By: Sarah Grace Powers – Confluence Daily is your daily news source for women in the know.
Do you every wonder if your daily cup(s) of joe is healthy, unhealthy, or just neutral?
I’ve had a love/hate affair with coffee for decades. I love the aroma, the ritual, and most of all the jolt of a buzz directly to my central nervous system. When I’m sitting down to write or get some work done, a strong cup of coffee (or even better, espresso) used to be my best friend.
Except for one small problem. Well, a couple of them really. Almost without fail, my beloved cup of coffee would result in a gnawing, hungry feeling in my stomach – not right away but within an hour or two. Some people lose their appetite with coffee and caffeine, but not me! Something in it – and I don’t necessarily think it’s the caffeine, seems to tear at my stomach lining.
I’ve since learned that the acidity in the coffee is likely the culprit. It apparently is associated with all sorts of digestive discomforts – including GERD and heartburn. My problem is neither, but the symptoms are similar.
The other problem that plagued me was the crash. The fabulous energy rush doesn’t just fade away for me. Instead, I begin to feel VERY sleepy. And, the more coffee I drink the worse it all gets.
I didn’t know if my coffee habit affected my sleep, but I did know that I tended to wake up several times a night – whether I’d had afternoon coffee or not.
I almost always would drink high quality, organic coffee. How could it be that bad?
I really didn’t want to give up coffee, but finally a few months ago while doing a detox I decided to pack it away for good.
This is the year I’ve decided to get serious about healing my blood sugar, fatigue and gut issues and to find ways to boosting my energy on a deep level.
I knew this had to include experimenting with how I felt without my precious post-breakfast cup of coffee. And, that delicious afternoon coffee pick-me-up definitely had to go.
Even without the above-mentioned issues, I just had a feeling that coffee was definitely not supporting my efforts to detox my body and drop some weight.
I’ve since learned that my intuition was onto something real.
In addition to the well-known downsides of coffee, like keeping people awake when they should be sleeping and causing anxiety and jitters, it turns out that coffee has some lesser-known detrimental effects.
Coffee and Your Weight
Although a lot people trying to lose weight think that drinking coffee is a great substitute for eating and it suppresses their appetite, the truth is that coffee can actually make it harder to drop weight and even cause weight gain.
And that’s not just because so many people think ‘coffee’ means a double mocha frapuccino!
One reason is that coffee increases certain stress hormones, called catecholamines, which in turn create more cortisol in your body and increase your insulin levels. All that insulin can make you feel pretty crappy because it increases inflammation, but even worse in reduces your sensitivity to insulin which makes it difficult for your cells to respond to and process blood sugar.
When combined with poor eating habits, or a diet that contains a lot of so-called ‘healthy’ sugars like fructose, this can lead to a condition called insulin resistance which is associated with obesity, the inability to easily lose weight, and the propensity to hold onto fat.
I already knew that coffee was dehydrating and could make me more anxious, but I had no idea it actually might be affecting my blood sugar and making my food and sugar cravings worse. (Although I did know that the afternoon cappuccino was even better accompanied by a cookie – I just thought that was solely an emotional craving.)
Coffee has also been associated with increased risk of heart disease and with lowered serotonin levels.
Although there’s definitely some evidence that coffee (and caffeine in general) can have some beneficial effects on the body, my gut tells me that anything that causes such a level of physical and emotional addiction is doing me more harm than good. But of course that’s a personal call for everyone.
Ultimately, I’d love to be able to enjoy the very occasional cup on special occasions. And I know some people have no problem enjoying coffee that way. But for me it might be too much of a slippery slope.
There are some great alternatives that I’ve been enjoying almost as much as that as that cappuccino, some of these are caffeinated and some not.
Honestly, if I factor in how much better I feel overall, I’d have to say I enjoy them MORE than coffee.
If you suspect that you too might feel better if you cut back or eliminated coffee…. But, you’re cringing at the very idea of giving up your caffeinated pick-me-up—know that there IS hope. In my personal experimentation I’ve found that it’s not necessarily the caffeine that causes the problems.
In the next few articles, I’ll tell you about some of my new favorite beverages along with list of their pros and cons. I’ll also share some tips on weaning yourself off of coffee.
Sarah Grace Powers is a Holistic Life Coach and the creator of The Ageless Body Blueprint. She works with women over 40 who want to embrace ageless living and who are ready to release the weight—physical or emotional— that holds them back from achieving their dreams and making their impact in the world. She is a certified herbalist and certified life coach with decades of experience. Download her free report: Five Surprising Mistakes That Sabotage Your Weight Loss Efforts When You’re Over 45.
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Confluence Daily is your daily news source for women in the know.