Caffeine is a Catalyst

Many of the posts here are going to be nutrition-heavy with some anecdotal perspectives and illustrated metaphors. When I speak from the first perspective, take it with a grain of salt.

For the last ten years (currently in my 20s) I have maintained a relationship with coffee and occasionally energy drinks. Most people know energy drinks, for the most part, are sugar and caffeine; Coffee, however, has the benefit of being all caffeine and no sugar (until you add it). Recently, energy and nutrition-related topics started to surface in the forefront of my consciousness. What does caffeine really do?

I am not a doctor, nor am I certified to say anything that you should be taking seriously, but I like to think of caffeine like this.

Food is stored as fast or slow energy in the body. It takes energy to digest food and to be awake so both are equally important. Slow energy is used to maintain internal functions. Fast energy is used to do whatever we choose to do with it. Caffeine does not actually give us energy but instead jumpstarts the processes that activate our slow and fast energy.

The benefit is more energy now and it can even get the ol’ metabolism going. The detriments are acidity, which can cause sour stomach, acid reflux or other problems, loss of iron (because iron is needed for the caffeine to give you your own energy) and can upset heart conditions.

Iron is important and not everyone gets enough of it, so adding caffeine to the mix makes it even more difficult. It also causes dehydration unfortunately, as well as bladder and urinary tract issues.

Some ways you can keep enjoying your coffee and energy drinks without overstepping are

  • enjoying caffeine only before 4pm (or 6pm if you wake up later)
  • limiting oneself to two cups maximum (it’s harder than it sounds)
  • rehydrating before and after coffees or drinks
  • not consuming caffeine daily (ha! As if)
  • taking naps instead when possible to avoid overexertion
  • eating fruit or vegetables before or after caffeinated beverages to stay hydrated and nourished.

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