Sugar and caffeine. Two things you likely have more than your fair share of on a regular basis. You've no doubt heard that avoiding sugary and caffeinated beverages is good for you, but do you know why? Caffeine and sugar can both affect your body in negative ways, especially if consumed in excess on a regular basis. The negative aspects of sugar are fairly well known, but caffeine tends to be more of a mystery.
What is Caffeine?
Caffeine is a naturally occurring substance, but it's also one of the most widely consumed drugs in the world. Approximately 90 percent of the world's population consumes caffeine in one form or another. The most widely used form of caffeine is beverages like coffee and sodas. Caffeine is mildly addictive and does have side effects, but it has not been linked to the development of serious medical problems at this time.
How Caffeine Affects Your Body
Caffeine acts as both a stimulant and a diuretic. Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system, which is why you feel more alert after consuming it. Caffeine promotes water loss through urination, which could lead to dehydration if you do not replace the water lost. It is recommended that you drink one glass of water for every cup of caffeinated beverage you consume to help counteract the diuretic effect.
Caffeinated sodas can cause you to have trouble sleeping, especially if you drink them close to bedtime. In addition to sleep disturbances, you may experience a faster than normal heart rate and feel anxious or jittery, and if you are stressed caffeine could intensify those feelings. These side effects are most often noticed if you drink more than you are used to, or are not used to consuming caffeine at all and are generally most intense within an hour of drinking a soda or cup of coffee.
Consuming caffeinated and sugary sodas can hike up your calorie intake for the day with just a few sips, and more so if you consume multiple sodas in a day. Limiting consumption is best, especially if you are watching what you eat. Pregnant women, or women hoping to become pregnant and individuals who should not have an increased heart rate should pay special attention to the number of caffeinated sodas they consume.
Amanda Davis began writing in 2010 with work published on various websites. Davis is a dietetic technician, registered, personal trainer and fitness instructor. She has experience working with a variety of ages, fitness levels and medical conditions. She holds a dual Bachelor of Science in exercise science and nutrition from Appalachian State University and is working toward her master's degree in public health. Davis will be a registry eligible dietitian in May 2015.