Nutrition Advent Calendar - Day 20

Caffeine - Is it really that good?

Tea and coffee are the most widely consumed drinks across the world after water. People typically drink 4-6 cups per day, and may consider it essential to get them through the day...thanks to caffeine!

Caffeine offers many health benefits and is regularly used in sport to enhance performance. However caffeine has always been perceived to cause a diuretic effect (dehydration). What's the score?

Health benefits:
 No evidence of adverse health issues of moderate caffeine consumption in healthy populations
 Risk of Type 2 diabetes
 Risk of cardiovascular disease
 Risk of developing dementia/Alzheimer's disease
 Short-term mood & well-being
 Weight management

Performance benefits:
 Short-term cognitive function (concentration, reaction times)
 Endurance performance
 High intensity performance
 Skill & accuracy 
 Muscular endurance
 Perception of pain

Potential side effects:
 Diuretic effect in large doses (enhanced effects in non-habitual caffeine consumers)
 Sleep quality (if consumed before bed)
 Develop a tolerance (may encourage to consume more to get the desired effect)
 More is not always better and may cause negatively affect health & performance
 Caffeine content can vary drastically between drinks & retailers

Take Home Messages:
- If you regularly drink caffeinated drinks (4-6 coffees per day) you should keep drinking it! This does not mean you should start drinking coffee regularly if you don't already.
- Use coffee or a caffeine drink/supplement (30-60 mins) before training to enhance performance.
- Test in training before competition and assess dosage to meet your needs/tolerance (1-3mg/kg/body weight)
- Avoid consuming coffee late at night to promote sleep quality
- Caffeine is not a diuretic in small doses.
- Yes...it really is THAT GOOD! 

For more info on caffeine check out my other blog about it here:
http://webber-nutrition.co.uk/blog/caffeine-ergogenic-or-diuretic

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