present at Happiness & Its Causes 2011, I’m seriously thinking I really do need to wean myself off the white stuff.

Gillespie, a former lawyer, is the author of Sweet Poison: why sugar makes us fat, whose thesis is that sugar, or more specifically fructose (of which folk are consuming, on average, about one kilo a week), actually does much more that pack on the kilos. It also makes us physically ill and exacts a significant toll on our mental health.

What we’ve come to identify as sugar is actually a combination of two molecules: fructose and glucose, the latter an indispensable element to the body’s healthy functioning. As Gillespie explains, “The glucose half is fine. It’s more than just fine; it’s vitally necessary for us. We are machines that run on the fuel of glucose.” Indeed, all the carbohydrates we consume – and which for most of us constitute about 60 per cent of our diet (everything else is proteins and fats) – are converted to glucose.

Fructose, on the other hand, is not metabolised by us for fuel but rather converted directly to fat. As Gillespie says, “By the time we finish a glass of apple juice, the first mouthful is already circulating in our arteries as fat.” But even worse than that, fructose messes with those hormonal signals which tell us we’re full so that we keep on eating sugary, fatty foods.

Two hormones in particular are affected, the first one being insulin “which responds immediately to the presence of all carbs except fructose,” says Gillespie. “When insulin goes up, appetite goes down. So insulin tells us, ‘all right, you’ve had a meal, stop eating’. Fructose does not provoke a response from insulin and in fact, over time, it makes us resistant to the signals we do get from everything else we eat.”

Leptin is produced by our fat cells and works as our “on board fuel gauge” in that the more fat cells we have, the more leptin we produce and the less hungry we are. The problem with fructose is it “makes us resistant to that signal,” says Gillespie.

And yes, this leads to all manner of health problems including Type 2 Diabetes and its associated symptoms including lethargy, blurred vision and skin infections, and what Gillespie says is “significant damage through something called glycation”, the destruction through the excessive production of so-called AGEs (advanced glycation end products) of our skin’s elasticity which causes hardening of our arteries and brittle skin, both unmistakable signs of ageing. Gillespie also cites some biochemistry studies that have found fructose accelerates the growth of pancreatic cancer tumours.

These are just some of the physical effects. The addictive quality of fructose means it’s also a bit of a downer and that’s because of how it interferes with the balance of two feel-good hormones in the brain, dopamine and serotonin. Gillespie explains, “It significantly ramps up our dopamine (released when we anticipate pleasure) at the expense of our serotonin (released when that pleasure is delivered).” In other words, it never fully satisfies our cravings, and as anyone who’s battled an addiction knows, unfulfilled cravings are never much fun.

Article sourced from: http://www.thinkandbehappy.com.au/eating-way-health-happiness/

Why the Number on the Scale Doesn’t Matter

July 8, 2014

It can be easy for us to tie our sense of self-worth to a number, to our body.

This Number Doesn't MatterSure, our bodies are important, but we are spiritual beings inside a physical body. Without nurturing the spiritual piece of ourselves, the physical body will take precedence and our focus will be on the body and weight. This leads to thinking about how to change, control or obsess about our bodies and food.

At the root of any of this thinking is an emotional need that is not being met. By taking the focus off of the scale, off of food, and off of weight, you can begin to dig deeper within.

The reality is that the number on the scale has no significance.

It is about your mental and emotional sanity. The physical piece will fall into place once you have the awareness and understanding as to why you obsess and focus on food and weight.

Here are four reasons why it’s time to let go of the number on the scale and focus on the beauty you harness within:

1. You are more than a number.

It always amazes me how much power we can give a number. How we can give up all of our strength to something so insignificant. If you do this, you’re not alone.

Remember that you are respected and loved for who you are; for the inner love you harness within and the ability to be the person you were put here to be.

2. It’s an inside job.

The external world has the ability to take us out of the moment and bring us to a focus point outside of ourselves.

