Over the years, conflicting information has been written about the risks of caffeine. Studies have shown that drinking coffee has been tied to pancreatic cancer, high cholesterol, heart attacks and birth defects.
The results of these studies have been called into question by health experts. That’s because people who drink a lot of coffee tend to have other bad habits as well, such as smoking or not exercising which may be the culprits.
Caffeine and osteoporosis
While caffeine in coffee, tea, cola, chocolate and some medications can cause jitteriness, trembling, irritability and insomnia, studies have not substantiated most of the claims about caffeine’s negative long-term effects.
There seems to be a connection amongst consuming high levels of caffeine and osteoporosis the thinning of bones which can result in hip fractures, particularly in older women. Peril factors for osteoporosis include being female, thin, and white mainly of Northern European ancestry or Asian, not exercising, smoking and having a family history of the illness.
If you are at high risk for developing osteoporosis, you should significantly reduce your caffeine intake and be sure to include enough calcium in your diet. In one study, women who drank at least one glass of milk per day were protected from the bone¬ thinning consequences of caffeine.
If you can’t drink milk, take a calcium supplement. Calcium carbonate, sold in supermarkets, drugstores and health food stores, is an inexpensive and effective source.
People who are accustomed to drinking several cups of coffee a day may find that they develop headaches, difficulty concentrating, fatigue and depression if they eliminate caffeine from their diets.
If you decide you want to cut down on caffeine, it’s best to do so slowly. Cut back by about 20% a week over a month or more.
Slowly reducing the amount of caffeine in your system prevents withdrawal reactions. If headaches or other symptoms develop, increase your consumption slightly, then continue to slowly lower it over time.