High doses of caffeine may have unpleasant and even dangerous side effects. Picture: Supplied
High doses of caffeine may have unpleasant and even dangerous side effects. Picture: Supplied

4 signs you’re drinking too much coffee and how you can cut down

By Lutho Pasiya Time of article published May 25, 2020

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According to the Healthline, studies have shown, coffee it safe for most people when consumed in low-to-moderate amounts. However, high doses of caffeine may have unpleasant and even dangerous side effects, and below are some indications people might be drinking too much coffee.

High doses of caffeine may have unpleasant and even dangerous side effects. Picture: Supplied

Anxiety

Caffeine is known to increase alertness. It works by blocking the effects of adenosine, a brain chemical that makes you feel tired. At the same time, it triggers the release of adrenalin, the “fight-or-flight” hormone associated with increased energy. However, at higher doses, these effects may become more pronounced, leading to anxiety and nervousness.

Insomnia

Caffeine’s ability to help people stay awake is one of its most prized qualities. On the other hand, too much caffeine can make it difficult to get enough restorative sleep. Studies have found higher caffeine intake appears to increase the amount of time it takes to fall asleep. It may also decrease total sleeping time, especially in the elderly.

High doses of caffeine may have unpleasant and even dangerous side effects. Picture: Supplied

Digestive issues

Many people find that a morning cup of coffee helps get their bowels moving. Coffee's laxative effect has been attributed to the release of gastrin, a hormone the stomach produces that speeds up activity in the colon. Decaffeinated coffee has been shown to produce a similar response. However, caffeine also seems to stimulate bowel movements by increasing peristalsis, the contractions that move food through your digestive tract.

Fatigue

Coffee, tea, and other caffeinated beverages are known to boost energy levels. However, they can also have the opposite effect by leading to rebound fatigue after the caffeine leaves your system.

High doses of caffeine may have unpleasant and even dangerous side effects. Picture: Supplied

If you find yourself in this situation and want to cut down or quit, wikiHow suggests you do the following. 

Avoid quitting all caffeine abruptly

The first step in reducing coffee consumption is understanding caffeine is habit-forming and cannot be dropped as "cold turkey". If you currently drink four cups of coffee per day, for example, make plans to gradually cut that to three, and then two, and so on. Caffeine withdrawal isn't serious, but it isn't fun either, leading to headaches, crankiness, and tiredness for one to two weeks.

Dilute your coffee with water or extra milk

An easy and gradual way to begin cutting down coffee consumption is by adding hot water to your coffee. This will allow you to drink the same number of cups per day, so you won't be subjected to the stress of a sudden change in habit. If the watered-down taste isn't any good for you, leave more room for milk or cream to get the same effect.

High doses of caffeine may have unpleasant and even dangerous side effects. Picture: Supplied

Drink something else in place of coffee

At the very least, keep a water bottle nearby so that you always have something to sip on. Oftentimes, the desire to drink coffee just comes from wanting to hold something and sip while working, a desire you can head off with any other drink. From hot teas with lower caffeine levels to fruit juices, don't just eliminate the coffee from your life – replace it.

Don't buy coffee

If you don't have beans in your house, you can't make a cup of coffee. If you don't ever walk into the cafe, you can't order a latte. One of the best ways to defeat temptation is to eliminate the opportunity to be tempted. If you stop buying coffee, or simply buy less than you normally would for the week, you will have no choice to cut back on consumption. 

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