8 October 10 Caffeine's Effect on Hunger: Suppressant or StimulantIn a recent post on MyNetDiary's Facebook page, Kathy Isacks, MPS, RD, asked if people got more hungry on days they consumed more coffee than usual. Most of the responses suggested that coffee suppressed people's appetites. So what's really behind this? Does caffeine suppress or stimulate the appetite?
As Kathy shared, the coffee is still the most significant source of caffeine, and it has been suggested that roughly 80 percent of the world's population drinks coffee every day. Americans consume about half of the world's supply of coffee - on average, drinking one thousand cups of coffee per person per year!
One cup of coffee contains between 100-250 milligrams of caffeine. Black tea (steeped for four minutes) has between 40-100 milligrams of caffeine, and green tea has about one-third the caffeine of black tea.
Caffeine is a diuretic and an alkaloid, which means it increases urination, is metabolized in the liver and excreted through the kidney. The half life of caffeine in an adult is about three to four hours.
Regardless of how you get your caffeine fix, let's look at its affect on hunger and energy levels. One study from Duke University suggests that caffeine often masks hunger and fatigue because it acts as a stimulant, providing a short-term boost in energy and alertness. However, using caffeine to compensate for poor sleeping and eating habits have long-term negative affects.
So what does this have to do with hunger? Consuming excessive amounts of caffeine (250-700 mg.) during the day can lead to anxiety, hypertension, insomnia and nervousness - all things that may trigger stress-related emotional eating. Why? Because excessive caffeine intake overstimulates the central nervous system, and the body responds by causing the adrenal glands to produce cortisol, which tells the body to increase its energy stores by consuming calories.
Additionally, caffeine may also increase hunger cravings because it stimulates insulin secretion, which reduces serum glucose (i.e. blood sugar), thus leading to increased increased hunger.
As always, it is up to you to weigh out your best options. Obviously, using caffeine to mask deficiencies in sleep or poor eating habits can't be productive over the long-term, but a cup of tea or coffee may give you that extra boost you need to get out the door (and perhaps to the gym!). Have questions or comments about this post? Please feel free to comment on MyNetDiary's Community Forum or Facebook page – We would love to hear from you. And consider visiting our new Pinterest page!
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