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But First, Caffeine....

Written By: Gabrielle Romero

Whether you need a 3 pm pick me up or you can not function in the morning without your cup of coffee you are not alone. Roughly 85% of Americans say they have at least one cup of coffee per day at home. However, coffee has turned into so much more than just a way to boost up energy levels. It is a huge part of culture in some countries, and it turns into an experience, and a way to bond with friends and family. But what about all the buzz we hear in the media that caffeine is “evil”?

Let’s break it down: While caffeine has been seen to increase cortisol (stress) levels in our already busy and hectic lives, it raises them higher in people who are not used to drinking coffee on the daily. Our bodies are smart, and they adapt to what we feed them. If it is used to getting a caffeine boost it adapts to that routine and your cortisol levels will not skyrocket. Same goes for dehydration. If your body is used to caffeine and coffee consumption it will not dehydrate you to the point you need to drink 3 gallons of water per day. While it would never hurt to make sure you are consuming enough fluids on the daily, it should not become an added stressor in your life.

Some people with anxiety struggle to consume coffee because it can induce feelings of anxiety in some individuals. This again is due to the cortisol spike seen in coffee drinkers. However, there are ways around this. Drinking half decaf half regular coffee will still give you a little bit of caffeine while avoiding the super high spike of anxiety you may feel from drinking a full cup of caffeinated coffee. Another alternative which is more recently gaining popularity is matcha green tea. It is a Japanese tea that is then mixed with a milk of your choice to make a delicious latte drink. It has an estimated 70 mg of caffeine per 8 oz (prepared) where coffee has (on average) 90 mg of caffeine in an 8 oz cup. Matcha’s caffeine has a slow build and therefore a slow “crash”. This is why some consumers are choosing matcha over the fierce competitor, coffee.

As always, we say everything in moderation! Coffee is not the enemy and at the end of the day it comes down to your preference. If it makes you feel good and you are healthy and balanced, then enjoy your coffee! If coffee makes you jittery, anxious, and not feeling your best, then avoid it or maybe try coffee alternatives!

To learn more about nutrition, check out my podcast “RDs vs BS” on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. In the podcast, we use science to separate what’s legit and what’s BS in the world of health and nutrition.

Nutrition is very personalized, and 80/20 is going to look different for every person based on goals, preferences, and lifestyle. If you want to find clarity about how 80/20 can work in your life, I’m here for you. As a dietitian and health coach, I help people figure out a way of eating that helps them optimize their health in the long term, without a dieting or weight focus. I am currently offering free initial nutrition sessions for new clients. To learn more and to schedule your free session, check out my website at


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