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Caffeine – Is It Really That Good?

                                                                                                                                           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). So, is caffeine a diuretic? Is it good for your health?

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

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

Potential side effects:
wrong Diuretic effect in large doses (enhanced effects in non-habitual caffeine consumers)
poor Sleep quality (if consumed before bed)
poor Develop a tolerance (may encourage to consume more to get the desired effect)
poor More is not always better and may cause negatively affect health & performance
poor 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! good


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