Yet, inside is what matters.

When we start looking within and allowing ourselves to feel what is coming up, we won’t look for external validation from things like the number on a scale.

The validation will come from within. We will learn to trust ourselves and take ownership and responsibility over our lives.

3. Focusing on weight takes you out of being present in your life.

Weight is an easy distraction for being present.

We can think if only I was skinnier, more fit or weighed less then my life would be better. When we rationally think about this, there really is no connection.

By staying present and taking each moment in, the need to focus on numbers and weight will start to diminish as we realize our true value and worth is much more than a number.

4. You deny others the beauty of getting to truly know you.

Focusing on our weight can make our world smaller and smaller.

Suddenly, we only care about ourselves and how to change the way we look. This takes us out of being there for our friends, family and co-workers. We deny these people the ability to truly get to know us. We deny ourselves that ability as well.

 

 

 

 

This article was sourced from http://www.elephantjournal.com/2014/07/5-reasons-why-the-number-on-the-scale-doesnt-matter-lauren-stahl/

7 Food Ingredients to Avoid … you’ll feel better for it!

August 11, 2013
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White flour
The fact that white flour is bad for your health isn’t necessarily groundbreaking nutrition information. However, this powdery white substance also sneaks its way into foods like soups and salad dressing by acting as a thickening agent. Because of its empty calories and high blood glucose content, even a small amount can cause mood swings and hunger pains.
Rule of thumb: If it’s white, don’t take a single bite. Instead, choose 100% whole grains or gluten-free options.
FD & C Red No. 40
This food dye is one of the most commonly used dyes. Its sole purpose is to make food colorful and enhance the flavor, and it’s hidden in everything from frosting and chips to sports drinks and fruit snacks. However, don’t let the bright color or tastes fool you: this additive is linked to hypersensitivity and ADHD among children and adults.
Rule of thumb: Don’t be misled, stay away from RED. Ensure even your favorite organic snacks are free and clear of this harmful dye.
Hydrogenated oils
Hydrogenated oils are processed oils that are used by manufacturers to extend the shelf life of products. Hydrogenated oils are also responsible for creating trans fat in foods. Trans fat is shown to increase cholesterol levels and increase weight since your body has to work extra hard to digest it. It can also cause brain fog and severe moodiness.
Rule of thumb: The shorter the expiration date, the better for your weight. (And your happiness!) Opt for products that expire within a week or two. And always choose healthy oils like organic coconut oil or organic extra virgin olive oil.
Aspartame
Aspartame is an ingredient used to sweeten “sugar-free” products on the market. While you might think you’re doing yourself a favor by skipping the sugar, you might want to think twice. Aspartame is a chemical that has been shown to cause headaches, digestive issues and even seizures.
Rule of thumb: If it says sugar free, it most likely means hazardous chemical concoction. Instead, sweeten foods with 100% raw cane sugar, coconut sugar or raw honey.
FD & C Yellow No. 5
Our bodies aren’t meant to process chemicals, and that certainly applies to this one. Yellow no. 5 is a food dye most commonly found in cookies, soft drinks and even gum. If a product contains high quantities of yellow food dye, it can give food or drinks a yellowish glow. This food dye has been linked to asthma, allergic reactions and mood disorders.
Rule of thumb: If it contains yellow, say hell NO! Always take caution before eating foods or candies that are extremely colorful, as they’re more likely to contain food dyes.
Monosodium glutamate
Monosodium glutamate, also known as MSG, is commonly used in packaged foods to enhance flavor and extend shelf life. Many products like chips, soups and frozen meals contain MSG. Consuming even small amounts of this ingredient can lead to light-headedness, nausea, feelings of anxiety and weakness.
Rule of thumb: If it contains MSG, it’s no good to me! (or my body!) But be careful; the FDA doesn’t require MSG to be listed as an ingredient. Always choose products that are organic or labeled “MSG Free.”
Sugar
Sugar is hidden in almost every processed and packaged food, including chips, sauces, fruit juices, cereals and energy bars. Sugar is often disguised by one of its many names: dextrose, fructose, corn syrup, lactose and sucrose. Eating foods that are high in sugar can contribute to health issues such as diabetes, thyroid issues, depression and weight gain.
Rule of thumb: When sugar is a main ingredient, opt for a sweet fruit as a supplement. If you really have a fix for something sweet, opt for a healthier version of your favorite treat.

