Give Up Coffee? Why Should I Stop Drinking Coffee?

My Coffee Addiction Give up coffee? Who, me? Why should I stop drinking coffee when I like the taste of coffee? Can someone really be addicted to caffeine in coffee? Maybe, maybe not, depending on which research studies and health experts you believe. Almost every morning I enjoy two or three cups of home-brewed coffee to start my day, and it’s not uncommon for me to have two more cups of coffee at night while writing or watching television, especially on cold winter nights.

If drinking a freshly brewed cup of coffee or two first thing in the morning doesn’t give you a jolt of energy to get your day started, reading the “evidence” about how caffeine is addictive and all the reasons why you or I should stop drinking coffee will be enough to give you jitters that last all day long. If the amount of coffee and tea I drink on a daily basis makes me a caffeine addict, then coffee addiction is an addiction I’m content to accept being what it is.

Are you a caffeine addict? Are you one of millions of Americans who kick-start their day getting a Starbucks coffee caffeine fix one or more times a day? I haven’t been to a Starbucks coffee shop in years because, as you know, you can make coffee at home and it’s a lot cheaper than buying coffee at 7-11 or Starbucks. I’m not even sure how much a cup of coffee at Starbucks costs these days, but I can think of many other more important things to do with my money than spending it on an expensive Starbucks latte or espresso.

Why Give Up Coffee or Caffeine?

Reading health-related articles that talk about the need for coffee drinkers to understand the effects caffeine has on a person’s body and advice to stop drinking coffee completely is enough to give me a headache, and I’m not referring to the kind of caffeine addiction commonly referred to as caffeine intoxication that can lead to death. Death caused by drinking coffee? Seems that way, especially if you are prone to drinking a lot of coffee in rapid succession, consuming too much caffeine and/or taking caffeine pills that may lead to an overdose of caffeine which can be lethal in extreme cases.

Researchers say caffeine intoxication or “caffeine overdose” can lead to a condition called caffeinism, bringing about a variety of physical and mental conditions that include nervousness, irritability, anxiety, insomnia, muscle twitching and heart palpitations, and that’s just for starters. Overdosing on caffeine or coffee kind of reminds me of hot dog eating contests, where contestants cram as many hot dogs down their gullet as humanly possible without killing themselves or becoming sick to their stomach, but who would drink 80-100 cups of coffee that quickly?!

There are just as many articles talking about the health benefits of coffee, tea and sodas etc (saying the caffeine content found in many foods and drinks we choose to consume are good for us) as there are “caffeine addiction” articles telling people to quit caffeine once and for all, including a large number of reported reasons why caffeine is bad for you.

Is caffeine bad for you or is caffeine good for you? People who consume caffeine on a regular basis, but say they are not addicted to caffeine and don’t experience caffeine withdrawal symptoms, will inevitably be told they are fooling themselves about their caffeine addiction because they have supposedly built up a tolerance to caffeine which can still be dangerous to your health.

Common Sources of Caffeine

Included amongst the most common sources of caffeine are coffee, tea, cocoa beans, chocolate, soft drinks and energy drinks. Caffeine is also present in some over-the-counter pain relievers, cold medications, chocolate pudding, coffee flavored yogurt and diet pills, just to name a few. Coffee drinkers who want to give up caffeine by switching to decaf should know that decaffeinated coffee isn’t completely free of caffeine either.

Some articles recommend that people wanting to live a longer life by incorporating a healthy lifestyle into their daily routine should stop drinking coffee cold turkey, only to be countered by other articles talking about the harmful effects of quitting cold turkey. Quitting coffee cold turkey is said to bring about some nasty side effects and withdrawal symptoms including headaches, fatigue, anxiety, irritability, depressed mood and difficulty concentrating.

Hello? Why can’t the so-called health experts simply make up their minds and provide solid evidence of their findings for us all to make an informed choice of our own, instead of being so contradictory and all over the map? There are a lot of myths associated with caffeine that even health experts can’t seem to agree on, and some of the so-called facts about caffeine and what happens inside your body when you consume too much caffeine borders on the ridiculous.

