(www.BlackDoctor.org) -- Did you know that caffeine is the world’s most widely used drug and it is consumed by 80% of African Americans everyday? A cup of coffee or tea or a can of cola in the morning gives us that extra jolt of energy we need to jumpstart our day. If you thinking “I don’t drink coffee, tea or cola,” then maybe you get your boost from sweet snacks like chocolate.
When taken in moderation, caffeine is considered safe for the average healthy person. While caffeine certainly has its benefits, some of them have been taken way out of context. Take a look at these commonly held beliefs and find out if they are facts or myths.
Belief: Caffeine will help me burn fat.
Fact: Caffeine has the ability to temporarily speed up metabolism, breaking down fat and freeing fatty acids. This breakdown is only significantly measurable when a small to moderate amount of caffeine is consumed right before a workout. It is recommended that consumption of caffeine is limited to 300mg per day. That’s equivalent to two to three eight-ounce cups of coffee.
Belief: Caffeine will make me think sharper and make me more productive throughout the day.
Fact: If you drink coffee everyday, thinking it’s going to keep you going, think again. It turns out that the people who are most productive after drinking a caffeinated beverage are those who don’t drink it on a regular basis. Those who do drink coffee on a day to day basis build up a tolerance and don’t get the buzz they’re after. If you drink coffee every other day, you’ll probably have less tolerance for it and get more of a boost.
Belief: Caffeine will improve my workouts.
Fact: A modest amount of caffeine has been shown to lower perceived exertion, making a hard workout feel easier. This applies particularly to cardiovascular workouts. If you’re gearing up for a 10K run, a cup of coffee about 30 minutes before the start of the race might give you enough of a buffer to feel better. Keep in mind that studies have shown that less is more. You don’t perform or workout better with an excessive amount of caffeine.
BDO (www.BlackDoctor.org ) is the World’s largest and most comprehensive online health resource specifically targeted to African Americans.