Thursday, August 18, 2011

Five Myths About Caffeine:

f you're like me, you have caffeine every single day, in one form or another. But you probably don't know much about it. For example, you probably know that chocolate has caffeine in it, but so do over 60 different plant species. But here are five myths about caffeine you SHOULDN'T believe.

Myth #1. Caffeine Sobers You Up. You probably already know this one too: You can't sober up a drunk friend with coffee. It makes them FEEL more alert, but they'd be just as dangerous behind the wheel. According to Yahoo, college kids who drink alcohol AND caffeine . . . in coffee, soda, or energy drinks . . . are actually MORE likely to cause a car crash.

Myth #2. Caffeine Is Bad for Kids. According to "The Journal of Pediatrics", the average American kid between the ages of five and seven has about 52 milligrams of caffeine per day. That's like one-and-a-half cans of soda. And kids between eight and twelve have about twice that. But according to one study, a little caffeine is fine for kids, and doesn't have any detectable effects on hyperactivity or attention span. Higher doses CAN temporarily make them over-excited, or cause sleep problems, anxiety, and irritability. But it does that to adults too.

Myth #3. Women Who Are Trying to Get Pregnant Should Avoid Caffeine. According to at least two separate studies, moderate consumption of caffeine doesn't affect your ability to get pregnant. But to play it safe, you should limit yourself to about 200 milligrams a day, which is roughly two cups.

Myth #4. Caffeine Increases Your Risk of Developing Osteoporosis, Heart Disease, and Cancer. For most adults, three cups of coffee a day won't cause health problems. But some people are more sensitive, including seniors and people with high blood pressure. There's some research that suggests caffeine slightly increases your risk of osteoporosis, but only in REALLY high amounts . . . like eight cups of coffee a day. And even that much might be fine. Caffeine also doesn't increase your risk of heart disease, raise your cholesterol, or cause irregular heartbeats. And it doesn't cause cancer either. According to an international review of 66 different studies, coffee has little or no effect on your risk of developing pancreatic cancer or kidney cancer. And a study of 59,000 women in Sweden found no connection between caffeine consumption and breast cancer. Sweden drinks more coffee per capita than any other country.

Myth #5. Caffeine Has No Health Benefits. Coffee has antioxidants that can help prevent cancer. And there's also some evidence that caffeine reduces your risk of Parkinson's disease, liver disease, and type 2 diabetes. But it's still up for debate.

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