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Mythbuster 3.0 – Caffeine Edition

This month, since we’re on the topic of matcha, tea and caffeine in general let’s look at some common sayings about this chemical and how true they are.

  1. Caffeine is dehydrating: Sort of.

Caffeine itself is a mild diuretic (i.e. it makes you run to the restroom more), that’s a proven fact. However, since most of the caffeine you consume tends to be in liquid form (tea, coffee, colas), the water used to make them generally makes up for any slight dip in hydration the caffeine may cause. So while your cuppa will make you pee more, it probably won’t dehydrate you. We say probably however, because while the amounts of caffeine in a cup or two of coffee won’t cause any negative effects, having more than 3 cups may cause dehydration as the effects of caffeine are compounded. TL;DR – Caffeine can cause dehydration of your intake is too high.

  1. Coffee can stain teeth: True.

Our tooth enamel has lots of tiny ridges and cracks, and the dark pigments from caffeinated drinks like coffee, tea or sodas can become embedded in them. However, this happens over a prolonged period and is easy to avoid! Try rinsing your mouth with water after drinking such beverages, or drink through a straw. If nothing else, a quick visit to the dentist, or using DIY teeth whitening methods can also do the trick.

  1. Decaf means no caffeine: False

Decaf doesn’t mean totally caffeine free! For example, decaf coffee still contains about 20mg of caffeine. This is much less than a regular cup of coffee that tends to have about 100mg of caffeine. But still, about 5 cups of decaf would add up to a regular drink.

  1. Caffeine is bad for health: False

In fact, intake of caffeine has been linked to lowered risks of various diseases and cancers, like skin cancer, breast cancer, diabetes, Alzhimer’s, Parkinson’s, depression and many more. However, as is true of most things, moderation is key! A cup a day is no miracle cure, but will probably do no harm either.

  1. Caffeine is addictive: Sort of.

Caffeine is mildly addictive in the sense that it’s a stimulant for the nervous system that your body can learn to depend on. Due to this physical dependence, giving up high doses of caffeine can cause withdrawal symptoms like headaches and difficulty concentrating, as your body has become used to certain chemical reactions. However, there are no long term negative effects of giving it up, and the body is generally able to adapt to normal caffeine-free levels soon. This is why most experts don’t qualify caffeine as an addictive substance on the level of drugs or alcohol.

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