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ERSOY: The most popular beverage (part 2)

Did you know that legendary boxer Mike Tyson never had a cup of coffee in his life? Don’t worry, I’m not suggesting to totally stop drinking coffee. However, it would be good to know and understand some health consequences that coffee may lead to, and as always make your own decision.

As I mentioned in my previous column, coffee can be addictive and harmful for some people. Caffeine begins to work as soon as 10 minutes after consumption and has a half-life of about three to five hours, which means that after that time half of the caffeine has been metabolized by the liver.

Caffeine’s effectiveness and how long it stays in the system varies greatly among individuals, but typically takes about 24 hours to be completely eliminated from the body.

On the other hand, used at correct time and dose it can be helpful. For example, I am a slow metabolizer, which means that because of my genetic profile I tend to digest coffee very slowly. This can cause sleep disturbance, irritability and tiredness especially if I consume more than one cup.

So if you consume two cups of coffee or other caffeinated beverages and your focus and performance actually declines, then probably you are a slow metabolizer too. Some people show different side effects, such as being able to sleep immediately after coffee, which is also a sign that you are a slow metabolizer. Confusing, isn’t it?

Reasons why sometimes drinking coffee can make you feel sleepy include caffeine blocking the adenosine receptors that promote sleep, dehydration that coffee can cause, sugar crashes particularly if the coffee is sweetened, contamination from mycotoxins, stress from caffeine stimulation and symptoms from caffeine withdrawal.

To counteract this sleepy feeling, consider moderating your caffeine intake and ensure you stay hydrated. Avoid adding sugar to your coffee, of course try to manage stress levels, and if you’re planning to reduce caffeine consumption then do so gradually to lessen the withdrawal effects.

Of course, there is never only a single reason for side effects. Over time, regular consumption of caffeine can lead to increased tolerance which means that the stimulant effects of caffeine diminish as the body becomes more accustomed to it.

Then, caffeine will have a less pronounced effect on alertness. But genetic differences can also affect how quickly a person metabolizes caffeine, and those with faster caffeine metabolism can drink coffee and experience diminished effects more quickly than those who metabolize it slowly.

Thus, fast metabolizers may not feel the stimulating effects as intensely or for as long, allowing them to sleep soon after consuming caffeine. The sensitivity to caffeine also varies greatly among individuals. Those with low sensitivity might not experience the same wakefulness or alertness that others do, making it easier for them to sleep after consumption.

The body’s internal clock can influence how caffeine affects us too. For some, consuming caffeine close to their normal bedtime might not disrupt their sleep pattern significantly, especially if they are used to consuming caffeine at that time.

In some cases, stimulants like caffeine can have a paradoxical calming effect, particularly in individuals with ADHD or other neurological conditions where stimulants help to manage hyperactivity and promote focus. This can actually then make falling asleep easier.

Recognizing a coffee addiction, or more specifically a caffeine dependency, involves noticing the physical and psychological signs that suggest you might be overly reliant on caffeine.

If you find yourself consuming increasing amounts of coffee to feel its effects, this might be a sign of building tolerance which in turn is a sign of addiction. If you rely on coffee to perform daily tasks and feel unable to function without it, it could indicate dependency.

One of the clearest signs of caffeine addiction is the presence of withdrawal symptoms when you don’t consume it.

Common symptoms include headache, fatigue, irritability, depressed mood and difficulty concentrating. Experiencing strong desires or cravings for coffee can be another sign of dependency and often going over the limit of what you planned to drink in terms of coffee can indicate a lack of control over its use.

If this sounds like it could apply to you then as an experiment try going without it for a little while, even just waiting a few extra hours at the start of your day before drinking your first cup and see how you feel. You may be surprised.

In part 3 of this series, I will talk about some practical applications if you wish to quit or reduce your coffee intake, as well as possible plant toxicity.


Balance Coffee. “Coffee Consumption Statistics (Simple Stats For Journalists)”.

Food and Beverage Insider. “Coffee consumption hits record high in US”. https:// high-in-us

NCA. “NCA releases Atlas of American Coffee “. nca-releases-atlas-of-american-coffee

Alcohol and Drug Foundation. “What is caffeine?”. caffeine/

Kids Health. “Caffeine”.

European Food Safety Authority. “Scientific Opinion on the safety of caffeine”. https://

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. “Caffeine and bone loss in healthy postmenopausal women”. abstract

AmeriSleep. “Six Reasons Coffee Can Make You Sleepy”. coffee-makes-me-sleepy/


Ayda Ersoy is a nutritionist (Dip.C.N., Dip.S.N.); master trainer (CPT ACE, NCSF, CanfitPro); registered yoga teacher; founder, Health Angel Nutrition, Fitness and Wellness; and founder, SMS (Stability, Mobility Strength) Intuitive Training System.
Source: The Garden Island

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