There’s still loads of disagreement over whether or not caffeinated drinks, such as tea and coffee are good or bad for you.  It can be very confusing to read in the media one minute that coffee’s so bad for you that everyone should ditch it immediately. Then the next thing it’s practically a superfood – you just don’t know what to think. On the one hand, it can make you more alert, productive and motivated, or, for some, it can make them anxious, jittery and lack concentration.  And we know all about how important our mental state is for our gut health.  So, is caffeine bad for you?  What’s the verdict?


Is caffeine bad for you?  Let’s start with the good part.


Here are six reasons caffeine can be good for you –


1 – Coffee seems to promote longevity.  Several studies have found that drinking coffee is linked to a lower risk of death. This is what the science says, so we can’t argue with it!

2 – Coffee also contains several important micronutrients such as potassium, manganese, magnesium and niacin.

3- It’s very rich in antioxidants called polyphenols.  In fact, a lot of the time tea and coffee can be the main source of polyphenols and antioxidants in someone’s diet.  Although ideally we want to be obtaining these through our fruit and veg intake and not simply relying on coffee!

4- Coffee and tea seem to protect against diabetes, heart disease and depression.  They also increase concentration and improve physical performance – fantastic!

5 – They also protect against cirrhosis of the liver.

6 – Caffeine is also thought to promote weight loss by boosting metabolism BUT I’m not so convinced it does (sorry!!) …. will come to that in a minute.


Is caffeine bad for you?  Here’s why it might be –


1 – It’s addictive.  In some people, very addictive.  Sometimes people can have a really tough time trying to come off it – they get headaches, fatigue, digestive problems and so on. In these cases the only way to get it out of your life completely is to cut down slowly as the headaches can be atrocious.

2 – It can massively overstimulate your body and eventually burn out your adrenal glands – not what we want at all.
For a start, when the adrenal glands are overstimulated your system will become flooded with glucose. Essentially you’re in ‘fight or flight’ mode.


This is where your system becomes saturated with glucose to fuel your muscles so you can escape from danger, e.g. lions. Except there are no lions if you’re sitting in front of your desk trying to meet a deadline. You can read more about your stress response here.

So if you’re a candida sufferer that’s a big no-no.  If you have candida, or suspect you have candida, you’ll probably know all about avoiding sugar and caffeine. If not you can read all about it here.

Also, if you’re trying to lose weight all this glucose isn’t going to help.  I know some studies demonstrate that coffee is great for weight loss, but how can it be if it keeps flooding your system with glucose?  If you’re not ‘fleeing from danger’, all that glucose will just end up being stored as fat.

My guess would be that at best one cancels the other out. I.e. the boost in metabolism just cancels out the rise in glucose.

3 – Coffee can most definitely worsen digestive issues


This is because coffee acts as a laxative and stimulates movement in the gut, which isn’t going to help you if you fall under the IBS umbrella. There is also the issue with candida, if that’s where your problem lies.


4 – Caffeine can make you grumpy and increase anxiety.


It has a massive effect on the brain and impacts neurotransmitter activity and hormones. So, if you suffer from anxiety, nervousness or other mood disorders then ditching the coffee may well be a great thing for you.



6 – It’s actually thought that as many as 50% of the population actually don’t tolerate caffeine very well.


That’s a surprisingly large number seeing as most people seem to drink it. The problem with this is because drinking caffeinated drinks is so much a part of our culture – we’re brought up drinking tea, coffee and coca cola – we literally don’t know how wired we feel until we stop.

7 – Lastly, there’s insomnia.


If you either can’t drop off at night, or you’re constantly waking up I’d probably want to explore whether or not coffee is the reason behind it. I know it was a big trigger for sleeplessness with me and I literally only had one cup first thing in the morning.

I recently discovered this by accident – I didn’t drink coffee for a couple of days and mysteriously slept really well during those nights, so I just kept it up and have been sleeping really well, and have been a lot calmer ever since. So, always worth experimenting and seeing what happens.


Is caffeine bad for you?

Ultimately it depends on the individual as to whether or not caffeine can work for you.  Some people tolerate it much better than others, but how do you tell?

If you suffer with gut, sleep or anxiety issues, I’d definitely recommend having a few days off the tea and coffee and see if it makes you feel any better.

It’s really just a case of taking it out for a week or so and see if you notice any improvements in any aspect of your health.  If it doesn’t make any difference you know you’re good to go.  If it does, well, it’ll be disappointing, but at least you’ll know.


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