Caffeine Myths & Facts

March 31, 2013

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Caffeine myth or caffeine fact? It’s not always easy to know. Chances are you have some real misperceptions about caffeine. For starters, do you know the most common sources of caffeine? Well, maybe two of the sources aren’t too hard to name — coffee and tea leaves. But did you know kola nuts and cocoa beans are also included among the most common caffeine sources? And do you know how much caffeine content can vary from food to food? Turns out it’s quite a lot actually, depending on the type and serving size of a food or beverage and how it’s prepared.

Caffeine content can range from as much as 160 milligrams in some energy drinks to as little as 4 milligrams in a 1-ounce serving of chocolate-flavored syrup. Even decaffeinated coffee isn’t completely free of caffeine. Caffeine is also present in some over-the-counter pain relievers, cold medications, and diet pills. These products can contain as little as 16 milligrams or as much as 200 milligrams of caffeine. In fact, caffeine itself is a mild painkiller and increases the effectiveness of other pain relievers.

Want to know more? Read on. WebMD has examined some of the most common myths about caffeine and gathered the facts to shed some light on those myths.

Caffeine Myth No. 1: Caffeine Is Addictive

This one has some truth to it, depending on what you mean by “addictive.” Caffeine is a stimulant to the central nervous system, and regular use of caffeine does cause mild physical dependence. But caffeine doesn’t threaten your physical, social, or economic health the way addictive drugs do. (Although after seeing your monthly spending at the coffee shop, you might disagree!)

If you stop taking caffeine abruptly, you may have symptoms for a day or more, especially if you consume two or more cups of coffee a day. Symptoms of withdrawal from caffeine include:

  • headache
  • fatigue
  • anxiety
  • irritability
  • depressed mood
  • difficulty concentrating

No doubt, caffeine withdrawal can make for a few bad days. However, caffeine does not cause the severity of withdrawal or harmful drug-seeking behaviors as street drugs or alcohol. For this reason, most experts don’t consider caffeine dependence a serious  addiction.

Caffeine Myth No. 2: Caffeine Is Likely to Cause Insomnia

Your body quickly absorbs caffeine. But it also gets rid of it quickly. Processed mainly through the liver, caffeine has a relatively short half-life. This means it takes about five to seven hours, on average, to eliminate half of it from your body. After eight to 10 hours, 75% of the caffeine is gone. For most people, a cup of coffee or two in the morning won’t interfere with sleep at night.

Consuming caffeine later in the day, however, can interfere with sleep. If you’re like most people, your sleep won’t be affected if you don’t consume caffeine at least six hours before going to bed. Your sensitivity may vary, though, depending on your metabolism and the amount of caffeine you regularly consume. People who are more sensitive may not only experience insomnia but also have caffeine side effects of nervousness and gastrointestinal upset.

Caffeine Myth No. 3: Caffeine Increases Risk for Conditions Such as Osteoporosis, Heart Disease, and Cancer

Moderate amounts of caffeine — about 300 milligrams, or three cups of coffee — apparently cause no harm in most healthy adults. Some people are more vulnerable to its effects, however. That includes such people as those who have high blood pressure or are older. Here are the facts:

