Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Does Homer Know About These?

Mmmm ... Sprinkles!Want a morning pick-up but don't like the taste of coffee? How about a yummy doughnut, instead?

Doctor Robert Bohannon, a molecular scientist in Durham, North Carolina, has come up with a way to add caffeine to baked goods. Each doughnut is equivalent to 2 cups of coffee, and it won't have that bitter caffeine taste. [link]

This could be the next big thing at doughnut shops. As if the sugar and other carbohydrates in doughnuts wasn't enough. But, mmmm mmmm, who doesn't love a good doughnut? I like hitting Krispy Kreme when their 'Hot n Fresh' sign is lit up. Good thing the nearest Krispy Kreme is 5 miles away from me.

When, not if, this becomes available to purchase, people are going to still buy their coffee and these new Buzz Donuts (as they may be called). People are going to be walking out of Starbucks, sipping their lattes and munching a caffeine croissant, getting that little buzz going, trying to stave off tiredness that could be alleviated if they would just get more sleep. Of course, their caffeine consumption is so high they can't sleep. So they need more caffeine because they are tired all the time. Which means they still can't sleep, so get more tired and need more caffeine.

I know, not everyone is that bad. But, I suspect more people are addicted to caffeine than you think.

Caffeine is a psychoactive substance. That means it "acts primarily upon the central nervous system where it alters brain function, resulting in temporary changes in perception, mood, consciousness, and behavior." [cite]

This is your brain. This is your brain on caffeine. Any questions?Over the short term, too much caffeine, being a diuretic, will make you have to pee more. You could get jumpy and nervous, jittery with a rapid heart beat. It has a pretty wild effect on spiders, too. Imagine the web is your work load for the day, and you're hopped up on caffeine. You know you got people like that in the office. now you can nickname them "caffeine spiders". ~.^ [cite]

High usage over a period of time can have serious effects on your health' including insomnia, headaches, stomach ulcers, acid reflux, increased insulin resistance (semi-rare), shaking, twitching, and in extreme rare cases, death. [cite]

Caffeine is also addictive, and withdrawal is pretty nasty. Headaches, nausea, feelings of fatigue and drowsiness all accompany caffeine withdrawal. You call might call it a caffeine crash. Usually, a little hair of the dog that bit you will stave it off. Unfortunately that means more caffeine use, a bigger crash later, and increased risks of stronger, or more severe, problems later.

In moderation, caffeine is not that bad for you. Not when you put in the light of other lifestyle choices we make daily; exercise (or lack thereof), diet (more McDonalds anyone?), even driving can be hazardous.

When I was younger, I would drink the equivalent of 4 liters of regular soda per day. This went on for several years. Along with the typical teenager's diet, and a sharp decrease in physical activity, I began to have health issues in my early 20's.

I severely slashed my caffeine intake after kidney stones. I stopped drinking caffeinated sodas as much (usually only when out to eat, and if caffeine-free stuff is not available .. except Sprite ... hate Sprite), and started drinking more water. I never was a coffee drinker, so that helps. Within a week I seemed to have more energy and less fatigue late in the day. My sleep improved, lasting longer and going deeper. My sleep apnea is under control; I rarely wake up gasping any longer. And, best of all, it seemed to have a positive effect on my blood sugar, thus helping to control my diabetes. (I also drink diet sodas now, to help that even more).

I think caffeine is great for occasional pick-me-ups, but a constant, prolonged use is not something I want to go back to.

Now, those doughnuts will have one really great effect ... all the cops will be much more alert!


Hawkman said...

Caffeine also messes with my RLS (restless leg syndrome). The trouble is that I looooooooooove coffee. I drink de-caf, but there is still some caffeine in it. What to do?

I've experienced all of the side affects you mention in your post...you are so right on...

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