Seven myths about caffeine

Source: shine.yahoo.com

by Melissa Breyer

For many of us, a morning without coffee or tea is a like the proverbial day without sunshine. For me, much of it is about the ritual. OK, who am I kidding? It’s about the caffeine. Mmm, I love caffeine — that naturally occurring alkaloid found in the leaves, seeds, and fruits of more than 63 plant species worldwide. But at what risk do I indulge in my morning coffee and afternoon espresso?

Caffeine is most famous for its role as a stimulant and its ability to delay fatigue. I clearly get a boost of energy and clarity, as had been scientifically proven. But caffeine has also acquired a bad-boy reputation — an unfair one, perhaps? Extensive studies into its safety show that there are still many misconceptions about caffeine. Allow me to tackle some of the myths surrounding my beloved alkaloid.

Continue sipping…

Coffee addiction may be grounded in genes

Genetics may help determine how much caffeine one craves, new research indicates, with differences in two specific genes driving people to consume more — or less — of the world’s most popular stimulant.

New research suggests that individuals who carry a so-called “high-consumption” variation of either gene appear to drink more coffee, relative to those who carry a “low-consumption” variant.

“It’s really an incredible story,” said study co-author Dr. Neil Caporaso, branch chief of genetic epidemiology at the National Cancer Institute. “People don’t really suspect it, but genetics plays a big role in a lot of behaviors, such as smoking and alcohol consumption. And now it turns out that it has a part in how much caffeine we drink.”

The two genes in question are labeled CYP1A2 and AHR. The former has previously been linked to the process by which caffeine is metabolized, while AHR regulates the activity of CYP1A2.

Continue sipping…

Coffee Reads of the Week – less is more

Some of the articles I enjoyed reading over the net are worth sharing, too. Check out my weekly posts via the Coffee Reads series. I’ve got my google reader to back me up so do also check out my shared reads. Enjoy!

health & fitness: five natural ways to beat the winter blues by Michelle Schoffo Cook
Get outside. Change your bulbs. Take off the sunglasses. Exercise regularly. Eat your vitamins.

finance: downsize your personal stuff, spending habits by Lilia Borlongan-Alvarez
If there’s any “downsizing” or “rightsizing” needed in these hard times, it is not in the workplace, but in people’s lifestyles, and their consumption habits. Consider, for example, how some people have managed to stuff their homes with things they can do without and have bought unnecessary things with money they don’t have, that is, via credit card. Much of a country’s economy is fueled by consumer spending, but American-style consumerism has deluded people into believing that acquisition of material goods brings happiness.

personal: 30 smart time management tips and tricks by Karen Burns
Yes, yes, yes, you are very busy. That’s why you meet deadlines at the last minute. Or after. That’s why you cruise into meetings 15 minutes late. It’s why you forget details or schedule two tasks for the same time or have 500 unanswered emails in your inbox. It’s why you can never take a vacation, or even a full weekend off. Or is it? Maybe poor time management is simply a bad habit. Maybe you can learn to organize and control your time better. Because let’s face it, time management is really self management.

finance: but will it make you happy? by Stephanie Rosenbloom
Current research suggests that, unlike consumption of material goods, spending on leisure and services typically strengthens social bonds, which in turn helps amplify happiness.

health & fitness: how to burn fat with the foods you eat by Andrew Bennett
Eating the right foods at the right time to match your exercise habits and weight-management goals is the most effective way to burn fat. Some foods have potent, natural fat-burning effects on the body, whereas others decrease fat burning and promote body-fat storage. Learning how to time your nutrition with fat-burning foods can help you get lean fast and maintain a healthy percentage of body fat.

health & fitness: how to stop drinking coffee and lose weight by Rachel Nelson
You rely on your morning coffee drink in order to feel alert and ready to face the day. However, some coffees–such as a vanilla bean frappucino with whipped cream–can contain 500 calories, according to Natural News. These coffee drinks come with an unintended consequence–extra pounds gained. Trying to quit drinking coffee cold turkey may be difficult because caffeine can be addictive. In order to reduce your caffeine addiction and lose weight at the same time, take steps to reduce your caffeine consumption until you have given up caffeine entirely.

health & fitness: 5 simple tricks to looking younger by Liz Brody
Age can be so annoying. If birthdays were recyclable, we’d all be environmentalists. But is it worth going under the knife to fake away a few years? (The recent uptick in celebs on plastic-surgery benders is a little unnerving.) Don’t worry: These six switches will make you look younger without a lot of drama.

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The Chemistry of Great Coffee

Coffee that’s not rot gut is called specialty coffee in the industry, which means a higher grade of bean is used and the roasting and brewing is treated as a “craft.”

Source: LiveScience.com

High-end coffee is suddenly seeping into fast-food restaurants faster than you can ask for fries with that.

McDonald’s started offering organic coffee roasted by Green Mountain Coffee Roasters at 650 locations in New England and Albany, New York, this month. Burger King now lets you order coffee brewed one cup at a time, so you avoid that burnt taste.

The fast food chains are acknowledging America’s love affair with quality java.

Coffee that’s not rot gut is called specialty coffee in the industry, which means a higher grade of bean is used and the roasting and brewing is treated as a “craft.”

In 2004, 16 percent of U.S. adults drank specialty coffee daily, according to the Specialty Coffee Association of America. This slice of the market, which involves cafes, kiosks, coffee carts and retail roasters, at a total of 17,400 locations, amounted to $8.96 billion by the end of 2003.

The United States imports and consumes more coffee than any other country.

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Can Caffeine Kill You?

Source: Life’sLittleMysteries.com

Absolutely—but don’t lock up your coffee pot just yet.

Experts say you’d have to drink 80 to 100 cups of coffee in quick succession, which equals about 6 gallons (23 liters) of coffee, or 10 to 13 grams of pure caffeine. And even if you could drink that much coffee, the excessive amount of water trapped in your body would kill you first by diluting essential nutrients in your bloodstream.

In spite of the low likelihood of coffee sending you to your grave abruptly, there have been popular close calls. While it takes a lot to kill, it can take significantly less to cause ill effects, and long-term effects of caffeine remain somewhat unclear.

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