Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Subject: Caffeine gives a boost, with consequences

Caffeine gives a boost, with consequences You have been sent the following article as a courtesy of Comments: Caffeine Addict


  1. RE:issues w/carbs&caffeine

    Thanks, and you're right. But I do have some progress to report:

    1. I haven't had any coffee today.

    2. On the new whiteboard in my office, I have pledged "No M&Ms, no muffins, and no sugar drinks". So far so good!

  2. RE:issues w/carbs&caffeine

    Thanks, and you're right. But I do have some progress to report:

    1. I haven't had any coffee today.

    2. On the new whiteboard in my office, I have pledged "No M&Ms, no muffins, and no sugar drinks". So far so good!

  3. More progress:

    I had water with lunch (2 slices of pizza).
    After lunch I grabbed a Diet Iced Tea & Flavored Water (Vitamin-Enhanced) in lieu of diet soda or energy drink (not diet).

  4. Java junkie facts To learn more

    Caffeine content
    • One cup, regular coffee, 138 mgs.
    • Quarter-cup, espresso, 125 mgs.
    • One cup, regular cappuccino, 60 mgs.
    • One cup, regular latte, 60 mgs.

    American statistics
    • 57 percent of adults have coffee daily, up from 52 percent in 2002.
    • Coffee surpassed soda as a drink of choice for the first time in 20 years.
    • The United States consumes more coffee than anyone else in the world.

    • Soyfee, organic soybean coffee substitute,
    • Teeccino, caffeine-free herbal coffee,

    Sources:; National Coffee Drinking Trends 2007 Study; Caffeine Awareness Alliance

    • "Caffeine Blues: Wake Up to the Hidden Dangers of America's #1 Drug," by Stephen Cherniske
    • "The Truth About Caffeine: How Companies That Promote It Deceive Us And What We Can Do About It," by Marina Kushner
    • Caffeine Anonymous, started last month,

    • Dr. Marc Benton, Sleep Disorder Center at Morristown Memorial Hospital, Morristown, (973) 971-4567
    • Michael DeMassi, addictions counselor, Hope House, Dover, (973) 361-5555, ext. 132
    • Rich Dowling, addictions counselor, The Thought Exchange, Morristown, (973) 984-8244

    -- Lorraine Ash

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    Caffeine gives a boost, with consequences
    Chronic, habitual caffeine use has some experts concerned

    Tuesday, October 9, 2007

    Melissa Toner, a Drew University student, drinks an iced coffee or diet Coke five times a week to study past midnight. As a tutor with a part-time job who is active in campus activities, she can use the extra energy.

    But she draws the line at energy drinks.

    "I tried Red Bull over the summer, but after I finished a can I felt dizzy or shaky," said Toner, 21.

    Mark Ehrenkranz of Morristown did not start his daily two-double-espresso habit until later in life.

    "I staved off the addiction for 40 years. Then I got tired and took up coffee," said Ehrenkranz, 47. "It's like epidurals. I said to myself, 'I'll take it when I really need it.'"

    Not everyone is as controlled when it comes to ingesting caffeine. The 10-year-old energy drink industry grew to a $2.5 billion wholesale industry last year, according to the Beverage Marketing Corp. Products such as Shower Shock Caffeinated Soap and Rocket Chocolate, which promises the punch of four cans of Coke in one piece of candy, have hit the market.

    Experts say caffeine, used from time to time, enhances work performance and provides energy boosts when they are needed, such as driving late at night. But chronic, habitual use has some people concerned.

    Last month, Caffeine Anonymous formally launched nationwide. In Morris County, addiction counselors and doctors are talking about caffeine abuse.

    "We live in a 24/7 society, and caffeine is an easily obtainable way to get that," said Dr. Marc Benton, medical co-director of the Sleep Disorder Center at Morristown Memorial Hospital.

    Using caffeine habitually to make an unforgiving schedule work or instead of treating sleep conditions, such as sleep apnea, is addressing one mistake with another.

    "If you're not getting restorative sleep and you use caffeinated products to allow you to function at a higher level, you're not dealing with the underlying problem," Benton said. "Things will get worse, so you end up requiring more caffeine. The more caffeine you require, the less you sleep. It sets up a cycle that doesn't correct itself and often leads to accelerated medical problems, such as high blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythms, palpitations, chronic anxiety and poor performance at work."

    Aggressiveness, poor judgment and relationship problems also can surface.

    "These are extreme examples, but unfortunately, in the world we live in, this is not a rare situation," he said.

    At Hope House in Dover, addictions counselor Michael DeMassi said that in the last year adolescents are combining alcohol with energy drinks such as Red Bull and Monster, easily accessible at convenience stores, to enhance the effects of alcohol and stay awake to party longer.

    "The body is shutting down but the brain keeps you awake," DeMassi said, "and that's really dangerous."

    Some young people are consuming caffeine instead of doing a couple of lines of cocaine, he added. Though they do not get the same high, they do get energy. Plus, schools do not test for caffeine, as they do for illicit drugs.

    The American College of Emergency Physicians last fall publicized a three-year study in which more than 250 cases of medical complications stemming from caffeine abuse were treated at the Illinois Poison Center in Chicago. The average age of the patients was 21.

    Rich Dowling is a 57-year-old addictions counselor with a private practice, The Thought Exchange, in Morristown. He has beat alcohol, cigarette and coffee addictions. Starting at age 32, though, he began a solo addiction to tea; he kicked it eight years ago.

    "I would drink cup after cup -- about 10 a day," he said.

    If he stopped, his head hurt. If he didn't, his eyes got tired. His attention span was shortened by his cravings. His sleep was not restorative, he said, because a caffeine addict, just like an alcohol or cigarette addict, experiences withdrawal symptoms during the night.

    Besides, Dowling said, the caffeine just did not work. Over time, his brain processes became more fuzzy, not more sharp.

    "Initially, it gave me that sensation of alertness," he said. "But along the way I started to feel a little drowsy and tired and maybe a little shaky, and then I drank more. Then I got that little boost again. It's an up-and-down thing."

    Today he has sworn off caffeine completely and carries with him packets of Rooibos, a naturally decaffeinated South African red tea rich in antioxidants.

    What about decaf coffees? Chemical processes -- some involving methylene chloride or ethyl acetate -- turn off Dave Walters of Denville, who owns Smart World Coffee shops in Morristown and Jefferson, which offer only organic, shade-grown, Fair Trade coffees.

    "I think you're better off drinking the real thing," he said. "Here we try to give you the cleanest cup of coffee we can."

    Dr. Benton recommends something even more fundamental: He urges people to question why they need to stay awake in the first place.

    Lorraine Ash can be reached at (973) 428-6660 or

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  5. Added "Dough-nuts" [sic] to the white-boarded list of forbidden foods

  6. got playful grief from neighboring co-workers, when I turned down dessert in deference to 2008 resolve

  7. Took healthy choices to the next level, ordered veggie burger (vs. red meat), rice/beans (vs. fries/chips), and TWO (2) glasses of H20 (vs. soda)


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