In recent news, it was reported that scientists are looking into caffeine content in various snacks and drinks. This is because caffeine is a known stimulant, and there is little known about whether or not there actually are any dangers. Although it has long been believed that caffeine was bad for you, it seems that these tests were actually flawed. On the other hand, people will quite readily admit to being a coffee addict, so is there actually some truth in this idea? Is coffee actually a drug, but one that is socially acceptable, like alcohol?
Is Coffee a Drug?
It isn’t entirely clear whether people are actually addicted to caffeine, or whether they are addicted to the idea of it. There is something comforting about the smell and sound of coffee being brewed, particularly early on the morning. It is, for many people, a true ritual and they feel they cannot do without. However, scientists have done tests on people who claim to be addicted to coffee, and found that only those who drank more than two cups a day would experience anything that could be seen as a withdrawal symptoms (headaches and irritability), and these would be quite minor and last only a day or so. As such, drinking coffee does not seem to be a problem.
One the other hand, there is also a claim that caffeine is a psychoactive drug, and if this is true, then it would be the most popular in the world today. Indeed, 90% of adults around the globe “use” caffeine every day. Taking that view, coffee abuse could be a problem of global proportions.
It seems, however, that there is no such thing as a real caffeine addiction. What there is, however, is a cumulative impact. We know that drinking as much as six cups of coffee a day will not have any adverse health effects. However, we forget that there are many other products we consume that have high levels of caffeine. It is found in various drinks and snacks, and this is causing a cumulative impact, which means we do consume far more than we should. And this, of course, could be dangerous, albeit not addictive.
The dangers are very real, however. Indeed, between 2010 and 2011, there was a doubling of people who were admitted to A&E after consuming energy drinks. There have also been a number of cases of caffeine toxicity, which is fatal. This has led scientists to believe that the studies into coffee and caffeine in particular have actually been wrong once again, and that it is actually addictive.
Indeed, there are various coffee benefits as well, and many medical experts suggest that these actually outweigh the dangers. For instance, the benefits of drinking coffee include that it can can lower the chance of certain types of cancer, as well as the risk of type 2 diabetes.
There is no answer – yet – as to what is a safe level of caffeine consumption. However, we know that there is too much caffeine in our world, just as there is too much fat, salt and sugar. The problem is that it is often found in products where we wouldn’t expect it. This is where problems can occur, including high blood pressure, insomnia and indigestion. The reality is that caffeine is a type of drug, which means we can fall in the trap of abusing coffee, and we need to be very weary of this.