The Debate Over Caffeine

Sep 27, 2017

Artist Flash Rosenberg once commented, “I believe humans get a lot done, not because we're smart, but because we have thumbs so we can make coffee.”

There is still a lot of debate over the positives and negatives of coffee and other sources of caffeine, but research is showing that in moderation, caffeine consumption can be a good thing.

Research published in the journal Nature Neuroscience found that caffeine, whether consumed through coffee, tea, soda, or chocolate has a positive effect on our long-term memory. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 90 percent of people worldwide consume caffeine in one form or another. In the United States, 80 percent of adults consume caffeine every day. The average adult has an intake of about 200 milligrams—the same amount used in the study—or roughly one cup of strong coffee per day.

Coffee, specifically, has been the focus of several studies which linked it to reductions in Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, respiratory disease, stroke, diabetes, and infections.

However, the Mayo Clinic warns there can always be too much of a good thing. Consuming more than 400 milligrams of caffeine a day can make you jittery, cause sleep problems and interfere with some medications. They also advise that children should not consume as much caffeine as adults, as its side effects are heightened in their bodies. The FDA also warns of physical dependence on caffeine and the development of a “tolerance” that can lead people to consuming more and more caffeine to get the good effects and reduce the symptoms of withdrawal.

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