Just for fun, I took an online quiz to find out if I am addicted to coffee and the results of the silly test came back as I expected. I am not a coffee addict, nor do I experience any of the so-called withdrawal symptoms reported by those who claim to be caffeine addicts and are now trying to quit. On days where I don’t drink coffee or consume caffeinated drinks at all, I don’t get headaches or any other withdrawal symptoms others have said they experience.

Research studies and reports by doctors and scientists about the effects of coffee drinking and caffeine on the body can’t seem to come to any real decisive conclusion, so if you are trying to decide if you are a coffee addict or feel you should quit drinking coffee, gradually cutting back on caffeine is apparently the best way to quit caffeine.

Perhaps it would be too much to ask, but it would be nice if health experts would finally get their facts straight about caffeine consumption and what effect the various sources of caffeine in food and carbonated caffeine drinks actually has on consumers once and for all. Until there are solid reasons to stop drinking coffee entirely, I’m going to continue defending my coffee habit and keep on enjoying my coffee in moderation, like right now.

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20 Responses to “Give Up Coffee? Why Should I Stop Drinking Coffee?”

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  1. I LOVE coffee too! I think it’s very beneficial to health of mind and heart. I usually drink 1 or 2 cups in the morning and occasionally a decaf in the afternoon. I would love to be able to drink coffee in the evening too, as you do, but I would be too jittery to sleep. And I soooo needs my sleep! :)

    I do start to get headaches if I haven’t had my cup by 10:00 a.m. so that’s how I’m addicted.

    I remember when I was pregnant I was told that peanuts have caffeine. You ever hear that?

    • Lin says:

      Hi Jannie,

      Once in awhile we’ll accidentally buy decaf coffee but we end up mixing it with “the real thing” haha! I have heard that pregnant women are told not to have caffeine at all but I’m not real sure as to the reasons why. I haven’t heard of peanuts having caffeine either, but I do love peanuts and cashews and pecans and…. especially around the holidays. Since I don’t get the jitters or have difficulty falling asleep after drinking coffee at night, I suppose I’ve built up such a tolerance for caffeine that it just doesn’t affect me at all.

  2. Lol. I love my coffee and have a list on twitter for coffee lovers :). Actually the post I did this morning on conscious choice relates to your article very well.

    Research is a funny topic. One year you hear chocolate is good for you, next year its bad. One year Beer is bad, the next it will help you live long.

    Goodness me, its too funny

    • Lin says:

      haha Jon,

      I know what you mean about all the various research data that comes out telling us something is good for you and then studies come out saying it’s bad for you. What a conflicting mess! Not too long ago I read some information about how eating chocolate is bad for you, and then found many articles talking about the benefits of eating chocolate! Don’t be messing with my chocolate addiction! :)

  3. Hi Lin,
    Great post. As for me, I’ll give up my coffee the day they put me in the ground… :)
    I can’t imagine life without coffee.
    I don’t know if it’s “bad” for you, or “good” for you. I just know that the key, like with so many things in life, is moderation!
    ~ Steve, addicted to coffee and proud of it. :D

    • Lin says:

      Hey Steve! I’m not giving up my coffee for anything or anybody! I’m having a cup of coffee right now as a matter of fact! Good to the last drop! Ha!

  4. Rudy says:

    Strangely enough, caffeine gives me the jitters and a headache. Maybe that’s a good thing. ;-)
    .-= Rudy´s last blog ..Tintin is Coming to the Big Screen in 2011 =-.

    • Lin says:

      Really Rudy? Hmm, I must be one of the lucky ones who is so “addicted” to coffee that I’ve become tolerant to its effects. Yeah Me! :)

  5. Deborah says:

    Hi Lin,
    I have to admit I do love my coffee and I’m probably addicted. I will get a headache sometime during the day if I haven’t had any. I can drink it at night if I feel like it and it doesn’t keep me from sleeping. So, like you I probably have built up a tolerance for it.

