• The Slim Habit

Be Alert to Caffeine

Okay, ask any food manufacturer why they put caffeine in their drinks and what do you think the answer will be? With a completely straight face they will tell you that it enhances flavour – which it does, but it does a lot more besides.

Probably unknowingly we are drinking more and more caffeine. It’s in colas, sports drinks, coffee and tea. Over a day it’s very easy to slide over the maximum recommended daily allowance of 400mg. Three cups of coffee a couple of sodas and you’re there.

What caffeine actually does is to increase flavour, yes, but it also gives a drink ‘an edge’, a polite way of saying it gets you on the hook. It’s a stimulant but it’s also addictive. You’ve heard of people having withdrawl symptoms when they try and cut down the number of cups of coffee they drink. Drinking too many sports drinks or colas can have the same effect. Caffeine is addictive, period. It’s also a diuretic, it dehydrates you, which is just the thing you don’t want if you’re overweight and have high blood pressure.

Where caffeine is particularly ‘dangerous’ is when it is combined with sugar. You then have a highly potent, almost irresistible combination, one that contributes to the evolutionary mismatch that is at the root cause of the obesity epidemic.