  • Osteoporosis and caffeine. At high levels (more than 744 milligrams/day), caffeine may increase calcium and magnesium loss in urine. But recent studies suggest it does not increase your risk for bone loss, especially if you get enough calcium. You can offset the calcium lost from drinking one cup of coffee by adding just two tablespoons of milk. However, research does show some links between caffeine and hip fracture risk in older adults. Older adults may be more sensitive to the effects of caffeine on calcium metabolism. If you’re an older woman, discuss with your doctor whether you should limit your daily caffeine intake to 300 milligrams or less.
  • Cardiovascular disease and caffeine. A slight, temporary rise in heart rate and blood pressure is common in those who are sensitive to caffeine. But several large studies do not link caffeine to higher cholesterol, irregular heartbeats, or an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. If you already have high blood pressure, though, have a discussion with your doctor about your caffeine intake. You may be more sensitive to its effects. Also, more research is needed to tell whether caffeine increases the risk for stroke in people with high blood pressure.
  • Cancer and caffeine. Reviews of 13 studies involving 20,000 people revealed no relationship between cancer and caffeine. In fact, caffeine may even have a protective effect against certain cancers.

Caffeine Myth No. 4: Caffeine Is Harmful for Women Trying to Get Pregnant

Many studies show no links between low amounts of caffeine (a cup of coffee per day) and any of the following:

  • trouble conceiving
  • miscarriage
  • birth defects
  • premature birth
  • low birth rate

At the same time, for pregnant women or those attempting pregnancy, the March of Dimes suggests fewer than 200 milligrams of caffeine per day. That’s largely because in limited studies, women consuming higher amounts of caffeine had an increased risk for miscarriage.

Caffeine Myth No. 5: Caffeine Has a Dehydrating Effect

Caffeine can make you need to urinate. However, the fluid you consume in caffeinated beverages tends to offset the effects of fluid loss when you urinate. The bottom line is that although caffeine does act as a mild diuretic, studies show drinking caffeinated drinks doesn’t actually cause dehydration.

Caffeine Myth No. 6: Caffeine Harms Children, Who, Today, Consume Even More Than Adults

As of 2004, children ages 6 to 9 consumed about 22 milligrams of caffeine per day. However, energy drinks that contain caffeine are becoming increasingly popular.

Studies suggest that up to 300 milligrams of caffeine daily is safe for kids. But is it smart? Many kids are sensitive to caffeine, developing temporary anxiety or irritability, with a “crash” afterwards. Also, most caffeine that kids drink is in sodas, energy drinks, or sweetened teas, all of which have high sugar content. These empty calories put kids at higher risk for obesity.

Even if the caffeine itself isn’t harmful, caffeinated drinks are generally not good for kids.

Caffeine Myth No. 7: Caffeine Can Help You Sober Up

Actually, research suggests that people only think caffeine helps them sober up. For example, people who drink caffeine along with alcohol think they’re OK behind the wheel. But the truth is reaction time and judgment are still impaired. College kids who drink both alcohol and caffeine are actually more likely to have car accidents.

Caffeine Myth No. 8: Caffeine Has No Health Benefits

Caffeine has few proven health benefits. But the list of caffeine’s potential benefits is interesting. Any regular coffee drinker may tell you that caffeine improves alertness, concentration, energy, clear-headedness, and feelings of sociability. You might even be the type who needs that first cup o’ Joe each morning before you say a single word. Scientific studies support these subjective findings. One French study even showed a slower decline in cognitive ability among women who consumed caffeine.

Other possible benefits include improved immune function from caffeine’s anti-inflammatory effects and help with allergic reactions due to caffeine’s ability to reduce concentrations of histamines. Some people’s asthma also appears to benefit from caffeine. These research findings are intriguing, but still need to be proven.

Limited evidence suggests caffeine may also reduce the risk of the following:

  • Parkinson’s disease
  • liver disease
  • colorectal cancer
  • type 2 diabetes
  • dementia

Despite its potential benefits, don’t forget that high levels of caffeine may have adverse effects. More studies are needed to confirm both its benefits and potential risks.

Information sourced from: http://www.webmd.com/balance/caffeine-myths-and-facts