    Was the test you took to see if you were addicted or not on the net? If so, would you mind sharing?

    Great article by the way!

    • Lin says:

      Hi Deborah,

      Yeah, the quiz I took is online but I’ll have to try and see if I can find it again. I think I found by searching for “coffee addiction quiz” or something like that. I’ll see if I can find it again and send the link to you on Facebook.

  6. Janet Fox says:

    What quiz did u take Lin? Pls share the link here so that I can measure my coffee meter ;)

    I love coffee but I can clearly say that I am not an addict because I can go without it for days on the run. But yeah.. there was a time.. probably when I was studying for my graduation or something when I used to have 2-3 cups of coffee at night to stay awake n study. I had planned to give up the habit once the examinations were over but it so happened that the nights after I had these severe coffee pangs. I had to work a lot to get over the habit!!

    • Lin says:

      Janet, I’ve been trying to find the quiz I took but I haven’t found it yet. I thought I found searching for coffee addiction quiz but now I’m not sure. I’ll check searching for caffeine addiction quiz and see if I find the same quiz or not. I should have bookmarked it. I can go for days without drinking coffee or sodas or iced tea etc and not feel any adverse effects at all.

  7. Todd Morris says:

    Hi Lin,

    I’m not a big fan of coffee, but I’m definitely a caffeine addict. When I’m at home, I really do get a headache if I don’t get my Diet Mt. Dew. Unfortunately, they don’t have it here in Iraq, so I’ve been having to survive on Diet Pepsi, and little 8oz cans of sugar free Rips It.

    I’m sure all the caffeine probably isn’t good for me. But, I don’t smoke, I rarely drink, and I’m sure I exercise more than most people my age (lol, even though I’m forced). So, I figure if too many diet Mt. Dews is my major vice, I’m probably not doing too bad in the big scheme of things.

    Nice to chat with you … hope to catch up again soon.

    • Lin says:

      Hi Todd,

      Mountain Dew is a drink I never acquired a taste for, and that includes Dr. Pepper and various other sodas. My caffeine “poison” so to speak is limited to coffee, iced tea (rarely hot tea) and coke. Coca Cola to be exact, not the other kind of addiction. No Pepsi for me either, diet or otherwise. I’ve never heard of Rips It, what is that? Glad to hear you’re doing alright over there, but keep watching your back.

  8. Rob O. says:

    Caffeine in the mornings tends to make my stomach a little queasy and give me jitters but I really like the warmth & taste of coffee. So several years ago, I switched over to decaf coffee. I transitioned us by mixing the caffeinated & decaf coffee in increasing proportions. I found that if you buy better-quality coffee, the taste difference with decaf is negligible. Seriously, my wife didn’t even know that I had transitioned us over to decaf!

    We splurged on a Cuisinart Grind & Brew last Christmas, so I only ever buy whole beans. I’ve tried a few varieties, but really like the bolder versions offered by Starbucks and Joffrey’s Coffee & Tea Company.

    • Lin says:

      Hi Rob,

      I can definitely see some advantages to at least mixing decaf coffee with the “real thang”, especially for people who have problems with caffeine. I can’t say that I’ve ever noticed a difference in taste between decaf coffee and caffeinated coffee. We used to have a Bunn coffee maker until the poor ol soul died on us a year or so ago, and it sure is great having a pot of hot brewed coffee ready and waiting in two minutes flat.

      We’re holding off for right now on splurging to get another Bunn coffee maker, but we’ll likely get one sometime next year, but the mega cheap coffee maker we’re using right now is at least getting the job done. Slowly but surely.

  9. Bobby Clark says:

    Aspirin is a good example of what some say is good and others say is bad. Research has shown tht coffee can be good for you, but as is always the case in moderation. Let’s have another cup.

  10. Amanda says:

    HI this is a nice article I don’t agree with some of this article about you will live a much longer life If you stop drinking coffee. My grandmother had more than a few cups of coffee ever day of her life tell she got sick and died of 101 of old age. So Please keep drinking the coffee for its antioxidants. The coffee also makes you look young.

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