Are You Addicted to Coffee?
As far as blood sugar problems are concerned, on the right, you have sugar and on the left, stimulants and stress. When your blood sugar dips, there are two ways to raise it. The first is to eat more glucose and the other is to increase the level of the stress hormones adrenalin and cortisol. There are, in turn, two ways in which you can raise adrenalin and cortisol.
The first is to consume a stimulant like tea, coffee and chocolate or smoke a cigarette (yes, athletes, bodybuilders and serious fitness enthusiasts have been known to smoke too) and the second is to react stressful, causing a jolt in your own production of adrenalin.
Knowing this, you can see how easy it is to be caught in the vicious cycle of stress, stimulants and sugar, which will leave you fatigued, depressed and stressed most of the time.
How Does This Vicious Cycle Work?
Through excess stress, sugar and stimulants you lose your ability to control your blood sugar and wake up each morning with low blood sugar levels and too little adrenalin to kick-start your day. You do one of two things:
- You reluctantly crawl out of bed and head to the kitchen to brew a super strong cup of tea or coffee, light up a Marlboro or have some fast releasing sugar in the form of toast, butter and jam. Up goes your blood sugar and adrenalin level and you start to feel like a champion again. Alternatively …
- You lie in bed and start to think about everything that has gone wrong and will go wrong in your life. You think of what you have to do or have not yet done or should have done. About 20 minutes of this gets enough adrenalin surging through your body to get you out of bed.
Does all this sound familiar? You are caught up in that vicious circle, with all its negative effects on your body, mind and mood. If it does, you may be suffering from the effects of coffee addiction.
Does Caffeine Make You Tired?
The reason that people are hooked on drinking coffee, especially after waking up, is because it makes them feel better, more alert and energized. However, more importantly, drinking coffee relieves the symptoms of withdrawal from coffee (ironic isn’t it?).
It is addictive. Not only is it addictive, but contrary to popular belief, it also worsens mental performance. Caffeine blocks the receptors for a chemical called adenosine, which has the function of stopping the release of dopamine and adrenalin. With less adenosine activity, levels of dopamine and adrenalin rise, as does alertness and motivation. However, peak concentration occurs 30 to 60 minutes after consumption and lasts 15 to 20 minutes.
The more caffeine you consume, the more your body and brain become insensitive to its own natural stimulants, dopamine and adrenalin. You then need more stimulants to feel normal and keep pushing your body to produce more dopamine and adrenalin. The result is adrenal exhaustion –an inability to produce adrenalin. You become apathetic, exhausted and depressed.
Coffee is not the only source of caffeine. There is almost as much in a strong cup of tea as in a cup of regular coffee. I researched the caffeine levels in a number of popular products.
Look at the ‘caffeinometer’ below:
|Diet coke (340ml)||46mg|
|Red bull (250ml)||80mg|
|Instant coffee (150ml)||40-100mg|
|Espresso, cappuccino, latte||30-50mg|
|Filter coffee (150ml)||100-150mg|
|Decaffeinated coffee (150ml)||1mg|
Are You Addicted to Caffeine?
To find out if you are stimulant dependent, complete the table below over the course of a week.
|Green tea||2 cups|
At the end of the week, add up your total number of units. Zero to ten units is realistic and ideal; 11-29 units are dangerous and a score of 30 or more is extremely dangerous (this could well be contributing to your mental and health problems).