Stories tagged caffeine

May
21
2009

Back in high school I was addicted to Mountain Dew, possibly the most disgusting soda flavor ever invented. Unfortunately, my high school days were so boring that I don't remember much about them, but I do remember drinking 3 or 4 bottles of Mountain Dew each day, a habit that became much easier when all of the milk machines were replaced with brand new Pepsi machines that dispensed 20oz bottles.

Somehow I managed to avoid obesity and was even able to kick the habit after high school, when poverty forced me to survive on tap water. Turns out water is actually not so bad.

Since I stopped drinking soda, I haven't really thought much about its health impacts, until a friend sent me a link to this article detailing some of the side effects of excessive soda consumption. Medical researchers are so alarmed by some of the cases that they've seen of individuals who've gotten sick from soda, that they're now issuing a warning about its health dangers. One researcher writes:

Evidence is increasing to suggest that excessive cola consumption can also lead to hypokalaemia, in which the blood potassium levels fall, causing an adverse effect on vital muscle functions.

So soda doesn't just make you fat and jittery, it can also lead to a range of health problems, including fatigue, appetite loss, persistent vomiting and heart problems. Hypokalaemia is just one of many conditions that can result when you drink too much soda.

Granted, the individuals mentioned in this research review drank soda in amounts that are almost incomprehensible. One man who appeared at a hospital with severe muscle weakness routinely drank up to 10 liters a day of soda! That's nearly 4,000 calories from sugar!

Reading this article really made me think about some of the old advertisements for my (former) favorite soft drink. It's funny how everyone in this TV ad seems so fit and active, the exact opposite of what medical research says will happen if you drink too many soft drinks.

Jan
16
2009

A day in the life: That the dog is on the table isn't strange—I put it there—but what it had to say was extremely odd.
A day in the life: That the dog is on the table isn't strange—I put it there—but what it had to say was extremely odd.Courtesy oh estelle
I suppose that if you haven’t seen this already, y’all have at least imagined that you saw it: it turns out that regular coffee drinkers are three times more likely to experience hallucinations.

That’s right, a new study says that people who consume the amount of caffeine in three cups of brewed coffee (or seven cups of instant) have triple the risk of experiencing visual or auditory hallucinations

While it’s not totally clear whether the increased stress from the caffeine induces hallucinations, or if people who hallucinate are more stressed in the first place (and crave caffeine), it’s a concerning discovery for me. I already hallucinate heavily.

Mostly my hallucinations are auditory (the dog has had a lot to say recently, none of it interesting), though some are what I like to think of as “emotional hallucinations” (see, my pen hates me, but that’s okay, because my tape dispenser loooves me). Both types can be inconvenient, and so it’s fortunate that I’m not a coffee drinker.

However, there’s also this recent research: drinking a moderate amount of coffee lowers the risk of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s disease later in life by as much as 65%. A “moderate amount” of coffee is defined here, coincidentally, as about three cups a day.

So what’s a boy to do? If my risk for hallucinations is already at about 300% above normal, will coffee’s risk just add to that? Or will it compound? On one hand, I don’t want to be hallucinating that the dog is talking to me and forget what he had to say. On the other hand, I don’t want to spend my twilight years in a state of constant, violent hallucination—I want to while away my final years shoplifting and complaining about the youth (hallucinating no more than is absolutely necessary).

What do y’all think? Am I alone here? Or do I just have to discuss this with the dog?

An apple a day keeps the doctor away, but a cup of coffee may help, too. Researchers have found that caffeine blocks the damage that cholesterol does to the body, and may lower the risk of Alzheimer's and dementia.

Adding yet another piece of evidence to the modern debate, the NY Times reports on some science that shows that coffee's positive side. There is one annoying point about this article though. The author regularly refers to a "cup of coffee." How much is that? 12oz? A travel mug full? 5oz.? Need some unit here folks.