5 Surprising Things Happen After You Stop Drinking Coffee

While coffee (and the caffeine it contains) gives pleasure and health benefits to countless people, many see nothing wrong with several cups per day, which could increase health risks for some. Drinking less coffee, or just eliminating caffeine from your diet, may help improve sleep quality, reduce anxiety, and even reduce headaches, among other benefits.


Caffeine Is a Psychoactive Substance

Caffeine is the world’s most widely consumed “psychoactive substance.” It’s considered psychoactive due to its effects on alertness and our mental state, and it’s used daily by at least 85 percent of Americans.

It has addictive effects for some people, affecting the same parts of the brain as cocaine—but in different ways. Yet according to a review in the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, caffeine use doesn’t fit the profile of an addictive drug.

“Its intake does no harm to the individual or to society and its users are not compelled to consume it. Though cessation of regular use may result in symptoms such as headache and lethargy,” the review authors wrote.

Regardless, millions of people start their day with a cup of coffee and rely on it to keep them going throughout the day.

However, there are many benefits to reducing your coffee intake or giving up caffeine altogether, and it can be a great way to improve your health and well-being.

“Like any recreational drug, living without caffeine is always healthier,” Dr. Theodore Strange, chair of medicine at Staten Island University Hospital, part of Northwell Health in New York, told The Epoch Times.

1. Improved Sleep Quality

One of the most significant benefits of quitting caffeine is improved sleep.

According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, caffeine has a half-life of up to five hours. A chemical’s half-life is how long it takes a dose of it to be reduced by half in your body.

This means that if you consume about 80 milligrams of caffeine (roughly one cup of coffee), after five hours, you’ll still have 40 milligrams of caffeine in your system. It will take another five hours to reach 20 milligrams.

This means that “afternoon pick-me-up” could still be affecting you by bedtime that evening.

Eliminating caffeine from your diet means you’ll likely fall asleep more easily and stay asleep longer, which should help improve energy and productivity throughout your day.

2. Reduced Anxiety

Caffeine is a stimulant that can cause an increase in anxiety and jitteriness. Reducing intake or quitting caffeine entirely could reduce your likelihood of experiencing these symptoms to help you feel calmer and more relaxed.

research study conducted with college-age participants found caffeine intake was associated with depressive symptoms and higher levels of anxiety in these students.

A review from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) concluded that caffeine can cause anxiety symptoms in normal individuals, especially in those who have preexisting anxiety disorders. The review also found caffeine could induce psychosis in normal individuals who consume caffeine at toxic doses of over 1,200 milligrams.

3. Reduced Risk of High Blood Pressure and Other Diseases

Caffeine can have a negative impact on your health, especially when used in large amounts.

“Caffeine may cause a short but dramatic increase in your blood pressure, even if you don’t have high blood pressure,” Dr. Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, a cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic, said in a statement.

High levels of caffeine can cause cardiac issues that include heart palpitations, and even increase the risk of heart disease. Evidence strongly links high caffeine intake to headaches, due to how it can make blood vessels in the brain swell.

Strange added that a dose of 400 milligrams or less per day, or about four cups of coffee, is probably safe, but more than this can cause tachycardia, jitters, and insomnia.

“Which could have effects on one’s health, especially if someone also has heart disease or is on medications that may exacerbate effects of caffeine,” he said.

Eliminating coffee from your diet can help reduce your risk of these health problems and promote overall better health.

4. Easier to Stay Hydrated

Caffeine is a diuretic, which means that it can increase the frequency of urination and lead to dehydration.

Eliminating caffeine from your diet can help you stay better hydrated, which can have a positive impact on your overall health and well-being.

Being dehydrated can adversely affect health, and a decrease of as little as 1.5 percent of your body’s water can cause symptoms. These range from a simple headache to a life-threatening illness, like heatstroke.

5. Improved Digestion

Coffee can affect stomach acid secretions and may cause gastroesophageal reflux (GERD), commonly called heartburn.

This effect is also associated with a possible increase in digestive problems that include poor digestion, discomfort, nausea, and ulcers.

Reducing caffeine intake can improve digestion and alleviate these symptoms, leading to better overall gastrointestinal health.

People Who Shouldn’t Use Caffeine

While caffeine and coffee consumption are generally safe for most people, there are some groups of people for whom it is contraindicated or who should limit their intake.

These groups include:

1. Pregnant Women

High doses of caffeine during pregnancy have been linked to an increased risk of miscarriage, premature birth, and increased risk of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children when they reach 4 to 11 years old.

2. People With Anxiety Disorders

Caffeine can increase anxiety and jitteriness in some individuals, which can exacerbate symptoms in people with anxiety disorders.

3. People With Heart Conditions

Caffeine can cause blood pressure to spike, which may be dangerous for those living with an underlying heart condition. Research also shows that caffeine can increase the risk of atrial fibrillation (Afib).

4. People With Caffeine Sensitivity

Some people have a genetic predisposition to be more sensitive to caffeine, making them much more likely to experience adverse reactions like anxiety or insomnia when they drink even moderate amounts.

5. Children

Children are smaller and so are more sensitive to the effects of caffeine than adults.

“Caffeine-containing foods and beverages can have effects on the body and mind that interfere with every aspect of what children need to thrive,” Columbia pediatrician Dr. David Buchholz said in a statement.

He added that “there is no known safe amount” of caffeine for any child age 11 and younger.

Cutting Caffeine and Withdrawal Symptoms

Strange explained that the symptoms of caffeine withdrawal can be different for every person.

“Common symptoms include headache, fatigue, low energy, irritability, anxiety, poor concentration, depressed mood, tremors, and sleeping issues,” he said, cautioning that the symptoms of quitting caffeine abruptly can last from a few days to a few weeks.

Strange emphasized that the benefits of living without caffeine include better sleep, better focus and concentration, and improved blood pressure, “just to name a few.”

Reposted fromhttps://www.theepochtimes.com/health/5-surprising-things-happen-after-you-stop-drinking-coffee_5200318.html

Editor's Note:

In his book the “Complete Guide to Fasting,” Jason Fung, MD recommends drinking coffee with added coconut oil (medium chain triglycerides)/heavy cream (no CHO or protein) during fasting. Remarkably, caffeine stimulates autophagy (Nature 2013), while coconut oil has numerous health benefits (Dacasin 2021). 

A 2023 study (NEJM) reveals coffee is generally safe for your heart and may boost your daily step count. In their study, Marcus and his colleagues randomly assigned 100 people to either drink or not drink coffee each day for a period of two weeks. They found that drinking coffee did not result in more premature atrial contractions—the early heart beats associated with atrial fibrillation. That’s good news for people who were worried about that.

That said, a randomized controlled trial published by Zhu and colleagues in 2022, demonstrated that a moderate dosage of coffee causes acute retinal (eye) capillary perfusion and cerebral (brain) blood flow to decrease in healthy young individuals.

In a 2017 study of 19,896 participants from the Mediterranean region, researchers found that coffee not only is good for you but also shows an inverse association between coffee consumption and all-cause mortality. It began in 1999 with the purpose of discovering how a decade of coffee consumption would impact their health. According to the 2017 study

"On entering the study, participants completed a previously validated semiquantitative food frequency questionnaire to collect information on coffee consumption, lifestyle and sociodemographic characteristics, anthropometric measurements, and previous health conditions. Patients were followed-up for an average of 10 years."

In the end, there may not be a simple answer to the question of whether coffee is good or bad for you. It depends on how much you consume, and each person is different. Coffee affects each person differently. So if drinking it makes you feel bad, skip it. But if, you enjoy it in moderation, go ahead and have that latte!



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