Harmful Consequences of Caffeine Addictive Foods
To much of a good thing can be harmful
Most people are fond of at least one food or product that has a stimulant effect on our bodies and can eventually become an addictive. For me it is chocolate. At one time, it was diet Coke. I see many people using energy drinks, carbonated beverages, strong tea and coffee, chocolate products, vitamin water, and breath fresheners gums or mints which can become addictive.
We know that these products can be harmful to our body, yet, we continue to consume them. The big questions is:
Why we do consume potentially addictive foods
and other products?
First, most of these foods contain the stimulant, caffeine, People have consumed products that give them an emotional high since the Dark ages. It is simply a human weakness. This emotional high is manifested clinically as central nervous system stimulation which includes a rapid heartbeat, mild sweating, dilation or constriction of the pupils of the eye, and a warm flush on the face. Other signs include a sense of greater alertness, wakefulness, concentration and energy and these signs are the real reason why we consume addictive foods.
The problem is that the ‘high’ will die down within a few hours. Then we are left feeling listless and low. This leads to a craving for that food again, to experience the high one more time. And there we are going round and round in a vicious circle.
Round and round the merry-go-round
The monkey chased the weasel
The physiology of addictions is as follows:
Addictive drugs affect the central nervous system which consists of your brain, spinal cord, and nerves. These products interfere with the way the nerve-brain stimulation process occurs. Mainly by mimicking neurochemicals that activate the nerves but not in the same way that normal neurochemicals operate. This addictive process can
1. send abnormal messages to your brain,
2. cause a release of an abnormal amount of neurochemicals,
3. prevent the normal recycling of these neurochemicals or
4. disrupt communication between nerves and the brain.
The parts of the brain affected that gives you the “high” include the basal ganglia and the prefrontal cortex. It is stimulation of the basal ganglia that gives you the pleasurable effects or “rewards” of the food or product whereas the cognitive stimulation is enhanced in the prefrontal cortex. Unfortunately for us, we have an opposing force within the brain called the extended amygdala which will short-circuit this abnormal pathway. The “high” will wane and the person may feel withdrawal symptoms. The problem is that we like the “high”; therefore, we will consume more of the product throughout the day. This yo-yo phase of nerve stimulation and depletion leads to a pattern of addiction.
What are the withdrawal symptoms people experience from these foods? Most of us who drink carbonated beverages, tea, or coffee know the number one symptom of withdrawal.
Withdrawal Symptoms of Caffeine
3. Muscle pain especially when exercising or engaging in physical activity
4. Tremors mainly of your hands
5. Poor concentration
6. Decreased energy, fatigue
9. Depressed mood
Most of us will not experience health problems with the use of caffeine products unless we consume a lot of caffeine throughout the day or you have an underlying health problem, like heart disease. Do not consume more than 400 milligrams of caffeine per day which is equivalent to four cups of coffee, ten cans of soda (be careful with Mountain Dew) and or two energy drinks. Click the link to see the article.
Symptoms Indicating You Are Consuming Too Much Caffeine
1. Heart palpitations
Often times, I see people taking medication with a soda. This can cause a mixed drug reactions especially in people who take medications for the heart, hypertension, and asthma. Mixing of these drugs with caffeine-products can be fatal.
If you want to break the habit, first pay attention to how many cups of the beverage you are consuming daily. Then try the following tips:
1. Cut down on the number of drinks per day by substituting water or decaffeinated beverages between drinks.
2. Extend the time between each cup.
3. Use a smaller cup and no refills.
4. Shorten the brew time for tea or try herbal tea.
5. Read the label on all products as some over-the-counter medicines as they may contain caffeine.