We’re often being told to ‘drink less coffee’ and ‘cut back on the caffeine’, yet is there any real science to suggest that caffeine is detrimental to health? And should we be aiming to ditch the coffee this New Year?
It’s claimed that caffeine (found in coffee, tea, colas, hot chocolate, energy drinks and some painkillers and supplements) causes anxiety, heart palpitations and poor quality sleep. Yet at the same time we’re reading that tea and coffee can help to lower blood pressure and even reduce risk of certain cancers. So what should we believe? And how much is too much?
The advice from the Australian Food Standards Agency is that while there is no ‘acceptable daily intake limit’ increased anxiety can occur with 210mg (approximately 3 cups of instant coffee). The Sleep Foundation of Australia also advises not to drink caffeine in the evenings to ensure a good night’s sleep.
In the long term, a few studies have found beneficial effects of a moderate intake of both tea and coffee on risk of stroke, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and certain cancers - yet it’s likely that this is due to the antioxidants found in these drinks rather than the caffeine itself.
So the overarching message is, enjoy your daily brew, and no need to skip on your Joe - just avoid the creamy, sugary lattes and iced coffees that could add unnecessary ‘empty’ calories to your day.
Written by Ruth Tongue