Coffee Fixation

Coffee Fixation

Coffee’s been around as a drink since it became popular in the coffee houses of the 17th Century. People liked it then and like it now as it gives a buzz and helps stimulate the nervous system, helping to waken us up in the morning. The active ingredients in coffee are starches, various anti-oxidants, polyphenols, caffeic and chlorogenic acids and its main compound caffeine. Caffeine gets broken down into theobromine and theophylline in the liver.

It’s caffeine that gets the researchers going. There is a lot of conflicting opinion on whether it helps with conditions like type 2 diabetes (T2D), excess cholesterol, Alzheimer’s disease, prostate enlargement and liver disease. Caffeine may be associated with a greater risk of glaucoma, iron metabolism issues, hyperactivity and behavioural problems (ADHD), migraine and insomnia.

The brown colour of the beans comes from the roasting process converting the starches into sugar, a process called caramelisation. Same thing as when you make any sugar oxidise (as in making creme caramel).

Decaffeination is done by processing companies–either water or solvent methods–and the extracted caffeine sold on to the pharmaceutical industry.

There are many foods and drugs which have very high caffeine. These include Red Bull, Irn-Bru or dark chocolate. Milk chocolate has less in content. Beecham’s Powders and many painkillers have added caffeine as they have a short term effect to increase blood sugar. The problem occurs when this initial kick fades. You then get the resultant dip and insulin reactions that bring about low or high blood sugar reactions (hypoglycaemia or insulin resistance).

You also have the problem of caffeine withdrawal when trying to reduce intake. The symptoms of withdrawal last between 12hrs and 7–10 days and include headaches, thirst, irritability, mood swings, poor concentration, insomnia and other unpleasant psychological reactions.

From an osteopathic viewpoint its best to avoid becoming addicted to any substance, food or drink. Periodically take time out from foods that you believe you are addicted or sensitive to. These are often foods that you consume regularly and perhaps too often! Doing a detox spring clean to your normal diet provides a chance for the elimination of toxins and an opportunity to lose a few pounds of unwanted weight.

All things in moderation is probably a sound bet when it comes to coffee in healthy individuals. Care should be taken to avoid in the conditions already mentioned earlier in this article, particularly if you are noticing poor energy levels, an erratic sleep cycle or depressive illnesses.