Many of us use coffee to help us to get going in a morning, or to add a little zing to a flagging workday. But recent research reveals psychological effects that go far beyond boosting alertness, and not all of them are good, according to the British Psychological Society (BPS).
Research published last year also expanded the already substantial list of benefits reported for visual processing. The team found that caffeine improved people’s ability to detect moving targets— which could mean reacting more quickly to anything from a pedestrian stepping onto the road to a football hurtling your way during a game of five-a-side.
The ‘down’ side
Beware of drinking coffee before going shopping because this can encourage impulse-buying, according to research published earlier this year. The team found that people who drank just one espresso before going into a shop spent a staggering 50% more money inside than others who’d had a decaf coffee or a drink of water. They were also more likely specifically to go for ‘high hedonic’ items, such as buttery foods or relaxing products, rather than useful things. Why? The caffeine-drinkers reported feeling more excited (due, no doubt, to a misperception of a caffeine-induced faster heart rate as ‘excitement’), and when we are excited, we tend to be more impulsive.
Coffee is now the world’s most popular drink, with around two billion cups consumed every day. In the U.S. about half of the people aged 18 and over drink coffee every day, while in the U.K., according to the British Coffee Association, 80% of households buy instant coffee for in-home consumption.
A strong, black coffee to wake you up after a bad night’s sleep could impair control of blood sugar levels, according to a new study.
Research from the Centre for Nutrition, Exercise & Metabolism at the University of Bath (UK) looked at the effect of broken sleep and morning coffee across a range of different metabolic markers.
Writing in the British Journal of Nutrition the scientists show that while one night of poor sleep has limited impact on our metabolism, drinking coffee as a way to perk you up from a slumber can have a negative effect on blood glucose (sugar) control.
A couple of things to lay out before we start here. First, I don’t drink coffee with caffeine as I try to keep drugs of any kind out of my system. Second, I am a regular bicycle rider and am always on the lookout for new sources of energy.
The other morning I had a new situation. I had a date for early afternoon to attend a play. In addition, we had reservations for brunch at noon. From this schedule, I was not going to have a lot of time to get in a bike ride. So, I thought I would rise at first light and take out the bike for a ride ahead of walking the dog and my social schedule for the day.
Normally, I start the day with what I call my rocket fuel. It is a smoothie that contains all my vitamins. You can read about it in A super breakfast smoothie.
On the morning in question, my reservation about my smoothie was that it takes 15 minutes to make and another 15 minutes to drink. I didn’t want to spend 30 minutes doing that. I wanted to be riding my bike. On the other hand I was concerned that having just awakened from a night’s sleep, my energy reserves were low. I sure didn’t want to black out. I hadn’t eaten in over nine hours.
So, what to do instead to give me a quick shot of energy. I like my coffee in the morning, but since it is decaf, I don’t expect a boost from it. Here is the beginning of a light bulb going off in my head. As recently as April, I got turned on to coconut oil as a wonderful source of nutrition. Check out Why should I try coconut oil? for more details. Since that time I have been using coconut oil in every way I could think of to cook in, shave with, etc. Coconut oil has a lot of healthy fat in it which provides energy. I decided to add a tablespoon of coconut oil to my coffee. Continue reading →